Dealing with my own history and the cultural and geographic legacy of Tripoli Libya, and Rome Italy, this work stems from my family’s story.
Oreste, my father, was born in Tripoli in 1939. His maternal side of the family had settled there from Sicily during the Italian fascist colonization, while his father’s family had arrived in Libya from Malta in the ‘700, during the Ottoman Empire.
In 1969 right after Muammar al-Gaddafi’s coup, all the Europeans living there had to flee the country and were banned from returning to it.
These images printed on felt are details of photos from family archives taken in Libya in the early ’60s: an oasis, fascist buildings, Tripoli’s harbor, the desert, etc. The use of felt, with its soft shaggy texture and speckles of green from grass trapped in the wool, gives back the idea of a place wrapped up in the blurry nature of memories. The images are seen as through a sand’s tempest and the texture of the felt adds to them the reminiscence of nostalgia for the golden age of an unrivaled Arcadia.
COUSCOUS is an 8 mm film transferred into digital. On the right side of a split screen appears an assembly of family footage shot in Tripoli in the early ‘60s, over which my father’s voice explains his couscous recipe in Italian. While he talks about the recipe, an English text appears on the left side of the screen. This text is not the translation into English of my father’s recipe, but rather a sort of emotional decoding of it. Using an imaginary dictionary, I translate his culinary love into a different conversation.The Italian voice over serves as a sort of musical score in order to convey passion. It might as well be in Arabic or any other language
Marina Sagona (b.1967) is an Italian and American multimedia conceptual artist.
Her upcoming exhibition Stabat Mater at Chiquita Room Gallery will take place within the frame of the Loop Festival in Barcelona in November 2023.
Sagona has diverse experiences in the arts. Early in her career, she studied Art History at the University La Sapienza in Rome and was the postmodern artist Mario Schifano’s studio assistant. After arriving in New York in 1995, she illustrated for The New Yorker and the New York Times.
Her curatorial practice includes a collaboration with Alanna Heiss on the exhibition “Senso Unico” at MoMA PS1 in 2008 and the exhibition Dante Ferretti: Design and Construction for the Cinema at MoMA in 2014.
Sagona is also the recipient of the 2019 Domus Artist Residency in Galatina, Italy, and the 2021 Chiquita Room Gallery Residency in Barcelona, Spain.
In 2022 she was nominated for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award.
In 2023 her film Stabat Mater won the Cadence Video Poetry Festival award, the Best Script/Concept Award at Ribalta Experimental Film Festival and Best Experimental Film Award at Sipontum Arthouse International Film festival.
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