Illuminate the darkness

“They walk their path with exemplary dignity. Permanently in the clutches of hardship, they never lost their ability to marvel.”

This is the fate and the story Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija. A story of the human nature in suffering, deprived of their inalienable right to an identity, but at the same time resistant to the insult of poverty, their daily difficulties in life and the pitfalls that come with them, all in their pursuit of homogeneity which carries the modern world.

Photographer with unusual sensibility, Federica Troisi, for the first time ever faced the reality of life in an enclave during her stay in Velika Hoča, during one of the projects that promote solidarity. She directly encounters the discrimination, fatigue, hopelessness, but also the power of will, desire, and commitment, in realizing a dream so large, against all odds. Their language is unknown to her, but she is deepening relationships: she closely watches – the body language, the faces, the gestures... the tears and smiles. In her stubbornness she returns, again and again, to Velika Hoča, a small village in the hills of Metohija, which about six hundred souls call their home.

She spends her days and nights, carrying her camera equipped with a small microphone and accompanied by a girl who translates the conversations. She visits homes, drinking cups and cups of coffee, and participates in peaceful life of those who have so much to wish for, but little or nothing of it to achieve. "Excuse me, do you have a moment, can I come in" – she takes portraits, light candles, smiles, cries, and sometimes, left without words, she simply stops in front of a home of people belonging to an injured nation, distrustful of the future above which the gray clouds are hovering, the clouds that foreshadow darkness.

Returning in the hills of Reggio Emilia, she climbs the Apennine Mountains, to visit a veteran barbarian who contently tests the benefits of living in exile, away from the vulgarity of the world. This encounter with Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, a musician, writer, man of the theater, was fruitful. Together they shower the pictures with new words, and add emotions by opening different horizons, unseen prospectives. Thus a reflection is created, irrelevant to time and space, that perfectly matches the poetics of portraits.

"Nothing is exceptional, apart from the existence." But this is a new existence. It’s strength comes from the roots of this community of the proud, who are jealously guarding their own identity, respectful of the other, devoted to the religion of hospitality.

Federica Troisi and Giovanni Lindo Ferretti offer - through a remarkable book and an evocative exhibit - a compendium of images, words and music that strongly depict an enclave of the third millennium, where Europe loses the purpose of its own existence, sinking into the abyss that leads to darkness. The only possible lodestar: whispered desires of women, men, youngsters, children - a faint light of hope which illuminates the darkness.

Based on the ninety one portraits from the book, the exhibition “I.L.T. Illumina le Tenebre” ("Illuminate the darkness") features twelve large-format photographs (150x150 cm) and an original soundtrack composed by Giovanni Lindo Ferretti.