23 Jun Leave your mark Perpetua Flies out to Norway
LEAVE YOUR MARK PERPETUA FLIES OUT TO NORWAY
Stamsund is a small fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago in northern Norway. Just before summertime, due to its geographical position, this area never gets dark and experiences an astronomical phenomenon called midnight sun.
Nature is powerful over there and it affects the mood.
Despite being a small and faraway village, Stamsund plays host to a very prestigious festival of theater and performing arts, Stamsund Teaterfestival.
I was invited to contribute a project addressing schools and an asylum reception center in the area.
Because of the area’s very low population density and long distances, the aim of the project is to promote meetings and interaction between people.
For this reason, the final step of the project is a collective exhibit, called LEAVE YOUR MARK, at a gallery in the heart of Stamsund.
Sometime before leaving, I told Susanna Martucci what my new future project would be about: working with children from countries involved in some form of conflict and that we hear of on a daily basis, children that had set out on exhausting, arduous, dangerous journeys and only speak their native language (Afghan, Arabic, Persian). And then, working again with European children, but from such a northern area that it’s almost at the Pole… Well, I was feeling enthusiastic and curious.
Susanna, with her typical visionary drive, launched a new challenge: ‘I want Perpetua to tag along with you – I want those children to have a Perpetua as a gift, and I want that Perpetua to be personalized with your project.’. LEAVE-YOUR-MARK Perpetua.
I must confess I didn’t understand immediately.
Then Susanna explained it to me: ‘You can enter a new market in many ways. Perpetua is not on the Scandinavian market yet and I want to enter it through the door of art. After all, you know what Perpy is like, (and I quote) it goes alone.’
I drew a specific layout for this version of Perpetua. The image I picked is a drawing made by Luca, a boy with disabilities that had taken part in the first edition of this project more than ten years back. That was my metaphorical way to say thank you to all the humanity I have met over the years and that has contributed to my art. Alisea staff did the rest: they made an effective edition where the mark printed on paper and graphite leaves the pictorial gesture untouched.
A small mark is on the pencil and when you remove it from the packaging you think it bears a trace, a mark indeed.
Well, we’re ready to get started.
Here’s a photo-reportage of a week of 24-hour sunlight. All around.
The clear sea mirrors the night sky, and zero-carbon timber houses are warm and cozy. Perpetua is part of this awesome global environmental movement. Welcome to Stamsund!
Handing out Perpetua pencils to children at the asylum reception center.: The children didn’t believe it was a gift for them. I said it over and over, considering translations: from English into Norwegian, into Afghan… Well, it almost was an epic moment!
Here they’re holding Perpetua in their hands. Their faces are not revealed for privacy reasons. But you can well imagine their joy…
The girls are translating the title of the exhibition LEAVE YOUR MARK into their native language: Afghan, Arabic, Persian.Exciting, mysterious linguistic details liven up the discussion. che le appassionano molto. They’re proudly showing their Perpetua and then launch themselves into multi-ethnic dancing.
Norwegian children of the Montessori school in Stamsund showing the die they have made and their Perpetua – a display of Nordic laughter.
LEAVE YOUR MARK consists of three marks: one vertical, one horizontal, and one curved.
The gallery walls display all the steps of the project, from the first shaky pencil mark to the solid acrylic mold.
The children have made a die with these marks.
And then stamped them freely. This is how the marks by the children and the mark on Perpetua cardboard packaging perfectly combine. Italian style plays its part.
Setting up the exhibit – each wall is for a different group of kids.
This wall displays also Perpetua.
And this is the last surprise: a workshop on MAIL ART for all visitors. Every one of the hundreds of drawings made may be used to create a letter or a postcard to send to near and far lands.
The midnight sun shines from behind the mountains. Perpetua, placed on a cliff, leaves its mark while respecting our precious planet.
Farewell, Stamsund Teaterfestival. Thank you for your warm welcome and the friendship we have struck up. Tusen Takk!
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