Made of Sun by Michele Vittori


I took these photos between 2016 and 2017 during two trips to Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean.

I tried to get away from the clichés of vacation destinations and uncontaminated natural places to look for the anthropical aspects of the landscape and offer a representation of the contemporary Sicilian landscape.

 

A Sicilian Paradox by Francesco Faraci

Sicily…an island where families sit in circles on their doorsteps, intently relaying stories of their dreams and misfortunes. An island where even the sandstone remains mute and dull, refusing to give up the deepest of her secrets.

She is an island full of shadows, knowing no peace….with light so intensely blinding it simultaneously pulls you in and pushes you away like an absurd paradox; life and death together.

Here is Sicily, where children catch fish with their hands and women walk about in mourning dresses, where dusty paper Madonnas and saints peer out from the windows, symbolizing memories of a time gone by.

On the way to San Vito lo Capo, near Trapani, is a chapel dedicated to Saint Crescenzia. Legend tells of landslides that occurred as punishments for conversions that never happened. But just as a landslide was about to overwhelm the chapel, it halted, thus removing “Fear”. Even today, faithful followers honor the tradition of throwing stones into the chapel to exorcise “U Scantu”, the Fear!

Sicily…with a district named “Landslide” and valleys named “Hanged Man”, “Devil’s Peak”, and even “Demon” Valley; where in Palermo you can stroll down “Death Lane”.

Michele’s pictures move in this moonlight panorama as his steps lighten and become faster.

They move in the tracks of cattle, in old abandoned factories, in places once swarming with life, today small silent worlds.

Anchoring the so-called modern progressive cities is senseless violence. Real growth never came to Sicily, and without growth there is no progress. And so, this complex island continues to live in exile compared to the rest of the county. For this, everyone shares in the guilt.

The perception is one of exile, with the sea an insurmountable barrier, instead of the guardian of future promise. In this “era of walls”, the sea is the supreme king. The diaspora of migrants come from the sea, and over the sea people leave their homes to look for a better life.

Sicily….a land of paradoxes, where some arrive searching for luck and others run away because of bad luck.

Where are the human beings in Michele’s pictures?

You perceive their smell, feel their presence, perhaps behind the windows of lowly houses on any street in any country, perhaps with an inane program blaring from the TV, or resting among the cool damp walls at midday. Old crocks and “Vespas” on the edge of a road, roulottes in the desert…

Michele seems to arrive a moment later, when everything has already happened.

This makes his images magnetic, what has not been said.

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