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LI painter among emerging artists to be featured at Bronx Museum of the Arts

Great Neck resident Eden Morris stands in front

Great Neck resident Eden Morris stands in front of her painting, 'Tamar's Chance, 2013," which is on exhibit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on July 8, 2015. Her work focuses on sexuality and motherhood using the biblical stories of her foremothers for inspiration. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

A Long Island painter will be among the 72 emerging artists to be featured at a Bronx Museum of the Arts exhibition of artisans from 19 countries who live in and around New York City.

Eden Morris, whose studio is in Great Neck, will contribute an oil painting of the Genesis story of Judah and Tamar as part of the international exhibition of sculptures, photography, print collages and abstract installations.

"I am gaining a new group of artists who I can talk to and gain insight into a larger world," Morris said, adding that her oil painting shows a solitary Tamar deliberating her emotional quest to become a mother.

"Biblical women were so different from how we should behave . . . to be subservient and modest," Morris said. Tamar's desperation to bear children led her to pose as a prostitute and seduce her father-in-law, she said.

Morris, who lives in the Bronx, keeps her art studio in the garage of her childhood home in Great Neck, where her grandmother's watercolor landscapes and dreamlike oil paintings were a source of inspiration, she said.

In addition to the art show, the museum has opened a comprehensive exhibition examining the Young Lords, a 1960s activist group that focused attention on the poor living conditions and discrimination Puerto Ricans faced in the city.

"The Young Lords used artistic activism to bring attention to urban decline in the 1960s and '70s," said Johanna Fernandez, the exhibition's curator. The Young Lords, who dressed in black berets, leather jackets and Army fatigue shirts, were students at Columbia University, City College of New York and the State University of New York in Old Westbury, Fernandez said.

The exhibition features black-and-white film footage and photographs of the Young Lords clenching their fists in the air while marching through the city's Puerto Rican ghettos demanding better health care, sanitary conditions and good nutrition for children.

The Young Lords gained notoriety after barricading themselves with sand bags at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, a public hospital they said had substandard medical care, and doing the same thing at churches to demand that they provide food to children. Their protests resulted in lead poisoning tests and the nation's first patient's bill of rights, Fernandez said.

"Puerto Ricans at that time were a superexploited class in New York who worked at the lowest-wage jobs," Fernandez said.

The exhibition also has political cartoons published in the Young Lords' newspaper "Pa'lante," which means "onward" in Spanish. Other pieces include paintings and collages of newspaper articles created by contemporary artists who pay homage to the activist movement.

The exhibition, Fernandez said, reflects the community where the 44-year-old museum is located. "This movement brought to light Puerto Rican independence and its history that impacted New York in a very visual way."


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