SACI’s “Theater, Body and Diversity” students present at Fili e Colori

Mural painting by SACI student, John Gringich, at Fili e Colori, Florence

Theater, Body and Diversity

John Gingrich
Juliette Myers
Maria Mercedes Parellada
Curated by Dejan Atanackovic

On April 15, 2016, three SACI students in a special directed independent study course, Theater, Body and Diversity, presented their projects that were made in collaboration with participants at the art and therapy center, Fili e Colori, in Florence.

As part of the workshop Theater, Body and Diversity, held during the Spring semester 2016 at SACI, the works developed at the Fili e Colori, Art and Therapy Center, involved a creative exchange and dialogue between three SACI students and the users of the center – artists, poets and actors – who, along with the students and the staff, participated in three separate activities.

A monumental public work, a permanent mural composition of drawings and paintings collected over the years at the therapy center, has been created by John Gingrich on an external wall of the facility. Maria Mercedes Parellada lead a workshop which involved the use of recycled materials, with the task to develop, together with the Fili e Colori artists, a series of “self-portraits.” Juliette Myers worked on a theatrical performance, a narrative piece based on gestural action and voice recordings, involving six participants. Theater, Body and Diversity workshop at SACI has been lead by the SACI professor Dejan Atanackovic, since September 2015, in close collaboration with the Fili e Colori staff and with the Isole Comprese Teatro.

John Gingrich – “The mural I just finished on an exterior wall of the art and therapy center Fili e Colori is the biggest painting I have created to date. For this project, I worked with the participants of the program, incorporating their artworks into my design. I grew to have an intense appreciation of the participants’ artwork, finding it very rewarding to depict their images on a large scale. But perhaps most exciting of all was seeing the joy and pride on their faces when they realized that the mural expressed their own creative community.”

Juliette Myers – “This performance is a collaboration of dialogues by the artists working at Fili e Colori, portraying their personal stories of migration involving experiences of struggle and of triumph. Coming to Italy for me was my farthest migration I have made from home in the U.S., and with experiences of excitement, shock, adjustment, and growth, I also experienced loneliness, confusion, and frustration. In our current era, migration is prevalent all around the world from refugees escaping wars, to people leaving their home countries to seek a better life. I wanted to learn about the performance participants’ personal stories of migration throughout their lives, and I did so by asking them tell to their stories and express their emotions through movement. We all carry emotional baggage throughout our lives that shape who we are; we are constantly packing and unpacking, picking up new things along the way and leaving some things behind. As we travel and migrate we are sometimes lonely and confused in a new place, but hopefully we find comfort and support with those we encounter along the way.”

Maria Mercedes Parellada – “This project began from the common phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and developed into a more general concept of rethinking what we consume and the waste produced by it. The participants were asked to collect waste material from their everyday use, especially those related to food consumption. The objective was to create a self-portrait out of the recycled materials; a way of exteriorizing what has been used as fuel for the body. Among the materials brought, there were plastic bottles, newspaper, empty boxes of medication, cigarette packages, and old objects such as a burnt coffeemaker. It was very interesting to see how each participant built up his/her self-portrait. Some made it very fast, in one session, they had already thought about how it was going to be and had enough time to put it all together. Other took more time, more thinking and kept re-building the object. The final session consisted of a collaborative sculpture also with recycled materials. I created a structure of a human figure made out of chicken wire and with old rags and fabric we managed to build a body and add special details, which gave more character to the piece.”

For more images of the event, see the photo album.

Thanks to the participants: Guido, Vincenza, Ilde, Giancarlo, Antonello, and Andrea, and grazie to Tiziana, Paolo, Sandra, Kino and all the staff and supporters of Fili e Colori.

Fili e Colori
Art and Therapy Center
Via Enrico il Navigatore 10, Florence – ITALY

SACI logo

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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