The Patchogue-Medford Library is proud to present Flower of Honor, a photographic series by Harper Bella. The exhibit is currently on display in the Claire Davidson Siegel Gallery.
Flower of Honor commemorates essential workers who have kept their communities thriving amid the COVID-19 crisis. Borrowing its name from the United States government’s highest and most prestigious military award, Medal of Honor. Captured by Harper Bella, with the aim to shed light on the impact of inequity. This photographic series consists of 29 images taken during impromptu ceremonies involving gifting golden artificial foliage, a symbol of hopefulness and acknowledgment to honor all individuals while they are living.
Throughout the pandemic, data has shown that many workers are ppl of color, resulting in a higher death rate among African American and Latino individuals. In the face of danger, these individuals persist. They are the grocery clerks, sanitation persons, neighborhood bodega workers, mail couriers, auto mechanics, electrical lineman, bus drivers, and other workers whose livelihoods and families depend on the paychecks they receive, and whose services are the lifeblood of our society. In the words of volunteer emergency medical technician First Lieutenant Browne, “I have seen too many deaths. I lost my sister and uncle due to COVID. We had calls with patients who were in cardiac arrest and they did not make it. This pandemic has taken a toll on my life. As a healthcare provider, it’s tough to see people losing their loved ones, but we have to remain strong.”
Their courage provides some sense of hope for our lives throughout these trying times.
About the Artist: Harper Bella
Harper Bella was raised in the picturesque islands of Trinidad and Tobago, surrounded by a rich Caribbean heritage and beautiful, resilient Black women. This environment helped cultivate her interest in capturing black experiences and stories. She aims to explore the softness and beauty that the Western culture often overlooks. Her passion drives her to use storytelling as a vehicle to create compelling visuals, and a wider conversation of societal issues, thus sparking debate.
Currently based in New York, Bella captures monumental moments, for a range of clients. Drawing inspiration from shoot locations, props and energetic fashion around her, vivacious colors permeate her work. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has excelled in her career, with her work featured in Rockefeller Center, Photoville, and Miami Art Basel, as well as other artistic cultural institutions in the US and abroad.