Castellanza (Italy). On 15 September 2021, was the inauguration in Castellanza, in the Province of Varese, the exhibit ‘Traveling’ of the Past Pupils of the 1st Year High School of Mary Help of Christians Institute of Castellanza, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Lombard Province Holy Family (ILO).
Set up in Villa Jucker, headquarters of LIUC – Cattaneo University, which hosts various art and culture initiatives in the city, and sponsored by the Municipality of Castellanza, the exhibit was created by the students of the 3rd A and 3rd B classes at the conclusion of the interdisciplinary Project carried out in the school year 2020-2021 on the theme of Travel. On the occasion of the inauguration, the Past Pupils animated the evening with artistic performances of dance, song, music, and movement inspired by the journey, and then they guided visits to the exhibit.
The exhibit was presented as “a real JOURNEY to discover oneself and the surrounding world, present and past. Ingredients for the realization of this exhibit were the desire to get to know each other and to discover the world in its most contradictory aspects and in its most touching stories of the past.”
In a special school year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the pupils gave voice to emotions and feelings through art, photography, reflection, and creativity, accomplishing three installations that narrate personal and peoples’ travel stories, between different nations, between past and future.
ON THE OTHER SIDE is the photographic exhibit created by the former 3 ^ A, in which the young people made digital photographs inspired by the photos of Ugur Gallen, a Turkish artist who compares diametrically opposed realities such as wealth and poverty, war and peace, ecology and energy misuse. Following the analysis of the photographer’s works, each student chose a photo that was cut in two, keeping an original part and completing the work using the digital photography technique. The picture that emerges leads the viewer to reflect on the injustices and differences present between the different geographical areas. The students made a JOURNEY among the different countries of the world with their relative problems, accompanied by the question: “What if I too were born in that part of the world?”.
TRAVEL IDENTITY is the exhibit made by the former 3 ^ B to recreate the identity of peoples and persons who have made their lives a journey. The different stories were represented with modern suitcases revisited and loaded with new meanings. Each suitcase tells a story and reflects a theme addressed during the year, such as the Shoah, the Mexican wall or orientation towards one’s future. Approaching each suitcase, one can grasp the story from the objects it contains: the suffering of the Jews during the Shoah or the cry of those forced to migrate, reluctantly leaving their homes and homeland. Some suitcases recount and spread culture, such as those inspired by films or artistic trends.
TRAVEL OUTSIDE AND INSIDE ME is the installation created by both classes working on their own black and white photographic portrait, divided in half. One part keeps the original photograph of the student, while the other part is made with different techniques, completing the ‘I’ according to personal style and meanings. The 250 works on display created a ‘crowd’ of young people with real and colorful faces that gave a new meaning to the time of the pandemic, in which faces are always covered by a mask. In this work, on the other hand, the young people ‘put their face in it’, accomplishing a deep and introspective JOURNEY.
The project and the exhibit ‘Traveling’ helped the young people to re-read their educational and growth path to open up to the future, as Silvia, Tommaso, and Rebecca expressed in the caption of the installation “The side of the flower”:
“We represented the orientation path, that is, the search for the path of our future and towards the choice of high school. In this journey, it was important for us to rediscover our “side in bloom”, the part of us that is growing and blossoming. This is why we decided to create blooming flowers and a sky in the background with some texts, which were useful for us when we were looking for our way.”
The exhibit was visited by the schools of Castellanza and open to the public until 19 September 2021.