Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Festa del Giglio, 2007.
c. David Grim (taken 7/8/07)
Ok. So what the hell is going on in this picture? It's the dance of the Giglio in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. And why are all these Italian dudes struggling in the heart of hipsterdom? Because of tradition, of course. Every year a big Catholic church in that part of town has a festival. You've probably been to something like it in your life- there's plenty of ethnic food, and people milling about, talking and drinking.
Except at this particular event over 100 guys strain to life a huge many-ton edifice, with a full band on a platform, and a statue of a saint many feet up in the air. They lift the thing up and turn it around amidst throngs of people.
Back in 2007, I was interested in capturing all kinds of sociological phenomena that people had seldom seen documented. The weirder an event or destination was, the better. I heard about this thing from the Pittsburgh gallery owner who was then housing much of my work. He lived in Queens, and so we went up that way for a few days and checked it out. I got lots of shots, intending to put some together for a mini-show. But somehow I never felt like what I took really conveyed the impact of the day.
Anyway I do think this image shows what kind of stress people will put themselves through for the sake of ceremony. I don't know if I think it's beautiful, or what. But it is interesting.