I've always had a strong appeal for my father’s stories about his hometown, Palermo: they tell about a time and space that is far away, almost relegated to cinematography and literature.
As often happens, the older he gets, the more nostalgic and rich the stories become.
I am aware that I listen to him and imagine scenes that I’ve seen in movies or read about in books. Growing up in the north of Italy I still find the atmosphere he talks about extremely exotic as I’ve never properly been in contact with it.
I lull in stereotypical visions of post war Sicily and sometimes catch myself too deep in this idealisation; like a tourist of memories, an amateur.
One of the key aims of my work with images is to investigate what unites people to familiar places, objects and characters. Having moved to the UK in my early twenties, I’ve seen myself building my own adult identity in a different environment from the one I grew up in, and facing the strange and unsettling split between the personality I was building and the one I had left behind.
My father left Palermo in his mid twenties too, moving to Padova at the end of the Sixties and probably facing a stronger cultural shock than the one I had moving across Europe some years ago. Nonetheless, this immigrant nature unites us deeply, more than I thought it would.
Through documentary photography and archival material, having walked the streets and itineraries my father set down for me through his stories, my aim working on this series was not merely to look back at a picturesque past but to experience through my eyes the thousand layers of Sicily, Palermo and my family, with my own Virgil - my Aunt’s rich photo archive - guiding me.