Italy as seen by refugees: “Guardo oltre” is a photography project created to transcend visible and invisible borders separating nations and people.
The project "Guardo Oltre" was curated by a professional photographer Lisa Boccaccio and carried out in collaboration with the Global Shapers Turin Hub. It resulted in photographs by Boccaccio and by a number of refugees in Prioro Gargallo in Syracuse. The pictures reveal Italy as seen by the immigrants who reach it by sea and, upon arrival, are taken to overcrowded immigration reception centres. While most of these centres display dire living conditions and hold many individuals for unreasonable lengths of time, they are also strongholds of solidarity thanks to numerous civic organizations striving to preserve and strengthen the dignity of arriving foreigners.
“Guardo oltre” is more than a reportage. The essence of the project is showing a particular situation from different points of view: mine, a perspective of a photographer, and the perspective of migrants held in the centre. Thanks to the donation of cameras by Sky Italia, it was possible to carry out serious photography courses for the participants. For them, a reception centre is a place of arrival after a long journey, but also the first stage of a new life. Photography, a universal language, has given them the opportunity to express themselves, tell about themselves and find points of reference in their new home. “Guardo oltre” was an artistic journey that included moments of leisure, training and personal growth for these young people.”, wrote Lisa Boccacio about the project.
The inauguration of the exhibition took place on 10 April 2015 at the startup incubator SocialFare a Torino with remarks from:
- Elia Bellussi from CoderDojo Torino,
- Ignazio Schintu and Abdullahi Ahmed from the Fenoglio Centre in Settimo Torinese,
- Ahmed Echi from a refugee reception centre “Associazione Papa Francesco” in Priolo Gargallo, Syracuse.
The inauguration was followed by an “ethnic dinner” offered by the Fenoglio Centre in Settimo Torinese.
The exhibition was then open to the public in Settimo Torinese for a month, and was visited by several groups from schools invited by the Turin Hub. It was later transferred to Milan and exhibited at the Museum of Natural Sciences. On 25 June 2015, “Guardo oltre” was presented by Lisa Boccaccio in the Hall of the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, following an international conference “Together We Shape It” dedicated to the ongoing migrant crisis.
“Guardo Oltre deals with a question of uttermost importance today and constitutes an opportunity for both the migrants and host countries to promote a fertile environment, navigating delicate issues such as integration, a matter on which the future of our communities depends”, summed up Prof. Carlo Ratti.