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Curated by Kelly M. Coffey

Family Photography Exhibit: Kelly M. Coffey and Edward R. Coffey


Emergence Arts and vedhead Photography Present Remembrance: World Trade Center Then & Now

Opening Reception:

Saturday, September 11th, 2021 12-8 PM

Exhibit Open Daily 12-8 P.M.

Thursday, September 9th – Monday, September 13th, 2021

Emergence Arts Gallery, 587 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn

In the winter of 2021, my father Edward Coffey returned home from a trip with boxes of photographs, slides, and negatives of our ancestral history spanning well over his own seventy years. Each slide we viewed came accompanied with timeless stories my dad has shared before throughout the years.

As we sifted through thousands of images, my dad the storyteller described what growing up was like for him and my mom, their adventures in childhood, where they worked as young adults, what this city we call home looked like from the South Tower’s 107th Floor Observatory Deck in March 1976, what ultimately inspired our ancestors to settle in New York City, and what it has become today for us as a family.

This show is very much a celebration of mi familia Coffey. While on my last visit to the World Trade Center, I experienced an overwhelming sensory response, unable to stand composed on that sacred ground and not mourn openly. I simply couldn’t escape being dragged to the site’s haunting history, still to this very day memories and the shock from my 23 year old self emerge a question so often wondered, how the hell could that actually happen?

Sadly, there are no answers there. As we embark on the 20th year of one of the worst attacks on NYC, we do not gather to celebrate or mourn, we gather to exhibit strength and unity. This show is an intimate family portrait of a day in the life of my family hanging out on a winter weekend (before I was born) exploring the Twin Towers, Battery Park, and the Statue of Liberty, and creating memories that we carry with us forever. Here is a glimpse of what the World Trade Center once was and what it became, the most unexpected beauty that emerged from awful tragedy.

Emergence Arts and vedhead Photography formally invite you to a familial photographic exhibit 45 years in the making, father-daughter photographers, celebrating the resilience and spirit of NYC. Take a glimpse of what the World Trade Center looked like in March 1976, what the city looked like from the South Tower’s 107th Floor Observatory Deck, and showcase the excitement that can only be lived to ever be understood. This show is a remembrance, not an exploitation, of the lives lost that day, the pain and suffering that followed, and the change brought from September 11, 2001. It shall not be what defines New York City as indestructible, but honor the spirit of the true Knickerbockers who keep the pulse of this city beating.

About Kelly M. Coffey: “The greatest joy I have in my arts is getting absolutely lost in the creative process. As a photographer, curator, and art enthusiast, I’ve achieved more than ever imagined possible when I finally took a gigantic leap of faith straight into the unchartered waters of the art realm, devoting my life to a true passion. While it has its challenges, nothing is more rewarding than picking fruits from my labor of love. I can only grow as an artist from here.” #SupportLivingArtists

About Edward R. Coffey: Edward Coffey, born and raised New Yorker, proudly retired MTA track inspector, secret storyteller and true artist at heart. Skilled, natural born photographer passed on the creative gene to his kids and grandkids, hopefully great-grandkids. A collection of his MTA photos are currently on view at Endless Life Brewing located at 585 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216.

​​Emergence Arts Gallery, 587 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238

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