It is said that New York City is home to eight million stories. 22-year-old Bronx photographer Dondre Green’s newest photography exhibition Bronx Narratives at The Point (a community arts center in the Hunts Point section of The Bronx) focuses on the stories he has personally heard from natives and visitors about his home borough. For the last few weeks, we have been seeing Green upload photos through his very popular Instagram account: portraits of people talking about their experiences living and visiting the home of the Yankees, Hip Hop and some of the best pizza in the entire city. Some were positive: messages with the intent of dispelling old stereotypes about the Bronx; others were defensive, calling for change and attention to be paid to the city’s northern borough.
According to Green “there’s no where else in NYC that feels like the Bronx.” His home borough pride was something that could not be missed out during the exhibit. On one wall there was a number of facts about the Bronx that many of the attendants (some life long Bronxites) were completely unaware of. Examples include, the Bronx Zoo being the largest employer for young workers; the Bronx being the greenest borough in the city, and home to the NYC largest park (Van Cortlandt Park).
We viewed a slideshow comprised of tweets disrespecting the Bronx, some people tweeting out how dirty the Bronx is or how dangerous it looks. It was the first thing many people saw when they entered the exhibit, the stereotypes and harsh criticism of a borough many don’t bother visiting, missing out on the beauty and art that the people of the Bronx create.
The photographs had a very personal feel to them. Some of these people are Dondre’s friends and if they were not, they quickly joined his ever expanding creative circle. Under each photograph was a quote taken directly from Dondre’s subject. These quotes were from people born and raised in the Bronx, people who just moved there and people who visit it regularly. Showcasing where Dondre’s subjects are from gives the impression that brings people from all cultures and backgrounds, rather than the borough no one visits.
During the events Q&A portion, Dondre announced that the short film shown earlier in the event is currently being pitched to various film festivals and that Dondre is trying to get in touch with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, someone who is known to defend The Bronx. It was a welcome reminder that all parts of the city are bursting with creative and talented people. Green’s goal with this and his future projects is to show that the people who live in the Bronx are not the ones who lived during the “Bronx is burning” days, but are a group of individuals who are building a new reputation for the borough.
For any questions please contact the writer @ChrisLInoa