canvas of hope

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, an artist revisits a personal project

By Keren Moros | Photos by Luccia Photos

Though Edwina Corte set her passion for art aside  for 20 years while she raised her daughter, her creative wheels never stopped turning.

“I always had something tucked away that I was either sewing or painting,” recalls Corte, who is originally from Alabama and has lived in Coconut Creek for four years. “A lot of people read or bowl. I paint or sew. I’m always working on a project, and I’ve always got more than one going at a time.”

As her daughter got older, Corte was able to dedicate more time to art. Today, she’s a full-time dressmaker and artist, mainly painting multicolored  fish and flowers. However, one of her most personal pieces veers from what she calls her “whimsically Impressionistic” style.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Corte cried as she thought of the victims and their families. That same week, she started channeling her empathy into painting a canvas 15 feet long and a little more than 7 feet wide.

Corte grieved as she worked “day and night”—painting for three months and detailing for another three months. Titled “9/11 Memorial: Dedicated to the Victims,” its centerpiece is a lighthouse with three windows, representing Jesus and the two thieves at the Crucifixion. Words in the rays of light emitting from the top thank the New York City police and fire departments, volunteers and God.

Though people asked if she would sell it—she did receive offers—Corte couldn’t part with it because there was “so much emotion attached to it,” she says. Though it still means much to her, she is ready to share it with others. Corte is looking for buyers for the work, with a portion of the proceeds to go to the families of 9/11 victims.

Corte also would like to see the work honor the victims; the water at the foot of the lighthouse is clear so victims’ names can be written on it. Ultimately, her dream is for the piece to someday be displayed in New York.

“Not that my piece will be all that important,” she says of its future display. “But the occasion will still be and the representation of it will be.”

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