A project by Gianni Cipriano

"Siciliae is an ongoing long-term project I started in 2010 about the place where I was born. I always find it extremely difficult to convey with words what this project is about: it’s not a story and the approach I have to this evolving body of work constantly changes. It’s about Sicily and Sicilians, about an island I define as crystalized in its own dimension, with its own space, time and rules. It’s about an unbearable silence in the midst of the noise, it’s about what you can’t see and exists, about an abandoned island whose history is tangled with the rest of the country. It’s about an indefinable land and its endless contradictions.

A place that fulfills me and tears me apart.

Though I run away from it, the visceral attachment that ties me to this island will always bring me back".


What do you know of this land, this people, this life? What do you, who gazes from the outside, know of this island in the centre of the world, this gateway between continents? This land is damned, within and without, and so is its people. When the eyes see too much beauty, man becomes wicked and tarnishes everything: the landscape, the houses, the lives. However, beauty emanates from the bombed houses; the blocks of flats and reinforced concrete do not stand a chance when compared to the decadent beauty, the fish blood in the old streets, the boy from Kalsa who points a toy gun at you. The ugliness does nothing to the street hawker, to his calls, to the shrieking women, to the sea breeze. The people are deep, the people are superficial, the people are in the old houses, in the grey blocks of apartments belonging to the goody-goody middle class. Go on the streets and speak to a people who has withstood centuries, so ravished and ransacked. In an island that has been dominated for centuries, the whore of the Mediterranean, thousands of races and creeds, other states sending armies of sons to die to conquer this Paradise. And then, tired of the foreign oppressors, we joined the peninsula, and rose to the title of slaughterers of our own people. Mafia. This land, so beautiful and neglected, remains within you. It has borne, deep into your bones, penetrating you. It remains within you. No one can ever take this land away from you, not with bites, nor knives, not even with words.

Aridaterra. Francesco Cipriano.

©2012 Gianni Cipriano

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