Queensbridge Photo Collective
Still, Like Air I'll Rise
The Queensbridge Photo Collective activates Homeroom with Still, Like Air I’ll Rise, which takes its name from Maya Angelou’s poem reflecting on hope and perseverance in the face of racial and class-based discrimination.
Utilizing photography, archival research, memorabilia, and oral histories, the activation centers the lives of the Collective members, who all grew up in the neighborhoods around PS1. In residence at PS1 for the duration of the activation, these Collective members will host collaborative public programs with neighboring organizations and community members, preserving their own histories while passing along their knowledge, skills, and artistry for others to keep and expand upon for years to come. The period between Queensbridge’s early history and the present is represented through each Collective’s member's personal archive, which anchors the entire installation. Their photography and collaborations as the Collective are reflected in a zine for visitors to take, and in their photographs on display.
A fifteen minute walk from PS1, Queensbridge Houses is the largest publicly funded housing complex in North America. The Queensbridge Photo Collective is a group of accomplished women photographers, formed with support from 5 Corners Collective, Inc., a non-profit that works with community groups to teach and exhibit photography. All members are over the age of 65 and long-time residents of the Queensbridge Houses, and a few are also PS1 elementary school alums. The Collective’s timeline offers a testament to the transformations of Long Island City, told through the lens of these nine women: Victoria Heath, Shirley Mitchell, Nafisa Mahdi, Marilyn Jones, Karen Green, Janie Edwards, Hazra Rahman, Dorothy Grant, and Alese “Cookie” Parker. Their personal stories highlight the resilience of community through time, and the role art and cultural expression have played in shaping the identity of Queensbridge Houses and its residents.