Dear mom and dear dad.
I am writing to you from my bedroom here, in São Paulo. How many nights I keep dreaming of coming back home. Every morning I wake up to find out if you are all well. I know you are passing through a tough period in Italy, especially after our grandfather Antonio’s death . As soon as I found it out, I felt a blow to the heart. We never had an easy relationship: it was impossible not to hate him, still it was impossible not to admire him. I have cried, surrounded by memories; then I have thought of you, dad, with a great concern. Because of the fear that you too could get sick, my brothers and I managed to persuade you not to go to his bedside, but to stay home during the day he was buried. It is not easy to take care of someone if you live so far way. Moreover it is heartbreaking not to be able to celebrate in a proper way the mourning for the departure of a beloved person.
I was born and raised in Milan, a places where hundreds of people continue to die every day. Here in Brazil we say that there is a correspondence between the Italian and Brazilian cities: São Paulo - Milan, Rio de Janeiro - Rome, Salvador de Bahia - Naples.
São Paulo, the economic and commercial capital city of this continental state, is not surprisingly the area most affected by the pandemic.
The numbers are not yet particularly high because very few people have tested, but in Brazil the scenario could soon become like the Italian situation, even worse, due to the scarcity of the healthcare system. For about a month I have been in self-isolation, leaving my house as less as possible and avoiding any kind of social contacts. I have bought a well-functioning mask, a good amount of alcohol gel and surgical gloves, but I haven't gone out to photograph yet. I do it for the sense of respect I feel for you, dear family. What right do I have to go out, if we denied to our dad the chance to be close to his father the last days of his life? Right now, I think it's more important to step back and put aside my habits and selfishness. I am locked at home, but I do not feel a lack of stimuli: internet, books, the TV on with the broadcasting daily news and in the living room a large window overlooking the buildings full of people in quarantine.
During these days of isolation, I immersed myself in my archive, trying to collect some images, which well represent both my mood and the feeling of a world affected by the pandemic. I imagine a desolate São Paulo whom protects itself as much as it can. Here as everywhere else in the world, the system does not want to stop: it forces many people to work. For many of them, a house is not a safe place: so many Brazilians do not even have a house where they can find a shelter. Inevitably, every day and night, my thoughts return to Milan, my city plagued by this pandemic.
I think of the grandfather who has passed away: how much of him still lives in us? I think of my grandmother and the time that still remains with her. I look forward to the day when we can embrace each other on the street as a liberating act.
I hope that we can meet again soon.