Saturday, January 28, 2012


The following is the opening speech for my last exhibition, Presenza, which opened at The Art Vault, Mildura on Wednesday 2 November 2011.

Presenza picks up where my previous exhibition, Credo, left off – in this previous show I referenced clothing and objects that belonged to my mother and two grandmothers.

Presenza, primarily honours the memory of my father and two grandfathers through some of the objects they possessed.

My work also investigates finding faith in everyday objects, influenced by my family’s migration story and how they built a new life with not much more than their faith in each other and god.

After my maternal grandfather died at the ripe old age of 101 last year it occurred to me that I didn’t really know much about him, which is what partly inspired this exhibition.

Nonno Francesco's rosary beads, a prayer given to him before he embarked on his journey to Australia in 1951, his hanky which I discovered in the suit I inherited, his familiar eye glasses, the shoes he wore on the ship for his journey to Australia and suitcases (one of which still has a sticker from the Port of Fremantle from his arrival journey) and a commemorative medal given to him in his 100th year as a souvenir of his time in the Italian army.

Luci Callipari-Marcuzzo, Modiano Napoletane playing card - reverse, 2011

My father Antonio’s Italian playing cards conjure fond memories.  Dad and my Uncles would play the Italian card game of Briscola into the wee small hours (sometimes on school nights!), my cousins and I would bunk down in one of the family lounge rooms on blankets and nap while Mum and the Aunties chatted until it was time to go home.

Dad’s watch, the harmonica he played, well worn wallet and trusty pocket knife are immortalised on paper.

My paternal grandfather Michele’s “good” hat, the hat he wore on special occasions has a real sense of him.

These objects still have a sense of the presence of the people who possessed them before.

Also included are a suite of black gesso canvases adorned with religious icon souvenirs from religious feast days and jewellery fragments belonging to my mother.  As children my sister and I would dress up in the jewellery and make believe we were grown-ups!

I ended my speech with this poem, written late one sleepless night in the lead up to the exhibition:
Here in the presence of those that have gone before,
I sit and ponder and look and draw.
Channelling objects and events from ancestors past,
Remembering their essence through objects collected.
Lingering smells from long ago touches.
Objects worn with a sense of purpose; used with a sense of love & fondness.
In memoriam.

The Muppets

I went to see the new Muppet movie a couple of weekends ago with my son and some of my work colleagues. The event was highly anticipated as I'm a big Muppet fan from waaaay back (as are my work colleagues)

As a child I even had two proper hand puppets of my own. I "made" (that should be nagged!) Mum to buy them for me and I loved them.  I would put on plays, mostly myself and other members of the family - my older sister was usually my main victim! As the youngest of four siblings, with a six year gap between my brother and I, I pretty much had to keep myself amused!

Truth be known, I secretly wanted to be Miss Piggy. Who wouldn't want to be an independent, opinionated, fashionista, karate chopping, frog loving pig?!! 

The new Muppet film was well written and did justice to my old favourite characters. Miss Piggy was still as glamorous and feisty as ever, Kermit quietly humble, the Swedish Chef spouted incomprehensible chicken recipes (does anyone else see a likeness to Gordon Ramsey?!), Rowlf still tinkered on the piano, Fozzy delivered the same corny gags, Gonzo death defyingly great, Animal frenetic and Dr Teeth still managed to rock out a tune!

The human characters in the film were good too. Jason Segel's (who also co-wrote the film is a BIG Muppet fan - he had puppets as a child too!) Gary the sappy, yet believable older brother of Walter (a Muppet) and Amy Adams was gorgeously naive, as sweet Mary.

It even had a few celebrity cameos thrown in too, my favourite was Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters as an Animal impersonator!

Verdict: I  LOVED the film... as did my son and fellow colleagues too... we all exited the cinema with our fart shoes on! (You'll have to go see the film to find out what this means!)  Who doesn't love a film with spontaneous singing and a choreographed dance scene or two thrown in?!

And I am not ashamed to say it... I even sang along to the Muppet theme for all to hear too!  Yay! (as Kermit would say!)

Its time to play the music
Its time to light the lights
Its time to meet the muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.
Its time put on makeup
Its time to dress up right
Its time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight

[Old Men]
Why do we always come here?
I guess we'll never know
Its like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show

But now its getting started
Why don't you get things started?
Its time to get things started
On the most sensantional

This is what we call The Muppet Show!

Family Ties

Family is extremely important to me. Both my immediate & extended family.

It concerns me that as an only child, our son won't experience the bond one has with a sibling. And even though my brother has two older boys, and my husband's sister an older boy and girl, we have a relatively small family by Italian standards.

I grew up the youngest of four children, with strong bonds to my many cousins. We would see each other regularly as many of us were around the same age and also attended the same schools.

Our son doesn't have much contact with my cousin's kids, even though some of them are around the same age. Its not that we don't want to see each other.  As we all grew older, life changed; some of my cousins went off to university or got married and had children of their own.  We still enjoy the occasional family get-together, catching up on what has been happening in our increasingly busy lives, discussing schools, kids, life and a joke or two!

I'd like to give my son a sibling so he can experience the bond of close family too. My two brothers and sister are very important people in my life (as is my beautiful Mum), I'd do anything for them and vice-versa. The ties that binds a family together should never be broken, but unfortunately god had other ideas, the loss of my dear darling dad shook us all up nine years ago. It bought us closer together and as we gathered around Mum, it made us realise the importance of family.  The old saying "blood is thicker than water" is none truer in our case. But like most families we've had some bumps along the way too.

It's important to remember what brings us together, love.