From Italy to America: Photographs of Anthony Riccio

Piece from From Italy to America: Photographs of Anthony Riccio

From Italy to America: Photographs of Anthony Riccio

The Bellarmine Museum

February 1, 2012 - March 30, 2012

For Anthony Riccio (b. 1952), a picture truly is worth a thousand words. For the past four decades, the New Haven, Connecticut, native has documented, in word and image, the experiences of Italians and Italian-Americans not only in Southern Italy - from Campania to Sicily - but also in two culturally rich immigrant communities in America, Boston's North End and New Haven's "Little Italy."

"From Italy to America - Photographs of Anthony Riccio" features twenty-six black and white photographs by Mr. Riccio in addition to audio clips excerpted from his lengthy interviews with his subjects as they reminisced about the changes they experienced and witnessed in their lives.

Through the often poignant, always engaging photographs and interviews of his subjects, Mr. Riccio delves deeply into the lives of those whom he documents. In Boston's North End, for example, he immortalizes the zampognari (singers with pastoral wind instruments) as they perform during the Christmas season. His New Haven images show people at work and play and also capture individuals engaged in moments of quiet reflection who share memories that define them both as individuals and as part of the larger Italian-American community. U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes New Haven, CT, observes: "Anthony Riccio produces such a rich and emotional narrative of the Italian American Experience - both through his interviews and photographs that are timeless. I am sure this work will advance his lifetime project and give us insights that will not be lost."

Mr. Riccio's images of rural Southern Italy - an area that saw many of its inhabitants leave in search of the American dream - equally transport the viewer to another world, where captivating vistas and lively images of children are counterbalanced by the hardscrabble realities of an agrarian existence. His evocative view of an olive grove, with the cloud-shrouded hills of Faggiano looming in the distance, for example, is a bucolic counterpoint to his image of Naples, the abject buildings of which suggest a clear lack of financial prosperity. Italian American artist, educator and author writer B. Amore notes: "These are rare photographs of a people at one with village life on the point of change. The intimacy and directness of gaze could only be captured by a photographer like Anthony Riccio, who works with great respect for his subject matter and an authentic interest in his own heritage."

"From Italy to America - Photographs of Anthony Riccio" has been made possible through the generous support of Nestlé Waters North America, and its S. Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, which is sourced in the Italian Alps, and the National Endowment for the Humanities: because democracy demands wisdom.

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