Family relationships are the first ones we are confronted with and the domestic dimension is our starting point for that adventure called life. The meaning of our existence is therefore inherent in those relationships and places.
In the Roman world, the lares were divinities who assured protection and luck for the families to whom they belonged. They were given an honoured place at the heart of the house, in a special shrine, the lararium. This practice bears more than a passing relationship with the neighbourhood and familial kiosks, the votive shrines in the old quarters of Naples.
The aim of this work it is not only to examine the fascinating link between these traditions, but to actually bring them together, and in essence demolish the centuries in between. History and culture are alternative, positive values that can heal the wounds created by the camorra or by difficult lives.
The lares of the Museum collection I chose, languishing in the Museum storerooms, and as wounded or forgotten as the people with whom I paired them, become three-dimensional photographic objects temporarely placed in shirines of the Quartieri Spagnoli, Rione Sanità, Forcella and Mercato.
I also created contemporary lararia, so that the two traditions could be experienced side by side, as well as the memories of the people commemorated in the shrines.
In a further act of connectivity, the contemporary lares, which sat briefly in the shrines of Old Naples, have been given to the guardians of the kiosks. Hopefully, they will remain permanently in the selected shrines and bring their own bona fortuna directly from ancient Rome. This final performative action has been recorded by a video.
Now at ICI Italian Cultural Institute, London
39 Belgrave Square
from 21st March to 30th April 2019
Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm
Booklet by Giannini Editore, Naples, 32 pp, 15 ills, map, 15 x 21 cm, 7 € - ISBN-13: 978-88-7431-840-7