EREDITA’ / ONGOING PROJECTS
OBAMA, THE QUEEN
Papi, aka Obama, was born in Rome on August 1, 1988. After the delivery, his natural mother, originally from Senegal, had to return to her country. Papi stayed in Italy and grew up in Rome, thanks to the care of an Italian family, who encouraged him to have a connection with his roots and learn his language and religion of origin. They supported Obama throughout the years of his growth and education, embracing his attitudes, including the passion for the stage as a Drag Queen. After finishing his studies at the Accademia del Lusso (Luxury Academy) to become a Visual Merchandiser, he discovered makeup and high-heels while doing cabaret abroad as a summer entertainer. Upon his return to Italy, he became Visual for Max Mara while at the same time he started working as a Drag Queen in clubs and parties, in particular for Muccassassina, one of the most famous LGBT event in Italy, where he still performs today. He chose “Obama” as his stage name in honor of the former president of the United States and, in this regard, he likes to joke: “I worked at Mucca more than Obama at the White House”. This photographic project tells the life of a Drag Queen, the man behind sequins and paillettes. From his shopping time to a usual day’s work beyond the stage. The protagonist of this photo report deals with his story and daily life with the strength and elegance of a “king”, also when, despite his exhaustion, with pride and with a smile he accompanies his “queen” through the long Roman nights.
In 2018 the reportage was published on the National Geographic Italia and exhibited in Paris, Amsterdam and Grenoble.
Il Risveglio is a photographic project documenting all the rallies and events carried out by the Italian LGBT movement in 2016, during the proceedings of Cirinnà’s bill: from the event Wake Up Italia of 23rd January to that of March 5th at Piazza del Popolo, and including all the sit-ins at the Senate and Montecitorio. It ends with a few shots of Rome’s Pride Parade. For the record, this reportage also documents the counter event Family Day. The idea for the project stems out of the emotion I felt on January 23, 2016, when several hundred thousand people of all ages and sexual orientation gathered in Piazza del Pantheon to call for equal rights. In addition to documenting these months of struggles, the shots also want to confer an identity image of the LGBT community, less stereotypical than the one normally portrayed by the media. At the same time, this project is a memento and an encouragement for the struggles to come, keeping the civil rights issue alive for the future as well.
The main image of Il Risveglio was exhibited in Arles International Photo Festival in 2017.
The buddhist principle, that life and its environment are essentially non-dual (in Japanese esho-funi), affirms that they are two fondamental aspects of a single reality, they are inseparable.
That is the idea that moves and connects the images of this exhibition: starting from a small village of Calabria to Paris, London, Kusadasi, Madrid, Dahab, Boston, Hiroshima, Milan and Rome.
Different realities reported through a visual symbiosis between human being and the surrounding environment
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