Details of the work:
Work type: Installation
Technique: Bronze, iron, Murano glass, rope
Dimensions: 200 x 800 cm
54th International Art Exhibition “La Biennale di Venezia” – Italy
The President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, presenting a recent volume on the works of Antonio Nocera, expressed the greatest appreciation for the artist’s sensitivity towards the theme of Italian emigration. A theme not long addressed and debated by historians and object of shows and conferences a bit ‘all over Italy. As if being in turn became a country of immigration, he had drawn attention to a chapter of our history neglected even by literature.
Especially in his tormented bronze sculptures, Antonio Nocera succeeds in expressing the drama of emigration with great effectiveness. Drama of affections and feelings torn, of lives in the fray and often of broken dreams in the most cruel way, if it is true that for many emigrants the mirage of the “promised land” ended up in the whirlpools of the Ocean.
As a historian of Italian emigration in the Americas and cultural director of the National Italian American Foundation, I feel the need to thank Antonio Nocera for having dedicated several of his most significant works to the “Great Exodus”, which from 1880 to 1920 brought over fourteen million of Italians looking for a better life.
It is important, in the year of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, to remember that only in the United States there are twenty-six million Americans of Italian origin, and that in Argentina the citizens with the Italian surname are more than thirty million. Nor do these numbers so impressive have to forget the many Italians emigrated to other countries of the world, starting from Belgium, where the immense tragedy of Marcinelle took place, to which Antonio Nocera dedicated the works that most impressed the sensibility of the President of the Republic.
But this versatile and genuine artist, Neapolitan and at the same time a citizen of the world, has so much to offer, starting from his works-stories, with the old dear Pinocchio always in the running, perhaps in the race with life, and certainly looking for a better world.
Francesco Nicotra, Italian Emigration Historian and Cultural Director of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)
“The Sea: guardian and guardian of hopes, dreams and desires of thousands of men, but also, unfortunately, of memories of distant stories of emigration, suffering and fear.
It is just a sea voyage to mark the beginnings of many stories of exodus and expatriate, which between 1876 and 1976, have marked the lives of over 11 million Italians, who, full of hope, have crossed the Atlantic Ocean looking for a job and a better life. Travels made of tragedies and adventures, high hopes and fierce disillusionment, during which the emigrants often did not have time for wonder, boredom or nostalgia.
Dark and foul-smelling, the spread of contagious diseases, seasickness, the indifference of the crew, the fear of shipwrecks and the possibility to land in countries other than the one planned, filled the mind and heart of “our grandparents” , removing the loneliness for the abandonment of their land and their birthplace and the worries for an uncertain future. The familiar places of suffering and the hope of a better future in unknown lands were united by the vastness of the open and unexplored sea, a bridge between stories of hunger and poverty and hopes for a better life. With this new artistic and editorial work of Maestro Antonio Nocera we want to retrace the adventurous and moving history of “our grandparents” who left, despite everything, to seek their fortune, a hard and touching cross on a past sometimes forgotten and of which we can do without to understand the roots of today’s Italy.
A past that returns with the tragic news of illegal landings and, this time, of immigration stories, which very often, still today, unfortunately fill our days, making us relive the migratory experiences of our ancestors; paradoxes of modern man that have ancient roots in themes of economic backwardness, wars, social conflicts and delays in the development of the poorest countries. “
Nicola Mattoscio, President of the Pescarabruzzo Foundation