Le Bois des souvenirs: Marcinelle au-delà de la tragédie.
The Wood of memories: Marcinelle beyond the tragedy.
The project is a tribute to the Italian miners' families who lived in Marcinelle (Belgium) during the ten years between 1946 and 1956. That period was marked by the bilateral agreements between the Belgian and Italian governments that prompted many families to leave their homeland to work in the Belgian coal mines. That emigration process came to an end with the disaster in the Bois du Cazier coal mine on 8 August 1956.
The images are inspired by the stories and memories of the women of Cesare Di Berardino's family. Cesare Di Berardino was an Italian miner from Manoppello in Abruzzo, who emigrated to Marcinelle in 1946. He was a victim of the mining tragedy.
Max Pelagatti has worked for two years with Cesare Di Berardino's granddaughters to collect useful material for creating the project.
Each image created for the project reflects the process that memories undergo over time. Indeed, memories are rarely brought to mind intentionally; most of the time they are triggered by an everyday reminder (such as a smell, a flavour, an object belonging to childhood or youth...) in a random and unstructured way.
He has tried to represent the laborious and fragmented process of recollection through a series of images in order to present a set of historic and social memories of immense value. He has interpreted and transformed the stories and memories by overlapping the past and present and used a range of digital techniques to produce a series of surreal images that are nevertheless linked to events, places and objects from life in Belgium at that time.
Enrica Buccione (curator)