13 STORIES FROM THE STREETS
Exhibition curated by Dalia Gallico
Gallerie d’Italia - Piazza Scala, Milan
28 May 2019 - 1 September 2019
Milan, 27 May – Today saw the presentation of the photography exhibition 13 Storie dalla Strada. Fotografi senza fissa dimora (‘13 Stories from the Streets. Homeless Photographers’) at the Gallerie d’Italia – Piazza Scala, one of Intesa Sanpaolo’s museum and cultural complexes. The exhibition recounts a year-long journey into the social and urban world of Fondazione Cariplo, taken by 13 homeless photographers.
The exhibition, curated by Dalia Gallico and open to the public from 28 May to 1 September, is the result of a partnership with Riscatti Onlus, which has carried out projects of social integration through photography since 2015. With the support of Fondazione Cariplo, regular photography workshops were held by photojournalists from Witness Journal for homeless people – men, women, Italians and foreigners. The attendees were selected with the assistance of the Department for Social Policies of the Municipality of Milan. For some participants, it was the first time they had used a camera, while for others it had been a long time since they last used one, and these workshops gave them the chance to rediscover its secrets and its power of expression.
‘Riscatto’ is an important word for Fondazione Cariplo: in 28 years, the foundation has organised thousands of initiatives to help people find their own ‘release’. People who are used to being defined by shortcomings, “without” – without a job, without a home, without a future – are supported to re-establish their sense of identity, with projects to help them step into the working world, access social housing, or benefit from community welfare services. “Riscatto”, or release, means regaining work, finally holding the keys to a house, and rebuilding lost relationships. This initiative has brought about a new awareness — that release can also be found by recovering dignity through one’s own eyes and perspective: “Photography changed my outlook, my view of the world. The need to find beautiful things to photograph compelled me to look for the best in things. I was no longer passive in life; I became a hunter of beauty.”
The next step was asking the photographers who took part in the workshops to document the world of Fondazione Cariplo, a wealth of people and projects that are continually evolving, entrusting them with the task of revealing the foundation’s true identity. The end product can be seen today in the magnificent rooms of the Intesa Sanpaolo museum and cultural complex. There are 52 never-before-seen photos on display, selected from 9800 shots that the 13 photographers took over the year, photographing 13 projects from among the 1500 that Fondazione Cariplo organises every year: the cheerful community of an urban allotment, an acrobat flying through the air, an apartment for disabled youngsters, the face of a female scientist.
Some of these homeless photographers continued to the very end of the year, while others were lost along the way, leaving behind only their photos: it was an emotional journey, along the crossroads of fragility and hope, and of fears and future prospects.
The project married expression with self-expression: as well as the photos, there will be screenings of video interviews with the photographers themselves at the exhibition. It is a window that sheds light on people’s lives, people who every day pass over the fringe, fragile and marginal soul of Milan. We will have a chance to discover who they are, where they spend their days, what they eat, how they wash themselves, who was lost along the way, where they call home, what they wish for and what they have found by observing the world from behind the lens: a year-long journey that took them from the outskirts to the heart of the city.
Giuseppe Guzzetti, President of the Fondazione Cariplo, said: “I’ve always believed that in order to stir consciences, we need to take the last-in-line, the most vulnerable, into the heart of our cities. But whenever this happens, they are sent away because we are irritated by seeing these vulnerable people in front of dazzling shop windows, who may be begging. In contrast, this photography exhibition has the wonderful distinction of bringing these individuals into the city centre in a different way, as protagonists, giving them a stage which is usually reserved for professional photographers. It is a symbolic gesture designed to make us think, a gift able to change day-to-day life. If we step into the Gallerie d’Italia with the mindset that we will see masterpieces by top photographers, then the exhibition may not meet expectations. However, we will have a glimpse into a much rarer wonder: a selection of beautiful photographs where the photographers have used that sliver of light to pull themselves out of the abyss, transforming it into a shot, or rather, a 'shot at release’”.
According to Giovanni Bazoli, President Emeritus of Intesa Sanpaolo: “Adopting an inclusive and therefore socially authentic perspective, our Gallerie d’Italia complexes wish to be open to all facets of society – places that offer new opportunities, including to those who are deprived, marginalised and vulnerable. This is why we have warmly welcomed the invitation to host 13 Stories from the Streets in Piazza Scala, the exhibition resulting from a Fondazione Cariplo project in partnership with Associazione Ri-scatti. One of the things that this initiative does is further strengthen the close relationship between Intesa Sanpaolo and Fondazione Cariplo, which has always been an exemplary foundation for the social development of the country, and also expands our collection in the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan with masterpieces of art from the nineteenth century. This highly meaningful exhibition is proof of our bank’s unfailing belief in culture as a tool of progress and improvement for all members of the community, a force for change in society.”
“It was a very educational experience for our homeless photographers, with Fondazione Cariplo offering them a ‘commission’ that gave them a sense of responsibility and motivation,” explained Federica Balestrieri, founder of the non-profit organisation Ri-scatti Onlus.
“During the shoots, I discovered a world that I had never known before, which they knew how to treat tactfully and with sensitivity, aided by their instructors, the photographers from Witness Journal. Sometimes this world told stories of hardship, loneliness, marginalisation, that they were able to capture through the lens. These were not professional photographers, but something more, because they knew how to remain faithful to the stories they were telling, a life of hardship that was all too familiar to them. By the end of this journey, they had overcome their reluctance to express themselves and decided to talk about their life and experiences, as can be seen in the film that will be screened at the exhibition. This marks an important step, a sign of a new-found self-respect and awareness of their own ability, which is the main goal behind all projects from Ri-scatti Onlus”.
The exhibition catalogue is published by Forma Edizioni.
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28 May - 1 September 2019
Gallerie d’Italia – 6 Piazza della Scala, Milan
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Last updated 27 May 2019 at 15:16