Habitat, Testaccio Oil on linen board 13 7/8 x 19 7/8 inches
ON VIEW THROUG 12/21 Continuing down the same street shown in my previous post Cassonetti Colorati, Testaccio, is this improvised ‘villa', complete with boarder fence and ‘landscaping’. I never saw the actual tenants of the caravan inside, but others who lived along the Tiber embankment seemed to have an understanding with the residents. There was a water hose for all to use, an electrical outlet for charging up smart phones etc, and someone who came regularly to leave food for a dog I never saw but heard (it was possibly kept in the closed tunnel at right-but I dare not approach it.) There are many such settlements all over the edges of Rome. Unemployment rates in Italy have been steadily growing since 2010. While homelessness numbers increased by 45% in Europe-the numbers in Italy TRIPLED during the economical crisis, meaning 48,000 people in Italy are homeless — 3,276 IN ROME ALONE! earning the city the 16th place on the list of 25 cities with the highest number of homeless. Today, Italy’s far right wing government (Lega Nord) is amping up aggressive action against these homesteads.
Echos of a Fascist Past: One month ago (November 14) hundreds of migrants and Roma have been left homeless following two days of evictions in Italy, as the authorities were “...restoring order to the country.” Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and member of the far right party Lega Nord, Matteo Salvini, has been using language reminiscent of Il Duce when he tweeted "a municipal building illegally occupied by 150 Roma was liberated” Where Benito Mussolini brandished “His Majesty, The Pick” Matteo Salvini, using modern means, said "I commit to cleaning up and come back with a bulldozer.” #terzaroma#viewsofrome#modernrome#thethirdrome#thethirdromepaintings#onsitepainting#pamelatalese#rome#robertsimonfineart#fascistarchitecture#urbanpleinair#urbanlandscape#architetturafascista#italianarchitecture#barochetto#testaccio#homelessness#tentcities#LegaNord#NewFascism#economichardship
Cassonetti Colorati, Testaccio Oil on line over panel, 11” x 16”
ON VIEW through 12/21
Excerpt from my Rome Day by Day journal:
...a few hours of sketching…um...five garbage containers. They are the WHOLE story- parked stoutly before a heavily graffitied wall. The composition is ALL graffiti, and not even particularly good graffiti, but what strikes me is the camouflage effect it has—all a blur of sprayed squiggles punctuated tropical greenery- cactus, enormous aloe plants and the like. I am standing a little farther down the road from where I met the Zinghari Kidz last year. No sign of them this time. There are people living in caravans all over Rome and a few of them shuffled back and forth as I drew which- according to my sketch book, I did from 1:30 to 5:45. It was definitely time for a break. On the other side of the wall is a large open piazza which once kept cattle before they met their maker in the abattoir- which is now, appropriately enough, a contemporary art museum (MACRO). Where cattle once loitered, children now frolic, and on Sundays there is a farmers market and local crafts (oil, soap, peace bracelets etc.,) for sale…. #terzaroma#viewsofrome#modernrome#thethirdrome#thethirdromepaintings#onsitepainting#pamelatalese#rome#robertsimonfineart#fascistarchitecture#urbanpleinair#urbanlandscape#architetturafascista#italianarchitecture#barochetto#testaccio#zingarikids#grafitti#AmaRoma#laraccoltadifferenziata
I set up by a closed magazine kiosk where I’d have shade guaranteed for an hour or two. As I worked on this oil sketch, a woman stopped to chat and asked me if I knew the history of San Lorenzo, the neighborhood to my back. She explained that San Lorenzo was a left-oriented, working-class ‘quartiere' that resisted the growing fascist movement. In 1921, she continued, the year before the March on Rome, the Fascist Party congress came to the city, and some 30,000 Blackshirts roamed the working-class sections of the city—especially in San Lorenzo— bashing heads in what proved a deadly effort to keep ‘dissidents’ in line. The emotion with which this woman spoke was so vivid, and it was only ten minutes after she walked away that I realize she my around my age –so wouldn't have experienced this thuggery first hand.
In many of my onsite encounters, the conflicts of history make themselves felt while I am simply working on the visual composition. The fact that this event of almost a century ago yet remained vivid for this woman, seemed connected to the growing dread many of us we are all feeling now. This group of paintings on view at Robert Simon Fine Art are as political and socially relevant as those I did at the erstwhile Navy Yard. To me, the story of Modern Rome is a tragedy-and also a warning.