The exhibit, featuring photographs by Patrice Casanova, will be on display at the historical society building at 31 Belllport Lane.
See below for details and a complete account of the exhibit, as provided by the curators.
The chicks at Isabella Rossellini’s Long Island farm are ready for their close-up. The international actress and filmmaker has collaborated with Brookhaven photographer Patrice Casanova in a series of portraits capturing her Heritage Breed of chickens in all their fine-feathered glory. The photographs will be on exhibit at the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society (BBHS), beginning with the nonprofit’s annual Gala on Saturday, June 4, and on view through July 31, 2016.
Isabella’s Farm is part of the Peconic Land Trust, a nonprofit organization established to ensure the protection of Long Island’s agricultural heritage. The farm produces organic crops, natural honey, and is home to many breeds of chicken, including Blue and Silver Cochin, Barred Rock, and Wyandotte. Others, including Golden Campine, Egyptian Fayoumi, White Crested Black Polish, and Silver Spangled Hamburg, are quite rare and distinctive. Neighbors Francisco Costa and John DeStefano, Executive-in-Charge, Black Swan Stables; are the “proud parents of the flock,” having paid for the chicks, the hen house, and the chicken run.
As recognized by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, artisanal farms are increasingly critical to the global protection of old seeds, heirloom vegetables, and rare breeds of farm animals.
“I’m raising chickens for the first time, and was surprised to discover they have personalities – one, calm and docile; another, dominant and aggressive,” explains Ms. Rossellini, known for her modeling career as well as acting. “These personality traits give them distinct postures and expressions often too fleeting and subtle to register with the naked eye. But Casanova’s photographs capture these expressions, revealing real ‘chick appeal’ and, as presented on stark white background, might well spring from the pages of Vogue.”
According to Mr. Casanova who visited Isabella’s Farm every week, the photography project started as a record of the chickens’ passage to maturity, from ‘peeps to full grown,’ but ultimately, revealed the feathered flock as “fashion plates.”
“I was astonished by how the varieties of chicken began to differentiate over time, some with a topnotch of feathers, others with finely detailed, jewel-like heads, and others with personalities just made for the camera,” said Mr. Casanova. “The BBHS exhibit is a chance for viewers to see farm animals in a new light, and with fashion’s sense of flair.”
Patrice Casanova, who comes from Aix en Provence, started his U.S. career specializing in portrait studies of men and women, often celebrities, from Jessica Lange to Lorraine Bracco. Today, he is equally recognized for his landscape and nature studies.
BBHS will offer special programs tied to the exhibition, including “Mimosa with Bagel and a Schmear” on Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 10:30 AM when Ms. Rossellini will present a 20-minute film segment “The Chicken” featuring her mother, Ingrid Bergman, and directed by her father, Roberto Rossellini. “The Chicken” is one of four episodes from a 1953 Italian film, We The Women, a cinematic homage to well-known actresses of the time. It provides an intimate, affectionate portrait, capturing Ms. Bergman at home in a private, if fictional, scenario. Admission is $20.00 per person.
“The Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society is fortunate to be able to draw on the creativity and talent of area residents to offer such unique presentations to the public,” said BBHS president Kate Carmel. “Not only is this exhibit great fun for all ages, but reminds us to treasure and conserve our agricultural history, from farmland to livestock.”
Following the BBHS Gala, Fowl Play will be on public view at the BBHS at 12 Bell Street, each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm beginning Sunday, June 5 and concluding Sunday, July 31. Admission is $5.00; free to BBHS members.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the BBHS Gala or ”Mimosa with Bagel and a Schmear,” visit the Bellport Brookhaven Historical Society at www.bbhsmuseum.com.