Vecchia casa ('old house') is a street art project made at Graniti Murales, an art residency in Graniti, a small town in the eastern part of Sicily.
Graniti is a small community with lots of abandoned and unused houses spread around the city. During the residency I was staying in one of such places: old-fashioned nightstands and clumsy cupboards in half-empty rooms, photos of the family who lived here, the newest dating back to 80-s... I was literally living in a 'haunted mansion' and witnessing the afterlife of these objects, the ones that once kept the warmth of human presence but are now silently getting rusty and shabby.
Impressed by the experience of living in such a place, I have created a set of wooden dolls inspired by the shapes of this retro-style furniture and household objects, and placed them onto the walls of an abandoned house in the center of the town, by the San Basilio church.
The doors of this abandoned house are all boarded up. It's been about 40-50 years since the owners left it, and the citizens were using one of them to place death notices on it. The town council was searching for a way to get rid of those, and allowed me to mount the dolls there.
My work though is probably a form of a 'death notice' of sorts as well: a way to commemorate and appreciate the life and warmth that was once present, and is still present in the old architecture, objects of interior and in the atmosphere of the town in general.
This project is an embodiment of nostalgia felt in Graniti, and an invitation to ask oneself, what is 'home'? And what is it like to leave home?
The characters that I have developed are also the 'citizens' of Graniti: each has a name and their own story:
Signor Cappuccio (nicknamed after the type of grape, Nerello Cappuccio) is a former owner of a winery. His winery now is just a spooky cellar, but Signor Cappuccio still has the ardour of young winemaker, even if it is only evident in his insolent jokes and dashing laughter at a local bar.
Signora Flora is a welcoming lady who works at a cafe. Her children have long since left the town, and have children of their own already, but Signora Flora stays in Graniti: it's her hometown and the place where she feels people need her.
Signora Domenica is a pious believer who spends her evenings reading the Bible. Even though her eyesight is not getting better with every year, she despises the inventions of contemporary technology and uses candlelight.
Signora 300 gradi is a hot-tempered lady. She is both the best pizza-maker and the worst brawler in town. She's tough to get along with, but the town couldn't be imagined without her.
Signor Scopa is a retired military man who spends the majority of his days playing scopa, sicilian card game, in a bar in the central square. He would mostly be hanging out outdoors, just because he doesn't like being home, a place that he couldn't manage on his own ever since his wife died.