Andata e Ritorno
di Moira Ricci
Between 1952 and 1967, thousands of farmers marched across the “the trazzere” of inland Sicily, in procession. These were local citizens, marching peacefully in full awareness and solidarity against the abuses of landowners and the Mafia. Their watchwords were “rights and work” and they demanded the fairer distribution of land and an end to underdevelopment.
The area of Belici, the epicentre of this non-violent protest, is one of Italy’s most depressed areas. The march was headed by the intellectual-activists Danilo Dolci and Lorenzo Barbera.
In 1968, while similar protests were taking place in the rest of the world, the Belici protest was turned on its head by the sudden earthquake. For the locals, it was as if they had been struck down by some divine punishment.
For this reason, Moira Ricci has decided to lift the eyes of Gibellina’s inhabitants to the sky, constructing a large silent procession. They look to the heaves as if waiting for some response, whether it be from God or aliens, or even just an ominous future that is on its way.
The gazes we see are those of the Gibellinesi who lived before the earthquake levelled the city. The Tuscan artist has worked with over 1,000 photographs, taken from local family albums, that show and recount the life in their beloved city before the earthquake changed it forever.
Photographs found in the rubble of the houses show parties, community events, portraits “by the photographer”, family gatherings. Ricchi’s amazing fantasy was set into motion by this enormous heritage. The faces of men, women, elders and children emerge in a spectacular hand-painted collage. They return in procession, together, looking for a new beginning, to rebuild that community and the sense of belonging that existed in the old city, and which the earthquake, the passage of time and modernity have attempted to erase.
We too are part of this timeless procession. Anyone immersing themselves in this installation becomes a full part of this marching community. You can see yourself mirrored in the faces, mingling with the crowd, shouting out their slogans, feeling part of a community that transcends time and generations. The installation permits us to dream of being part of something bigger than ourselves and our own individualism. It is a single work composed of many others, in which you are simultaneously the actors and the spectators of this sizeable collective spectacle, which is the life of the community.
This work is part of the project "Start-art memoria in movimento" (conceived by the cultural association On Image and coordinated by CRESM-Centre for Economic and Social Research for the South), It was created thanks to the "Premio Creative Living Lab" 2018 della Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura contemporanee e Periferie urbane – DGAAP del MIBAC.
Moira Ricci was born in Orbetello in 1977, she lives and works in Italy. Her work, often of an autobiographical nature, investigates the themes of individual and social identity, family history, home and the original link with the land, weaving technological invention and rediscovering the image of popular belonging.
Moira's work has been exhibited worldwide in museums and galleries: Marubi National Museum of Photography, Shkodër, Albania; Spazio Oberdan, Milan; Dello Scompiglio Cultural Association, Vorno, Capannori Lucca; Laveronica Contemporary Art Gallery, Modica; Location1’s gallery, New York; Artopia, Milan; Song Eun Art Space, Seoul; Mambo, Bologna; FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art, Prague; Strozzina-Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Center Pompidou, Paris; White Box, New York.