I’ve already been to New York for a travel award when I was 17, but I just saw Manhattan and little else.
The first time I saw the real New York City, away from 5th Avenue shopping, Broadway theaters and the congested streets frequented by tourists, was the next year and I was fascinated and enchanted by this City.
All this would not have been possible if I had not met on this trip Carlo Medori, to whom I owe all my gratitude for showing me the true essence of the City. He had infected me with his keen on murales and on few-travelled streets and quarters full of life. Our friendship has strengthened over time and as I come to New York City I do not lose an opportunity to see him and let him update me on what is happening in the City, mostly in art, culture and political fields.
Since then I started to return to New York at least once a year, to photograph the murales, to look at this City in constant evolution.
Just move a little bit from Manhattan to find yourself in very different neighborhoods, where you can breathe smells, tastes coming from around the world, as if there were many small microcosms of different cultures living in one big community.
Equipped with a camera, sneakers and a pinch of adventurous spirit, I have walked miles and miles every day, looking at neighborhoods, streets, people, faces and painted walls that were in some ways emblematic, able to give me vibrations, both in positive or negative way.
Years of traveling have given me much satisfaction, even on a personal level; 11 years ago I exposed about 40 photos in my solo exhibition in Milan, Italy, where I met my husband!
He is following me in my travels and he is a particularly valuable aid in the construction of the site in its entirety; I must thank him for the effort he puts in it night after night, after a long day at work.
What came out and is visible on this site is my personal journey through the maze of this multi-faceted city, told through the murales, which are true art.
The motto “Graffiti is an art, not a crime!” is through and through appropriate.
Murales “tell a story”, have a life, sometimes short, sometimes long, they are important from the cultural, social and political standpoints.
Murales tell about the hopes, fears, tensions, wars in act and finished, drug problem, leave a memory of missing persons, more or less famous. They are a way of understanding reality, to understand the feelings and the disruptions that are in place; keep a track of all this I think is enormously important.
Over the years the lives of the murales is dramatically changed, too. While until a few years ago you could ran into murales in every neighborhood, right now everything is almost entirely concentrated at 5 Ponto, as if there was a need to “close” this art, to confine it to a few walls. It is a shame because these walls reflect the soul, the sufferings and hopes of an entire country.
Remember that murales have existed since prehistoric times, when the men drew on cave walls, to warn of dangers or to tell stories of everyday life. The need to leave tangible marks has always existed, it is innate in human beings. Even during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, people left signs on the walls, used as hidden messages to protect themselves from the repression and mass murders (September 11, 1973 to March 11, 1990).
And now, get going with me in my through 20-years journey that will continue, because the memory would never be lost.
I love you, New York City!