By Giorgia Ferro
In a world characterized by growing discrimination and protectionist anti-immigration policies, the exhibition Steve McCurry “Una testa, un volto. Pari nelle differenze” showcasing at Palazzo d’Accursio until the 6th of January 2019, is a celebration of cultural differences.
The exhibition was set up for the first Italian Cooperation Biennale, promoted by the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives, the coordination of the Confcooperative, Legacoop and Agci establishments, in collaboration with the Bologna Museum Institute.
Four times winner of the World Press Photo award and author of one of the most iconic images of the XX century, the “Afghan Girl”, McCurry’s faces allow us to recognize ourselves beyond borders and barriers. Hence the title of the exhibition which, paraphrasing one of the pivotal values of cooperating, ie the parity of each in making decisions, proposes it again in the universal terms of fairness: “a head, a vow” becomes “A head, a face”, the thought and the traits that make every person unrepeatable.
Showcasing over 40 large portraits, some of which are unpublished, this series of photographs on display, give resonance to each individual highlighting cultural diversity and customs, whilst giving us a glimpse into the intricacies that exist in today’s world. The portraits are very striking for the contrast of bright colours, intricate costumes and headgear. McCurry catches his subjects in all of their integrity, as they gaze back at us poignantly. Each photo inspires curiosity in its viewer as one yearns to know more about the person portrayed and the interesting stories they would have to share.
Exploring India, Tibet, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Cuba, McCurry immerses himself in the local culture, often visiting territories devastated by conflict. His work shows an extraordinary ability to capture the soul and tell the stories of the subjects encountered, through a conscious and careful use of the photograph, which becomes both a means of narration as well as a piece of art.
Throughout the frescoed rooms of Palazzo d’Accursio, you may appreciate the mounted photos together with a selection of videos of international students and immigrants living in Bologna recounting their experiences and views on the importance of multiculturalism.
At the end of the exhibition, one is left with a sense of the richness that exists throughout these countries, together with an urge to head off and explore the world.
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