The exhibition scheduled at Palazzo Blu, from Saturday, April 23 to Sunday, September 25, curated by Giorgio Bacci, presents a selection of original drawings, as well as photographs and videos, taken from the volumes Lamiere, Salvezza and Storiemigranti, published by Feltrinelli Comics between 2018 and 2019.
The journey begins in Africa, in one of the slums of Nairobi, Deep Sea, with the original drawings of Lamiere, the collaborative effort of illustrator Lucio Ruvidotti and writers/journalists Danilo Deninotti and Giorgio Fontana. The book is an acute work of graphic journalism, which presents the reader with humanitarian workers and kids ‘made’ of glue, nurses and children who have been HIV positive since birth, but also glimpses the hope of a rebirth on the horizon. The clean graphic line, the vivid and sometimes hallucinated colors highlight one of the technical peculiarities of the artist, who combines ink and digital.
The second stage, a sort of tragic and contemporary Middle Passage, is the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea described in Salvezza: in 2017, illustrator Lelio Bonaccorso together with journalist Marco Rizzo, author of the screenplay, embarks on the Aquarius and documents through pencils, cameras and video footage, the rescue activities conducted by the ship in the open sea. The results of the investigation are published in a work (we are still talking about graphic journalism) of great emotional strength and graphic quality. The reader follows the events of the crew and at the same time learns the stories of the migrants rescued at sea, fleeing war and despair.
Following a series of thematic and iconographic connections, the desperate gazes of Salvezza become the memory-rich faces of the men and women of Storiemigranti, born from the collaboration between cartoonist Sio and photographer Nicola Bernardi. Thirty-two migrants, each introduced by a photo-portrait that challenges the viewer to a direct comparison, tell stories of various kinds, ranging from tragic to comic. A sort of Japanese haiku in which everyday life and surreality coexist, as if a common ‘normality’ were now unattainable, the stories give life to a multi-faceted and complex fresco, where dreams border on nightmares and terrifying memories.
The exhibition as a whole allows the visitor to approach delicate issues of current affairs through the sensitive eyes of skilled artists and photographers, who dialogue with key historical and artistic topics. The exhibition offers the possibility to observe the variety of techniques used by contemporary illustrators (from watercolor to digital), and to study the entire artistic process, being able to admire not only the original boards (or prints taken from digital processing as in the case of Sio), but also the preparatory material, consisting of notebooks, photographs and drawings.