Monday, December 13, 2010

Public Work of Art

From the depths of impoverishment, murders, and depression, Williamsburg Brooklyn, has become one the most appealing neighborhoods in all of New York City. In this small world of Brooklyn you will find diverse cultures, beautiful landscapes, convenient ways to travel to different parts of the city, and some of the nicest restaurants and lounges we have to offer. In the midst of some those amenities you can also find some aesthetically artwork. One of the artworks that survived the gentrification process is a mural titled “Ashes to Ashes” constructed in 2000 by the Los Muralistas de El Puente. (Known in English as The El Puente Muralist)
Many of the features of this mural seem to supplicate the ills of cigarette smoking, and the evil tobacco companies that leech from the citizens of urbanized communities. The mural is comprised of beautiful colors, an infant smoking on a cigarette during birth, different people of all races smoking, a heart facing the effects of smoking, and the inevitability of dying when you choose to smoke. Smoking cigarettes has become a detriment and an epidemic in a lot of communities all across America. Teenagers should not smoke because smoking is the most preventable cause of death in America today, especially among teenage smokers. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and it is also responsible for chronic bronchitis. Last, there is emphysema, which is another disease caused by smoking. By smoking, people have a fivefold increase in the risk of dying from lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.  Lung cancer accounts for 29 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States and smoking accounts for about 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. The risks of dying from lung cancer are 23 times higher for male smokers and 11 times higher for female smokers than for nonsmokers.
Results of a recent study suggest that rebellious, risk-taking kids as young as 11 are more likely to smoke by the time they reach high school. According to the report, children who demonstrate these personality traits in the 5th grade are most likely to smoke in the 12th grade. Targeting smoking in high school students is important since studies have shown that adolescents who smoke daily in the 12th grade are likely to become established smokers as adults. Results of the study, published in the March issue of Preventive Medicine, show a strong association between rebelliousness in males in the 5th grade and daily smoking in the 12th grade. For example, the most rebellious males were three times more likely to become smokers than the least rebellious males.  
I chose this piece of artwork because I was part of the problem and now I want to be part of the solution. I lost friends and family members due to this horrible epidemic and if we don’t start pushing the agenda of teaching and raising awareness we are going to lose many others. It is nice to see that people are taking the time out to create these artworks to show us the ill effects of smoking. More importantly, I hope this piece stays up for a long time because it has become part of the community.  

1 comment:

  1. Interesting images! I'm curious about the connection you make to gentrification - how do you see these images as connected to this process?