Written by Joe Scotchie Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00
Roslyn Heights artist Xiomaro continues his photographic projects, bringing American history alive for future generations to enjoy.
His latest work is an extensive photographic exhibit of The Mastic House, the ancestral home of Long Island patriot William Floyd. A native of Mastic, Floyd was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Floyd fled the island during the British occupation, returning after the war ended and American independence was gained.
Fittingly enough, the exhibit, entitled “William Floyd’s House of Revolution,” is currently on display at the Fraunces Tavern, the legendary lower Manhattan establishment where George Washington famously bade farewell to his Revolutionary War officers. Fraunces Tavern is at 54 Pearl St. The exhibit opened on Independence Day, July 4 and is on view until Dec. 1.
According to Xiomaro, the photographs, commissioned by the National Park Service, present interior views that visitors to the sprawling 25-room house are not likely to see. The photographs, he added, include rare close-ups of Floyd’s signature and personal items such as his snuff box and traveling “medicine” chest that actually carried liquor.
The history of The Mastic House is unique among Revolutionary War-era mansions. When the British occupied Long Island during the early stages of the war, Floyd fled to
Connecticut. After the war, he returned to Mastic, where he entertained Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, among other luminaries. As striking is the fact that The Mastic
House remained occupied by Floyd’s descendants all the way up to 1776--the year of the nation’s bicentennial. The photographs, Xiomara said, also show how both the house and the new nation grew, expanded and evolved together through history.
“Like America’s motto – e pluribus unum – the house stands as one unified historical structure comprised of many evolving styles in architecture, furnishings, design and technology,” he said.
The Floyd exhibit comes on the heels of similar projects, such as the photography exhibit of Sagamore Hill mansion in Oyster Bay, the longtime Theodore Roosevelt home, which was also commissioned by the National Park Service. The Roosevelt photos will be on display next year at Harvard University. Prior to that, Xiomaro was an artist-in-residence at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, CT, the homestead of Julian Alden Weir, one of the founders of American Impressionism. He continues his relationship with the park as a Visiting Artist.
“My goal is that viewers of these photographs will feel compelled to visit the parks where they, too, can examine these leaders and explore the ideas that shaped our culture,” Xiomaro said. “Experiencing our heritage and open spaces also ensures their preservation and conservation.” His collections can be seen and purchased at his website: www.xiomaro.com. A free eBook from the exhibit will be available at the website as well.