Author: Gerardo Papalia

09.11.17

THE BARBER SHOP. Under scrutiny on a hillside village in Calabria

It was my usual Christmas escape from the misty northern winter: a hillside village in Calabria. I took my customary opportunity to get an inexpensive haircut. The tiny barber shop overlooked a curve above a valley of abandoned terraces. Its sign said “Cecè U barba” – “Here Frank the Barber” in black letters on white … Continue reading THE BARBER SHOP. Under scrutiny on a hillside village in Calabria

16.06.17

Cultural vindication in technicolour before the rise of multiculturalism

There is an experience many of us who grew up in Australia as male children of migrant parents in the 1960’s and 1970’s will recognise: the sense of expectation that surrounded our Sunday lunch. This feeling was not just about the food our mothers had spent most of the morning preparing. An essential condiment to … Continue reading Cultural vindication in technicolour before the rise of multiculturalism

20.01.17

St George and the Dragon: my introduction to Italian art

My introduction to Italian art was in the form of an imperious and shocking painting that my mother cut out from a book of art she had brought to Australia from Italy in a shipping chest. My father framed it in a veined wood veneer all shiny and orange-brown. It was purpose-designed to cover our … Continue reading St George and the Dragon: my introduction to Italian art

13.10.16

An eighteenth century amphitheatre and marbles of deads poets: the stage of an Italian examination

I will always remember my first exam at an Italian university. I had barely been seven months in Italy. I had arrived on a scholarship from the Italian government, enthusiastic and fresh-faced, just after graduating in Italian Studies at Melbourne University. It was the 28th of May, a bright and windy spring day and the … Continue reading An eighteenth century amphitheatre and marbles of deads poets: the stage of an Italian examination

23.03.16

Pasolini’s poem, “The Weeping Excavator”, still stands as a symbol of destructiveness in today’s society ruled by money and greed

Those, in the English-speaking world, who have heard of Pier Paolo Pasolini, are most likely to know of him as a director of controversial films. However, Pasolini, who was born in Bologna in 1922 and murdered in the outskirts of Rome in 1975, started his creative life as a writer of poetry and prose. His … Continue reading Pasolini’s poem, “The Weeping Excavator”, still stands as a symbol of destructiveness in today’s society ruled by money and greed

24.12.15

The Deceptive Use of Poignant Images

This is a famous and often reproduced photograph, used to exemplify the migration experience. Legions of viewers have wanted to project or inscribe their interpretations onto this photograph, with comments like: “Ferocious and affectionate mother”. Lately it has been used to remind Italians that they too, were once like the poor migrants that are drowning … Continue reading The Deceptive Use of Poignant Images

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