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Chelsea, MA: All America City – Mark Morelli

 

Artist Statement

My project is an ever evolving, multidimensional look at Chelsea, Massachusetts, the city where I live. It is the smallest city in Massachusetts, measuring just 2.5 square miles, yet has a population of at least 40 thousand people. Chelsea has historically been a landing spot for new immigrants which makes it a city continuously in flux. The project was initially conceived as a photographic exploration of the ordinary and everyday within this small dense urban environment but it has expanded into a narrative portrait of a specific place and time. Chelsea is a Sanctuary City and has also twice received the All America City Award from the National Civic League. At a time when immigrants are being demonized and the idea of ‘who is an American’ is fiercely contested it feels more vital than ever to explore and document overlapping layers of history, culture, and architecture, to try to define both a singular city in transition and my own personal sense of place.

 

Image: Orlando, Chelsea, MA, 2008, Gelatin Silver Print, 17×17