IN MEMORIAM (All Soul's Day)
A memorial mural, done graffiti-style in memory of Anton Nikci (aka Tony), an Albanian American who died at age 28 and is pictured "on black" to the right, as per the dates provided. This is a visual cue to the ethnic mix in the formerly all-Italian neighborhood of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, south of Fordham Road. Among other ethnicities, there are recent Mexican emigrants living nearby.
I was stuck by this image and homage for several reasons: the majority of Albanians in the US are Muslims, and most of the others are members of the Albanian Orthodox Church In addition, most murals are either cultural (which includes religion), memorial, or expressing national/ethnic pride. This one does all three!
But this is a Roman Catholic depiction of Jesus, that of the Sacred Heart; He even has green eyes! How many Albanian Catholics live in the Bronx? Have Orthodox Albanians become de facto Catholics because there are no Orthodox churches in the neighborhood? I love the well-painted double-headed eagle (a mythic & highly symbolic eagle, with claws and a dramatic tongue), an echo of the Albanian flag.
A cultural aside not mentioned in the links above, Jean Cocteau wrote a play entitled "L'aigle à deux têtes" (The Eagle with Two Heads), which could be called a political fairy tale and which he later made into a film of the same name.
Just off Arthur Ave., The Bronx; New York, NY
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