Who's afraid of the "black man?"
Those photos are part of my projects following Migrants in the south of Italy (you can see these projects under Editorial).
This is my personal take on people that made the difficult journey of integration:
Archaic and disruptive emotion, fear has always accompanied the human soul. Perhaps the strongest among all the deep-rooted fears, a popular tale in night time fantasies for adults and children: the unknown. The black man, the threatening wolf, the bad ogre; metaphors of our deepest anxieties, fuelled by centuries among ignorance and superstition. Fantastic creatures replaced today by more and more evil monsters, able to better represent the fears of the third millennium.
Tools to understand in depth the reality and our dark zones, the fairytale often become a valuable opportunity for comparison and openness to different and distant worlds. My tale speaks of metropolitan integration and multiculturalism, and the key to its language is the smile, or the laugh. A journey that is born from the desire to exorcise fears and dent clichés through laughter; varied, multifaceted, universal.
A white cloth and a stool; an itinerant set in the multi-ethnic neighbourhood of Esquilino, in Rome. From the arcades of Piazza Vittorio, to the lively local market, in search of faces willing to put on stage their desire to laugh. And through laughter recall fragments of happiness, memories able to give breath to the soul. The intent is to move away from alarmist and painful representations, a constant part in stories of immigration, and to cross hot and sensitive issues such as illegality, crime and exploitation, to reach the normality in the life of immigrants, a lively and complex universe unknown to most.
Laughter has become for me an instrument of knowledge, a universal key to overcome mutual distrust, capable of bring out the dignity in every human being. The search for a rare quivering of our soul that has today being standardized, commercialized, and squeezed by the media. In a society where everything is experienced on an amusing, ironic and playful extend, the authentic laughter as almost disappeared from our everyday life. It is the “smile of the road”, the one that arises from an unexpected encounter, that I wanted to dedicate this project to.