Let me tell you
Summer 2015. The day of my 22nd birthday. Sicily awaited.
Motivations to further understand the huge phenomenon of the migration crisis urged me to explore. Not to join the entourage of media already surrounding the issue, rather to personally face migrants, understand who they are or who they were, what they feel and see. So, in the months that followed until spring 2016, I often travelled between Italy, the UK, France and Germany.
I felt closeness to my subjects, having myself experienced a different kind of migration, and I wanted to somehow convey this into my photos. It is very challenging, wanting to share with a public that is becoming increasingly numb, and at a time when people on the move are being perceived with the same detouched worry that the rise of spread can cause.
Following my nature and vision, I brought everything to a human level, listening to their stories and half-expressed thoughts. They reflect people's lives, stuck half way between traumas, fears and dreams, totally left in the hands of unfamiliar bureaucracy and institutions. Constant uncertainty can make them extremely vulnerable, sometimes raging. But it can also load them of an incredible inner strength: the will to self-determine their fate, to follow the light at the end of the tunnel, fuels the fire burning inside them.
I make these observations upon many varied encounters happened in Sprar projects, reception centres and temporary accommodations, as well as in the overcrowded refugee camp of Calais.
This project is about migrants' feelings, tension, inner conflict, the glimmer of identity that can be grasped. All elements that found their dimension mostly in portraiture, along with texts and drawings whose authors are the subjects themselves. Their active participation has always been key to me, as it ideally stand as a reclamation of authorship over their own image.
The complexity of the issue is rooted in the complexity of levels every individual is made of, and which often the abstraction of numbers denies.
The journey, physical or ideal, for the pursuit of happiness is a universal right and, first of all, a universal desire. This common quest for a safe harbour, a personal Ithaca, is the fil rouge that connects every person on the move: it opens the discussion on the sense of us. Us as people and not as interest rates.