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Mabos: Calabria, migrants, poetry and photos by Mario Giacomelli

«There is great mobility in Calabria’s DNA, beyond the adverse conditions that pushed the Calabrians to move. People have always arrived and left, from Magna Graecia to today. There has always been hospitality, filoxenia, solidarity towards foreigners. It’s an identity trait.” Elisabetta Longo is the director of MABOS, Sila Forest Art Museumwhich inaugurates a permanent exhibition, made up of 25 photographs taken in Calabria in the 1980s by Mario Giacomelli.

Explains the founder of the Museum in the Bosco della Sila, Mario Talarico. «A few years ago, by chance, I found myself in my hands some black and white photographs which, at first glance, seemed less than successful. In reality they were deliberately imperfect images, characterized by an ethereal, abstract essence. They had such a strong impact that I decided to pay attention.”

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The shots by Mario Giacomelli, a photographer recognized worldwide for his original language, are those of the project Singing among new emigrants inspired by the verses of the Calabrian poet Franco Costabile. These images portray a desertified Calabria in its internal countries, documenting the transformation of a peasant world into something not perfectly understood – they make up the permanent exhibition Dark room.

The Mabos is at the gates of the Sila Catanzaro, a stone’s throw from those towns emptied by migration and just over an hour from those places that see the landings of migrants and tragedies like that of Cutro. Born in 2017 as an environmental art project, it is outdoors and populates approximately 30,000 m2 of forest with works. The artists produce and leave the work here. An audio card tells of a museum tour, a walk inside a forest which is also a CAI marked route.

«For Giacomelli’s photographs, a laminated wood structure with windows in the area was opened Sacred Forms», explains the director, «They are photos produced in 1985 on the initiative of the province of Catanzaro and inspired by the work of the poet Costabile who died twenty years earlier. On his first trip, in 1984, he had searched for an archaic Calabria without finding it. The way was the poetry, discovered in Senigallia, by Costabile.”

The exhibition was created with the collaboration of the Mario Giacomelli Foundation-Archive. «Through these shots in which it is clear that Giacomelli rejects the rules of good photography to delve into the matter of things and look at them without superstructures, just as Costabile shuns a cantabile verse and adopts free verse, we offer visitors the possibility of looking inside the folds of a people as well as the jarring contrasts of the places told in verse and images, always showing closeness to the least with an eye towards the new generations”. The museum itself is a symbol of rebirth, of how, not always, one has to emigrate from the South of Italy to find professional and personal fulfillment.

Source: Vanity Fair

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