“North Shore” explores a part of New York City that is seldom seen through images and stories along Victory Boulevard in Staten Island.
Featuring: Gareth Smit
Presented in partnership with
The Design Trust for Public Space, Alice Austen House Museum, and Staten Island Arts
It is a part of New York City that is seldom seen, but the North Shore of Staten Island is a microcosm of contemporary life in the United States. In this age of isolationism, it is also a borderland – a place where the culture wars of our decade play out in the everyday lives of residents.
My interest in the North Shore began four years ago after Eric Garner was killed in an apparent chokehold during his arrest near the corner of Victory Boulevard in Tompkinsville. In the year after his death, I photographed the family and friends of Eric Garner here as they continued to march for justice and mourn his death.
In subsequent years, through a grant from the Design Trust for Public Space, Staten Island Arts and the Alice Austen House Museum, I chronicled stories from the community in transition. The North Shore of Staten Island is about to be transformed by $1.6 billion in public and private-sector investment. Cutting through the heart of Staten Island, Victory Boulevard acts as a central thread to these stories.
Gareth Smit was born in 1990 in Heidelberg, South Africa. His graduate studies were in Philosophy and History at the University of Cape Town. Smit is a 2015 alumnus of the International Center of Photography in New York.
His work focuses on the intersections of land, memory and trauma. He has worked extensively in Southern and East Africa, as well as in the United States where he has been based since 2014. In his personal and assignment work he has documented issues relating to migration, race, identity and violence with a particular interest in how land and history shape the present.
The Future Culture Photo Urbanism Fellowship is a program of the Design Trust for Public Space in partnership with two local community organizations, The Alice Austen House Museum and Staten Island Arts.
The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of public space in New York City.
The Alice Austen House Museum fosters creative expression, explores personal identity, and educates and inspires the public through the interpretation of the photographs, life and historic home of pioneering American photographer, Alice Austen (1866-1952).
Staten Island Arts cultivates a sustainable and diverse cultural community for the people of Staten Island by making the arts accessible to every member of the community, supporting and building recognition for artistic achievement, and by providing artists, organizations, and arts educators the technical, financial and social resources to encourage cultural production.