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Once again, The Bronx Documentary Center will bring to our borough a powerful exhibition — this time on the all too familiar realities of gun violence and its impact on our communities and youth — via the photographic works of Carlos Javier Ortiz, who has documented our nation’s plague in Chicago and Philadelphia over the course of seven years.

Our borough is no stranger to this epidemic.  We’ve lived through it through our darkest hours and still live through it (although murders were down, shooting were up for 2014 in NYC).

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As with every exhibition at the BDC, there will be screenings and programming around this body of work so don’t forget to subscribe to their mailing list and get the latest information from them.

David Gonzalez reports in The New York Times on Ortiz’s work:

“The killing of a high school honors student and majorette who had participated in President Obama’s inaugural parade earlier this year elicited national outrage. Granted, some people who had been following gun violence against young people in Chicago wondered where the outrage was when other teenage boys were murdered.

“If it was a 17-year-old boy, it probably would not have gotten as much attention, but you can’t really push it that way with a little girl,” said Carlos Javier Ortiz, a documentary photographer in Chicago. “You hear it on the news, and we have these assumptions about people, thinking everything is gang related, but it’s not. The thing is, I’m trying to go beyond the headlines and show these are real people.”

From the BDC:

We All We Got by Carlos Javier Ortiz explores the consequences and devastation of gun violence on American youth. The powerful photos from this seven-year-long documentary project bear witness to the true cost of this nationwide scourge.

EXHIBITION RECEPTION (You can RSVP via Facebook here)
Saturday, Jan. 24, 6PM – 9PM
Free and open to the public

ON VIEW
Jan. 24 – March 22, 2015
Thursdays and Fridays 3PM – 7PM
Saturdays and Sundays 1PM – 5PM

© Carlos Javier Ortiz. Albert Vaughn was the neighborhood guardian, the older teenager who would play ball with the younger kids and try to keep them safe from trouble. About 50 of his friends and family members gathered to remember “Lil Al” on the block where he was killed. Englewood, Chicago, 2008
© Carlos Javier Ortiz. Albert Vaughn was the neighborhood guardian, the older teenager who would play ball with the younger kids and try to keep them safe from trouble. About 50 of his friends and family members gathered to remember “Lil Al” on the block where he was killed. Englewood, Chicago, 2008

About the Exhibition:
Through a mix of powerful photographs, incisive essays and moving letters from diverse individuals affected by this scourge, Ortiz’s timely body of work brings home the true cost our of country’s epidemic of gun violence.

Carlos Javier Ortiz’s work provides an avenue for knowing the children and their families whose lives are shattered by bullets. We All We Got is not the end of the conversation about youth violence and society’s complicity, but rather the beginning. The terror in the eyes of grieving children and inconsolable mothers allows the viewer to begin understanding the toll of this violence on the children who live within it.

The stories in this exhibition take place in Chicago and Philadelphia. By repeatedly returning to the same neighborhoods over the course of seven years, Ortiz shows the plight of the communities with which he has built a deep connection. The viewer sees abandoned buildings, victims’ memorials, segregation, graffiti, juvenile incarceration and other constant reminders of the outcomes of violence on young people and their communities.

Yet, through all the heartbreak, in Chicago, Philadelphia, the Bronx and elsewhere, one also sees the resilience of the individuals left behind. And where there is terror, there is also a glimpse of the innocence that remains, and a tiny glimmer of hope.

Carlos Javier Ortiz (http://www.carlosjavierortiz.com/) works with photography, film, and text. As a visual artist, he specializes in long-term documentaries that focus on urban life, gun violence, race, poverty and marginalized communities. Ortiz collaborates with his subjects by asking them to share their personal narratives and testimonials. His work confronts human suffering while simultaneously illuminating compassion and optimism.

The Bronx Documentary Center is located at 614 Courtlandt Avenue at the corner of E 151st Street in Melrose:

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