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.