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Articles by: Samantha Janazzo

  • Cover photo of the Possati's photographic narrative
    Art & Culture

    Photographer Federico Possati Captures Valentines Day Las Vegas Style

    Italian photographer Federico Possati was inspired by various footage he shot after spending time around Valentines Day, accompanied by photos he took from other trips to Las Vegas. From his witty and quite explicit finds he published a photo-narrative called “IThe Mood for Love” where he uses his camera to capture small fleeting moments, enticed by the various contradictions that make up the city.

    The photos light-heartedly expose the city as an escape, a place where people have the freedom to reveal who they truly are, whether its on national love day, or not. Each photo is a demonstration of his quasi-serious intension of photographing the difference between love and attraction, romance and lust. Attempting to steal organic reactions and expressions of those experiencing the city, seeking love in the fleeting moments.

    This imaginative little tale, displayed in the NYC Italian Cultural Institute in September, is comprised of 52 different photos and 3 poems by Michele Maturo. The collection charms its audience into wondering whether it’s worth seeking amore, hidden in the artificiality of Sin City.

    Possati accomplishes his semi-ironic vision through opening the book with a photo of a billboard that states “The Love Store.” Followed by depictions of flower stands, missing shoes, families, couples, strippers, hustlers, gamblers, people on the phone and interacting face to face, the viewer cannot help but take their time flipping each page, studying the little details enclosed in the foreground and background of the impressive and corky photos.  He closes the narrative with a bride and groom, hand in hand, as they just sealed the deal in Las Vegas on the world's most romantic holiday.

    He strategically structured the order of the images to create an emotional narrative, contrasting people alone or in crowds, natives to Vegas, or those just passing through. “The journey the viewer undertakes has a narrative nature of its own,” Possati comments on his work. He encourages his viewers to fill in the blanks when he avoids the structure of a classic narrative. “It was no longer based on anything remotely real anymore, and so it became what we have now, based on a made up story” he explains. The narritive could have held a completely different significance if it took place in a city other than Las Vegas herself.

    Even though the photos truly speak for themselves, Possati was seeking text that could accompany the images without contextualizing or explaining them. Co-author Giulia Trabaldo Togna introduced the photographer to poet Michele Maturo, even though he was skeptical about poetry being too cryptic and difficult to understand. However his mind was immediately changed after reading some of his work. “Michele understood the narrative we were working on and did a wonderful job in composing the three poems that encapsulated the essence and the mood of the book,” Possati states-- the three poems are the only text in his book.

    When speaking about his audience’s experience Possati states, “I really hope they feel something, regardless of what it is.” And it’s true, not only does the imagery bring a smile, jerk a tear, but it makes the viewer ponder about Valentine’s Day in Vegas. Because maybe, just maybe, those who spend the holiday Vegas are just seeking a taste of love because they are in the mood.

  • Director Karin Coonrod and Compagnia de’ Colombari at Casa Italiana
    Facts & Stories

    Compagnia de’ Colombari Performs Shakespeare's "The Merchant in Venice" in Jewish Ghetto

    On October 6, 2016, Casa Italiana had the pleasure of hosting members of Compagnia de’ Colombari, an Italian theater company known for its unorthodox production locations. The founder, Karin Coonrod, a current member of the theater faculty at Yale University, along with three cast members represented William Shakespeare's The Merchant in Venice, which they staged in the Venetian Jewish Ghetto for the first time in history in 2015.

    This production began with a conversation between two professors in 2013 when they realized both the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the ghetto and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death fall on a similar date. They called upon Compagnia de’ Colobari knowing that they would be able to properly execute their vision, encompassing the history of the ghetto and revealing the true meaning of the play.

    The cast was comprised of selected members of the Bogliasco Foundation, an international coorporation for gifted artists. Conrood explains that the culmination of nationalities of the cast created an openness and curiosity for culture that was taken advantage of in the play, as she incorporated songs and lines in languages other than English.

    Coonrod addressed that historically The Merchant of Venice is known as anti-Semitist but intended to gear her rendition towards being both Jewish and universal, focusing on the marginalization of the people in the ghetto. “It frames both anti-Semitism and anti-others. What drew me to the play is the hypocrisy of the dominant culture with the exposure of what the play is leading to,” Coonrod explained. By highlighting the discrimination of the Jewish people by Christians, she tributes her work as a healing of the ghetto.  

    Shylock, the lead of the play and one of Shakespeare’s most noteworthy antagonists, is a historically controversial character due to the debate as to whether Shakespeare is creating a mockery of Jewish stereotypes or not. In Conrood's portrayal, she has him played by five seperate actors, which not only speaks volumes to embracing the cast's diverse personalities, nationalities, and ages, but also to the complexity of the different sides of the Shylock himself, providing a deep character analysis and eliminating previous connotations.

    The costumes were visionary; Coonrod described them as “Renaissance with modern details” and the Ghetto provided the perfect stage. When the actors explained their first impression of the ghetto they said that they never could have imaged the vast space, filled with growing trees and babbling foundatins, to act as a stage. When the metamorphosis was complete and the equipment crew added 200 seats for an audience, bright back lighting, and props, the ghetto transformed into a set. The background was flanked by the Italian and German Synagogues to create the perfect atmosphere for this multifaceted play.

    There was, of course, a high level of responsibility to find the means of both a manifestation of the culture of the ghetto and demonstrating it properly in history, while figuring out how to bridge the centuries to the exact location. And suffice to say, the challenges did not end here.

    As aforementioned, the actors and actresses came from diverse language backgrounds, with a Shakespearean play there is a profound significance on the vernacular, poetry, and words. Coonrod had to work with the system of languages and create a complete connection of action, movement, music, and sounds into one performance. As a native English speaker struggles with the Shakespearian dialect, one could only imagine a foreign speaker working with such words. Thanks to Coonrod’s truly sophisticated perception, she was able to execute a successful plot that incorpated several languages that ultimately added to the intensity of the production, though performed mostly in English.

    During the panel with the actors and director, they playfully reminisced on the various obstacles they overcame to properly carry out the play. For example, the Jewish ghetto is technically “an island within an island,” all set pieces, props, and people had to be boated in. But after six successful performances in the ghetto the extra effort was worth it and they packed up and headed to Mezzano to perform a matinee in the central campo with beautiful acoustics. Their final perfomance was held in an Italian prison, the actress that played Protia reminisced, “they felt seen and we felt seen in a way that actors and prisoners have never been seen before. There was an understanding between everyone. It was our last show and it was really special.” 

    The work of Compagnia de’ Colombari pushes the limits of theatrics by using the world as a stage. Karin Coonrod and the members of the Bogliasco Foundation took on a great challenge of hosting this play in the Jewish Ghetto, but with a full audience, beautiful orchestra, incredible actors, and a deeply intellegent and innovative director the play was a success.

    That’s a wrap!

  • Life & People

    Italian Heritage Reception at Gracie Mansion

    On October 6, 2016, the Gracie Mansion hosted the "Italian Heritage Reception," centered on the pride of being Italian-American. The event also recognized growing cultural influences on our country and embraced the diverse ethnicities that comprise the place we call home.

    Angelo Vivolo, the president of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, opened the event and proclaimed, “Everyone is going to be Italian tonight in the greatest city in the world!” Speeches given by the Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray followed. Director and actor John Turturro closed the occasion with the fourth speech of the night. All of the speakers’ inspiring words encouraged everyone in attendance to channel their Italian roots.

    Mayer Bill De Blasio recounted several examples about how NYC has benefitted from the work of Italian Americans. He cited the creation of the Whitney Museum, the restoration of Ellis Island, the implementation of the new Statue of Liberty Museum, and the building of LaGuardia airport as constant reminders of hardworking Italians. He spoke about how NYC is a testament of the courage of our ancestors who decided to travel across the ocean in order to start a new life. Similarly, De Blasio stated that when Italy is in need, we are here to help them.

    Italy and the Italians have done so much for New York, and that he believes it is our duty to keep Italy alive, to preserve its food, its beautiful language, but most of all, to embrace the Italian culture within New York City.

    During De Blasio’s closing remarks he recounted an experience he had while looking up at the Statue of Liberty, recognizing that we are a nation of immigrants. We are still trying to understand and to accept that we are a nation made of many different people, cultures, and stories. We must not be ignorant of cultures different than our own, and it is our civil duty to treat immigrants as we would have wanted our ancestors to be treated upon their entrance into the United States years ago.

    The Mayor warmly greeted Consul General of Italy, Francesco Genuardi, who was present among the guests. He recalled how Genuardi had decided to visit his hometown in Italy, Sant'Agata dei Goti, before coming to New York.

    First Lady McCray's speech focused on improving mental health care in New York City schools. She emphasized that through educating ourselves and working together we can better help the disabled. “If we work together, I am confident that we will succeed. If there is one thing Italian-Americans know, it’s how to create and sustain a culture founded on the best of their family values,” she said.

    The crowd was also honored to hear a speech from John Turturro, a New York born actor and director. He accredited his success in the film industry to the work ethic that his grandparents passed down. They constantly encouraged him to find his vocation, to find the one calling that he could see as his life's work.

    Turturro also spoke about how he gained a deep love and respect for the Italian-American community. How he recognized the tremendous sacrifice our ancestors made by coming to the United States. Even though being Italian or being American is a “complicated mixture of ingredients,” according to Turturro, it is important to know your center and find pride in it.

  • Lidia Bastianich, Federica Marchionni, Andrew Cuomo, Robert Lapenta, Angelo Vivolo, Maria Bartiromo, Oscar Farinetti
    Facts & Stories

    72 annual Columbus Day Parade Kicks Off @ Eataly Downtown

    Every year since 1929, Italian-Americans have gathered together in New York City on Columbus Day to parade in recognition of the countless accomplishments of the Italian-American community all around the world.

    On October 5, 2016, Maria Bartiromo, on behalf of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a foundation dedicated to the preservation of Italian-American heritage and a scholarship program for capable underprivileged Italian-American students to excel in education opportunities, is proud to introduce its 2016 Grand Marshal and honorees at a beautiful event hosted by Eataly in New York City.

    This new Eataly location opened this past summer in the World Trade Center, a place that is very precious to the heart of New York City. Oscar Farinetti and Lydia Bastianich were partners in this endeavor, along with Mario Batali, who unfortunately could not accompany Farinetti and Bastianich to the Columbus Citizens Foundation event due to the filming of his daily show, The Chew.

    The event began with a beautiful speech from the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. In his opening, he emphasized the importance of hard work and prosperity and explained how the classic Italian family values begin at the dinner table. He also expressed his excitement to march in the parade. During his speech, he speaks about the necessity to keep Italian culture alive and how the Citizens Foundation preserves the following idea: “Italians are a people of honor, a people of culture, a people of law and order, and a people of hard work.” Cuomo continues to say that we are responsible for passing these ideals to future generations, and that it is though tradition that we can tell the true story of the Italian-American people.

    His message about the mission of the foundation and the parade itself was clear when he stated, “It’s not really just about the parade, it’s about the good work that the foundation does all year long. What they do to help people get a quality education with their scholarships is really special, and what the Citizens Foundation does is tell the true story of the Italian-American people.” That is truly what the Columbus Citizens foundation is about and is why people should come and show their support and demonstrate a true Italian-American story.

    This year’s honorees are two dedicated Italians successful in their respective business, one a representatives of culinary excellence, and the other of innovative fashion. First is chef, writer, and restaurateur, Mario Batali, and the second is global business-woman and fashion executive Federica Marchionni, who was present at the event. Both Batali and Marchionni are incredibly hardworking individuals, who have built an empire around their passions anchored in their Italian roots.

    Marchionni began her career in the fashion world working as president of Dolce and Gabbana USA. Her curiosity, persistence, and personality is what truly lead to her success. Additionally significant, she understands the importanance of taking a role in the Italian-American community, and for that reason, she will march in the parade and represent her culture on this upcoming Columbus Day.

    Mario Batali is another leader in the Italian-American community, focused on implementing the true meaning of Italian cooking across the world. He is educated in culinary arts and TV-famous with his entertaining and easy-to-follow cooking shows. He is deeply rooted in his Italian heritage thanks to the lessons of his grandparents, who passed on their passion for the Italian cuisine and taught him to be an ardent Italian.  He recently lent a helping hand in aid for the earthquake relief by donating money for every plate of Amatriciana sold at his restaurants.

    After a brief speech by Marchionni, Bartiromo introduced this year's Grand Marshal and leader of the parade, Robert Lapenta, founding general partner of Aston Capital. Showing his pride in the goals and accomplishments of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, he speaks on the importance of what is means to truly be Italian-American. In a beautiful and humbling speech, he speaks about how the tragedy of 9/11, just 15 years ago, has proved that we, as Americans and as Italians, are brave and strong and that when we come together we can shed light on some of the darkest times in modern American history. “It shows the heart and the courage of Americans, and I am really proud to be here.” These words were even more powerful being that Eataly is located in the World Trade Center, a truly beautiful memoir to those who lost their lives on the tragic day.

    With the empowering encouragement of this year's Grand Marshal and two incredible honorees, the Columbus Day Parade will be, once again, an absolute success because it is based on the ideals of success and opportunity that have been engrained in the Italian-American mindset since 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. 

  • Le farfalle della cattedrale, Claudio Costa, 1982
    Art & Culture

    Materia Prima: an Anthropological Approach

    From September 15- November 11, 2016 the Ierimonti Gallery is displaying “Materia Prima,” a tri-artist collaboration; El Anatsui of Africa, Claudio Costa of Italy, and Richard Nonas of the United States.

    What joins the three together to make a smooth ocular transition through the walls of the gallery demonstration is their similar anthropological approach, the use of a similar color scheme, and fluid ambiance. Each artist has a different history, tradition, and culture but together they pinpoint the message that challenges the origination of mankind.

    On display for Anatsui is "Background Stories," a piece that he produced in 1992 composed mostly of African Hardwood.  By piecing together small bits of wood and recycled materials in shades of blue and brown, the wall-mounted display comes together to tell a narrative of African ritual in a modern light, bringing together past traditions with the present day.

    The work of the American, Richard Nonas, has a blatant divide. Two of his pieces are three dimensional and composed of steel, while the other two on display are made with paper and canvas. The pieces seem almost as if they have been recovered from an archaeological site. He reaches into the past in attempt to encompass the basic needs of human existence, that which without our primordial ancestors we could not have survived to modern day. His work pieces together a trip through time and innovation of which human beings developed. He seeks to make doubt tangible through his work.

    Two pieces done by Claudio Costa are on display; one evokes primitive sensations, while the other is more contemporary.  He plays heavily on the ideas of anti-chronology and simplicity. The Italian term Arte Povera, an Italian minimalist technique found in 1950s art, is found here as he attempts to look back and rediscover our identity as a human civilization with as little material as possible.

    Each image comes together with the sense of reflection. It opens a door to previous cultures and in attempt to piece civilization together, as if the artists physically attempt to reconstruct our lives from an archaeological point of view, peering from the future into what we call the present. These anthropological challenges are on display to visit at this Ierimonti gallery.

  • NYC has 200 bilingual schools

    3rd Bilingual Fair Celebrates Education Revolution

    On October 15, from 9am-5pm Hunter College is celebrating their third annual Bilingual Fair hosted by The French Morning. Being a bilingual speaker is increasingly important in the US and around the world. Such a day of celebration for the bilingual education revolution gives multi-linguists the honor they deserve and opens the door to educators and parents to consider introducing new languages to the future generations.

    Emmanuel Saint Martin originally began this fair three years ago to aid parents in their decision to send their children to bilingual schools, to educate them on the importance of bilingualism for future generations, and to guide them to a specific language choice.

    New York City already has 200 bilingual programs in public schools. This type of education not only broadens the horizons of future employment options for our youth, but it also implants a globalized view of the world around them, benefitting their futures by initially breaking cultural barriors and starting from the langauge itself.

    Various events and presentations will be; Understanding the Bilingual Mind and Brain, Dual Language Programs: A Revolution in NYC Schools, Becoming a Teacher in a Bilingual Program, and more.

    Highly educated linguists experienced in dual langauge programs will be available to answer questions, including The Consul of Germany, superintendents and principals from New York City Schools, university professors, and representatives from 12 different languages schools.

    English is international, but the ability to speak a second language is a gift.

    Make a reservation to the fair and find out more at http://bilingualfair.org/.

  • Three of Elena Ferrante's books translated into English
    Art & Culture

    The Secret Behind the Pseudonym

    From the beginning of her extensive writing career in Italy, the internationally recognized author of the four part, Naples based, book saga that includes My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child chose to write under the pseudonym Elena Ferrante since the early ‘90s.

    On October 3, 2016 at 1 am an Italian investigative journalist Claudio Gatti (whose name translates to Claudio the cat) released an article to the New York Review of Books stating he had acquired adequate information to prove that Anita Raja, German translator for the Rome based publisher Edizioni E/O and wife of Domenico Starnone, is Elena Ferrante.

    Even though Gatti has Italy buzzing about the news, Ferrante’s fan base is not receiving the released information so courteously in the article he entitled “Elena Ferrante: An Answer?” Before delving into Claudio Gatti’s intrusive accusations, we ought to understand the author’s reasons for protecting her identity.

    Originally claiming that she chose to write under a pseudonym because of her shyness, Elena Ferrante quickly became a name for sexual liberty and a mother figure for the feminist movement in Italy and around the world. Committed to the choice, the author further explains that she does not stand for competitive writing between authors. She is persistent in her belief that putting a face to a book is unnecessary, and that the book’s power hails from the written word, not the face that promotes it.

    Despite consciously rejecting facial recognition, avoiding public promotions, and entrusting her writing to do all the heavy work, Ferrante was betrayed. Claudio Gatti has sleuthed his way into real-estate records, payments from publishers, and literary interpretations. All of these may seem far-fetched, but they are enough for him to connect the translator to the alias.

    Through his article he has “outed” an artist who had made a specific and personal career choice for none other than to place her writing and audience on an anonymous level. Gatti has gone beyond speculations to seek tangible evidence to connect Ms. Raja and Ms. Ferrante.

    So how, exactly, does Gatti’s article convince English, German, French, and Italian readers (the languages in which he has his article released) that his findings are legitimate? Especially when the audience does not want to know the truth. 

    He began with payment records he acquired from Edizioni E/O, the company that publishes both Ferrante and Starnone’s work. In his article, Gatti states that there is a connection with the publishing house’s annual revenue, the number of Ferrante’s books sold, and the income of the husband and wife. Through an anonymous source he obtained information that led him to believe that between the financial patterns of the company and Raja’s income checks, Ferrante and Raja are the same.

    He then goes so far as tracing the couple’s real estate expenditures from the early 2000’s to present day. Since Anita Raja is a translator, and her husband is a writer, Gatti claims that the two could not possibly afford their 2,500 square foot apartment in Rome and their Tuscan mansion.

    Next, he made reference to previous conspiracy theories that attempted to identify Ferrante. The first one being that Ferrante is actually Domenico Starnone, Raja’s husband. Gatti’s article states that based on evidence obtained from a Sapienza University of Rome student-based side-by-side text analysis, there must have been some sort of “unofficial collaboration” between the husband and wife. This means that his belief, as presented in his article, is that the work of Ferrante is Raja’s with influences from her husband’s writing style.

    The theories do not stop here. When Claudio begins to claw through Ferrante’s literature and penname, he claims that the name Elena was chosen after Raja’s aunt. Highly studied literary scholars have already proved that her name is a play on Elsa Morante, an Italian novelist and huge inspiration to the work of Ferrante and feminist literature. Many connections are made to Morante’s life and Ferrante’s new novel Frantumaglia, which is written in autobiographical form; a novel Ferrante has countlessly claimed that it is a work of fiction. Even though Cladio attempts to make incorrect relations between the book’s plot and Raja’s upbringing.

    Another interesting connection between Raja and Ferrante is her work with Christa Wolf. Raja translated Wolf’s rendition of the classical tale Medea into German, later Ferrante published "The Days of Abandonment," a modern take on the similar Ancient Greek tragic themes. For Gatti this is enough to prove Ferrante’s connection with Raja, but the themes of the Greek and Roman Classics such as Medea, and many others from mythology/theater have been revamped and recycled for generations.

    Gatti finally attempts to make in-text connections between Raja and Ferrante. First being the name Nino, romantic subject of the main character of her four part Neapolitan saga released from 2012-2015, is also the family name of Raja’s husband. He also highlights a significant amount of detail about the importance of libraries, a hot topic in My Brilliant Friend. He claims this is Raja’s personal input being that she has been the head of Rome’s European Library. These are truly just two small details in twenty years of Ferrante’s writing that Gatti clings onto.

    In all honesty, his strongest case lies heavily in the financial and real estate records. In an attempt to extract more personal information from Raja, her husband, and those working at Edizioni E/O, Mr. Gatti had countless unrequited phone calls and stark conversations that left him without information as he pried for more tangible evidence. Everyone’s refusal to comment on the previous indignations and his overall lack of concern for privacy and protection of Ferrante’s identity has left Gatti sneaking around for his own answers.

    But there is one thing Ferrante has that Gatti will always lack, a loyal fan base. Copies of her work have been sold to forty different countries, and when it comes down to it, Gatti is the only one trying to out her, but disrespect can only get him so far. Ferrante clearly does not want to give up her anonymousness for upstanding reasons that she has been open about. For this reason she prefers to conduct her interviews via email and does not partake in book tours.

    So wherever the true Elena Ferrante is, weather she is Anita Raja or someone else, I hope she reads Gatti’s article with a smile, confident in the support base of her present and future readers, and aware that the work she has done is far superior to the work of a sleuth.

    I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat. -Edgar Allan Poe

  • Interior of Fondeco Dei Tedeschi
    Facts & Stories

    Fondaco Dei Tedeschi Transformed Into Retail Center

    The reopening of Venice’s Fondaco dei Tedeschi as a high-end retail center will only add to the incredible Venetian experience with its prime location on the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge, perfect for tourists and locals alike. All four floors have been revamped with famous brands, accompanied by a fabulous cultural center located on the top floor. This gorgeous structure became available to the public on September 29.

    The historic palazzo dates back to the 1200s, as it was originally built to cater to the needs of German merchants during the port city’s maritime trade peak. Today, you will find Italians referring to it as the Post Office Building. Improved and remodeled as a luxury shopping mall, it will allow Venetian residents and visitors to indulge in high-end fashion brands.

    With four floors of handbags, accessories, shoes, and more from world renowned luxury brands (mostly Italian), highly trained fashion experts have been employed to guide the store to success, as the retail center is predicted to bring in over 100 million euro annually.

    Thanks to major investments from the retailers DFS and LVMH, the mall overall still belongs to Benetton. The investors have reported their enthusiasm and excitement for the project that has gone underway not only because they anticipate successful revenue, but also because Venice is such a picturesque city and revamping the palazzo will only add to consumer’s enjoyment.

  • A scene of Fuocoammare by Gianfranco Rosi
    Art & Culture

    Fuocoammare Nominated for Academy Award

    On Monday September 26, Italian film director Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary Fire at Sea or Fuocoammare was submitted for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards on February 26, 2017. Kino Lorber, an art house film distributor, is releasing the documentary in the United States, opening in New York on October 21, 2016.

    Based on the European migrant crisis, this documentary unveils the truth about the daily struggle of the inhabitants of Lampedusa, an Italian Mediterranean island with a fishing and agriculture based economy—located just 70 miles from Tunisia and 150 miles from Sicily. Rosi shows the tireless efforts by civilians to accommodate the influx of migrants and refugees escaping Africa and the Middle East almost every week.

    He includes actual footage of the conditions both on land and at sea; such as, helicopter rescues, disease, corpses, as well as factual data of the suriviors and deaths since the beginning of the crisis in the early 2000s.

    In attempt to access diverse points of view, Rosi follows Samuele, a young Italian local of Lampedusa whose puerile sense of curiosity and love for exploring causes him stress and anxiety as he left unsheltered from whitenessing to the harsh conditions of the foreign people retreating to the island he calls home.

    Rosi’s documentary is relentlessly realistic, The Hollywood Reporter states, “Where journalism leaves off, Fire at Sea begins.” Rosi does not skimp on any details of this turbulent time in present day Italy, recording the reactions of locals, doctors who patiently treat these migrants with care, and those who treat the refugees as if they are nothing.

    For the past 20 years there has been a rising number of desperate refugees seeking access to Europe to gain a better life. In response, the European Union has given Lampedusa (and other inter-Mediterranean access points to Europe) money to build shelters and hospitals. However, Fire at Sea shows how Lampedusa is operating at its maximum capacity, running low on supplies, and how a local community is unable to account for the growing volume of migrants. Bringing this film to the United States is a push for awareness of this ongoing crisis.

  • Works by Mimmo Roselli
    Art & Culture

    Mimmo Roselli on Display at Casa Italiana (NYU)

    On September 20, at the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, Mimmo Roselli, an Italian artist, presented an exhibition entitled “NYC,” featuring watercolors, a sculpture-installation, and oil paintings. The event also included a presentation of two short films and an interview with Roselli, conducted by Stefano Albertini, Director of Casa Italiana.

    Born in Rome and raised in Florence, Roselli was originally a physician before pursuing a fulltime career as an international artist. The theme of this exhibit revolves around the concept of space and borders. With the repetition of lines throughout his pieces, he emphasizes the importance of crossing boundaries and trespassing into new terrains.

    To Roselli, lines are an allegory for a personal passage in life. They always leave a mark, but they also represent being present in your daily thoughts and actions. “Sometimes we look to the future too much, and we escape our responsibilities because we are not in the present,” he explains.

    His series of 130 watercolors on 8.6” x 5.9” pieces of paper called, “NYC, the Gentle Giant,” were delicately pinned to the wall in loosely organized columns and rows. Each work contains engrained lines that embody the painted organic shape in varying shades of its monochromatic hue, including purple, pink, green, and orange.

    With the site-specific sculpture installation, “From Here to Here,” Roselli uses Sarah’s Garden as his canvas and “cuts the space” with ropes. It illustrates the idea that lines go in different directions, yet always return to the same place—the first time he conveys this idea.

    He also portrays this in his five oil on canvases, which all similarly depict curved black lines engraved on the surface, resembling the physical wires in the garden.

    In fact, in the short film, “Mimmo Roselli at 55 Venice Bienalle 2013,” Ewald Stastny, the museum’s Artistic Director, describes that his work was selected because his ideology correlates to the history of Venice. The wires and the lines are a metaphor for “coming and going,” symbolic of the historic Venetian port city. With this display, his canvases are inside and his wires are outside to demonstrate that the world is limitless and should be explored.

    The documentary, “Gironi di Santa Rosa,” shows a different side of Roselli’s work. During his time as a physician in the ‘80s, a Franciscan Monk approached Roselli to provide medical care to members of a village in southeast Bolivia. He originally served three months annually as a physician and researcher, but was inspired not only to better educate the people, but to also have them express their culture through art.

    In 2007, Roselli built a middle school and high school for artists and young local students to achieve just that. The documentary explains the month-long Santa Rosa festival, which showcases the student’s work to the town, including theater pieces, sculptures, and portraits.

    In the interview that followed, Roselli reveals that the school is flourishing with both permanent and visiting staff. He goes on to explain that the poverty present in Bolivia is apparent in his work, which he describes as “mere lines on a canvas.” He believes that art needs to be approached in this pure way because you can do less with more, and the less you use the more powerful a message can be. This is why he encourages his students to use simple materials sourced locally, once again highlighting the significance of space.

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