The following was passed on to me by my mother, with her recently completed painting of Andrew Cuomo. She felt compelled to share her perspective on the whole Andrew Cuomo scandal ahead of the anticipated backlash that may come from the release of this piece. Thank you for respecting her position on this matter. Here's what she said:
Normally I don’t feel compelled to explain why I choose to paint the people I paint however in the case of Andrew Cuomo, I want to say something. In my heart of hearts I do not want to believe former Governor Cuomo is a bad person, a predator or an abuser. For over 100 days during the early days of covid 19 this man gave me a reason to get up in the morning with his daily press briefings that were full of humanity and, when needed, hope. Say what you will about ego, power and control, the man did good work when so many of us needed that type of leadership.
The “Me Too” movement has emboldened female victims with the confidence to come forward when they have been wronged and that is a good thing. The movement has also educated many on what constitutes socially acceptable behavior. But change takes time and older generations may be slower to change their ways. Tone deaf? Maybe; but I would argue there is a major difference between Jeffrey Epstein or Harvey Weinstein and Andrew Cuomo.
Former Governor Cuomo says it was not his intention to abuse his accusers. For a man coming from his generation, or his culture, perhaps that is true. His brother argues it’s not about intent. He’s right. What the Governor did was wrong in today’s world. He made mistakes and he is now paying a huge price for those mistakes. He has apologized. For some, this may not be enough.
It saddens me that all the good this man did throughout his career seems to have been wiped out by his recent mistakes. I believe him when he says he has learned his lesson. I believe him when he says he wants his daughters (who are brighter than him) to have equal opportunity in what continues to be largely a “man's world”. So, as an artist, I have chosen to paint what I perceive to be the “good Andrew Cuomo” - the politician, the statesman, the fisherman, the father, the brother.
I know there are many viewpoints on what has become a horrible scandal. I hope, I request, that I be allowed to have my viewpoint of this man through my art.