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Sep 5, 2011 3:34 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East End Artists Memorialize 9/11

Sep 5, 2011 4:14 PM

Shortly after two airplanes slammed into the Twin Towers in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, a young witness remarked to her mother about what she thought were “birds on fire,” but which were actually people jumping from the towers, North Sea artist Dennis Snyder recalled reading in the newspaper.

He took to his paintbrush and, in a departure from his regular repertoire of painting people and East End landscapes, Mr. Snyder created a oil painting called “Birds on Fire,” based on that line and his own recollections from being in New York City that fateful day. A practicing Buddhist, he had arrived in the city that day for a calligraphy workshop at the temple, the Village Zendo.

In a more Zen piece, titled “Gaté, Gaté”—Sankskrit for “Gone, Gone” and named after a mantra—Mr. Snyder painted a scene of two stone columns on the beach topped with two bowls of incense, and a gate.

His two works of art, along with a few others by East End artists, are on display through Wednesday, September 28, in the “Remembering 9/11” exhibit at the Lyceum Gallery in the Montaukett Learning Resource Center on Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus on Speonk-Riverhead Road in Northampton. The show features art in a variety of media, including painting, photography, printmaking, digital media and assemblage. A memorial program will be held at the gallery on Monday, September 12, at 11:30 a.m.

Works by local artists will also be featured from Friday, September 9, through Saturday, October 1, at the Suffolk County Historical Society on West Main Street in Riverhead in a 9/11 memorial exhibit marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in conjunction with the Riverhead Free Library. The opening reception is Friday, September 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. That exhibit, which explores the history of the Twin Towers, interpretive artworks in a range of media, and a three-dimensional steel sculpture of the buildings, displays a piece of book art by Sag Harbor artist Mare Dianora. Titled “9.11.01,” the work is a small book comprising snippets of email correspondence shared by family and friends around the world.

“One thing I am left with is how heavy our hearts are still 10 years later. Everyone is still so eager to share their story about where they were on 9/11. The conversation can make a room still, even after so much time,” Ms. Dianora explained. “This snapshot of time represents so many relationships, including people who have since passed away or moved away or we have simply lost contact with.”

Ms. Dianora moved to Sag Harbor from Portland, Oregon, in the spring of 2001 to be nearer her grandparents, who lived there but have since died. As a result of the move, she said, she complied a number of emails exchanged between family on the West Coast as well as in Denmark, her husband, Claes Brondal’s, native country.

Ms. Dianora is the only resident of Southampton and East Hampton towns to have work displayed in the historical society exhibit, although the historical society will present two special programs in connection with the 9/11 exhibit: “Collecting Folklore and Oral Histories,” a lecture to be held on Thursday, September 22, at 7 p.m. by Dr. John Eilertsen, director of the Bridgehampton Historical Society; and “Creating a Memory Book,” a workshop to be held on Saturday, October 1, at 11 a.m. with Ms. Dianora. The historical society asks lecture participants for a $5 donation and reservations are requested. The workshop, for which pre-registration is required, costs $20 for materials.

Suffolk County Community College’s exhibit will also feature two oil paintings by Steve Alpert of Quogue: “Portrait of a Soldier,” which Mr. Alpert said “embodies any soldier that’s ever been in combat anytime, any place, anywhere,” and “Approach,” an abstract of black aircraft appearing to come in for a landing. Also featured are an oil painting, “Save Me, Choose Me, Feed Me, Help Me,” by Elizabeth Malunowicz of Sag Harbor, and a collagraph by Beth Giles of North Haven.

“I don’t think anyone is actually removed from the event,” said Ms. Giles, whose collagraph, “The Day the World Went to War,” is an abstraction named after a newspaper headline.

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