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Articles by: Kayla Pantano

  • Works by Mimmo Roselli
    Art & Culture

    Mimmo Roselli on Display at Casa Italiana (NYU)

    On September 20, at the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, Mimmo Roselli, an Italian artist, presented an exhibition entitled “NYC,” featuring watercolors, a sculpture-installation, and oil paintings. The event also included a presentation of two short films and an interview with Roselli, conducted by Stefano Albertini, Director of Casa Italiana.

    Born in Rome and raised in Florence, Roselli was originally a physician before pursuing a fulltime career as an international artist. The theme of this exhibit revolves around the concept of space and borders. With the repetition of lines throughout his pieces, he emphasizes the importance of crossing boundaries and trespassing into new terrains.

    To Roselli, lines are an allegory for a personal passage in life. They always leave a mark, but they also represent being present in your daily thoughts and actions. “Sometimes we look to the future too much, and we escape our responsibilities because we are not in the present,” he explains.

    His series of 130 watercolors on 8.6” x 5.9” pieces of paper called, “NYC, the Gentle Giant,” were delicately pinned to the wall in loosely organized columns and rows. Each work contains engrained lines that embody the painted organic shape in varying shades of its monochromatic hue, including purple, pink, green, and orange.

    With the site-specific sculpture installation, “From Here to Here,” Roselli uses Sarah’s Garden as his canvas and “cuts the space” with ropes. It illustrates the idea that lines go in different directions, yet always return to the same place—the first time he conveys this idea.

    He also portrays this in his five oil on canvases, which all similarly depict curved black lines engraved on the surface, resembling the physical wires in the garden.

    In fact, in the short film, “Mimmo Roselli at 55 Venice Bienalle 2013,” Ewald Stastny, the museum’s Artistic Director, describes that his work was selected because his ideology correlates to the history of Venice. The wires and the lines are a metaphor for “coming and going,” symbolic of the historic Venetian port city. With this display, his canvases are inside and his wires are outside to demonstrate that the world is limitless and should be explored.

    The documentary, “Gironi di Santa Rosa,” shows a different side of Roselli’s work. During his time as a physician in the ‘80s, a Franciscan Monk approached Roselli to provide medical care to members of a village in southeast Bolivia. He originally served three months annually as a physician and researcher, but was inspired not only to better educate the people, but to also have them express their culture through art.

    In 2007, Roselli built a middle school and high school for artists and young local students to achieve just that. The documentary explains the month-long Santa Rosa festival, which showcases the student’s work to the town, including theater pieces, sculptures, and portraits.

    In the interview that followed, Roselli reveals that the school is flourishing with both permanent and visiting staff. He goes on to explain that the poverty present in Bolivia is apparent in his work, which he describes as “mere lines on a canvas.” He believes that art needs to be approached in this pure way because you can do less with more, and the less you use the more powerful a message can be. This is why he encourages his students to use simple materials sourced locally, once again highlighting the significance of space.

  • © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk
    Facts & Stories

    Pope Francis Appeals for World Peace in Assisi

    Pope Francis returns to Assisi, his birth town and home of his namesake—the 12th century friar Saint Francis, for the closing of the interreligious World Day of Prayer for Peace. The theme of the three-day event, organized by the Sant’Edigo Community, is “Thirst for Peace. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue.”

    On the 30th anniversary of this international meeting, which Pope Saint John Paul II convened in 1986, Pope Francis arrived by helicopter and was welcomed by Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi.

    Throughout the day he met with religious leaders of different faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. He spoke individually with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I; Archbishop Justin Welby, head of the Anglican church; and Patriarch Aphrem II from the Syriac Orthodox Church.

    He then dined with them at the Franciscan convent, along with 12 refugees from Eritrea, Mali, Nigeria, and Syria, who all illustrate the tangible impacts of war and conflict.

    Before moving to St. Francis Square for the closing ceremony, Christians, including the Pope, prayed for peace at the Basilica, while those from other religions prayed elsewhere in Assisi.

    In alphabetical order, countries raged by violence were read aloud with a tall candle lit for each. Participants then signed an appeal to world leaders for peace, asking to eliminate all motives of war.

    In his appeal, Pope Francis says that we are “to oppose every form of violence and abuse of religion which seeks to justify war and terrorism.”  He later adds, “War in the name of religion becomes a war against religion itself.”

    He recognizes that “people do not always understand that war harms the world, leaving in its wake a legacy of sorrows and hate.” He continues, “In war, everyone loses, including the victors.”

    In order to bring an end to war, he believes there are necessary steps to be taken: “We need a greater commitment to eradicating the underlying causes of conflicts: poverty, injustice and inequality, the exploitation of and contempt for human life.”

    He closes by saying, “Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace.”

  • Facts & Stories

    Experts Discuss European Integration After Brexit Vote

    On September 15, the Columbia Law School in association with the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America presented, “The Future of Integration in Europe and Beyond.” This major conference consisted of three separate panels and featured distinguished speakers from academia, business, and government.

    During the first event, “European Integration after the Brexit Vote,” moderator Anu Bradford, Professor at Columbia Law, immediately sets out to answer what Brexit will look like, specifically in regards to the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

    Defining Brexit

    In his response, John Authers, senior investment commentator at the Financial Times, references the black drawbridge printed on the day’s program, superimposed over a colorful map.

    “My single most likely scenario for what Brexit means is that Britain really is going to pull up the drawbridge and slam halt to it, to migration, to the U.K., accepting in the process the damage that this will do to the financial services in the city, and accepting that we lose direct access to the single market,” he says.

    However, he also explains that it’s possible for the UK to maintain access to the single market and to accept a more limited shift in the migration policy in return.

    Is Brexit Reversible?

    Authers thinks it’s possible for the U.K. to remain in the EU through a second referendum as opposed to a general election, or alternatively through the impending fall of the Euro in which case the issue will be muted.

    Armando Varricchio, ambassador of Italy to the United States, on the other hand, defines Brexit as “a fact,” adding, “I don’t think it’s possible to turn back.” Yet, he points out that with many European elections taking place in 2017, including in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, it will make it difficult for Britain to trigger Article 50—a section of the Lisbon Treaty that is necessary to enact for withdrawal from the EU.

    Freedom of Movement

    When speaking of the future of the relationship between the U.K. and the EU, Varricchio emphasizes the importance of freedom of movement. He ensures that the EU will be able to find legal arrangements in order to achieve the latter, as maintaining passport privileges is a key concern for many.

    “What cannot be taken off the table, unless we completely change the dynamic of Europe, is free movement because this will be the end of what we consider nowadays Europe,” he explains.

    Authers compares the division between those in favor of leaving to the current division in the American Republican Party, pointing out that there is a Chamber of Commerce, pro-business side and a Populist, anti-immigration side.

    In agreement with Varricchio, he later adds a personal note and shares that his American wife can reassuringly live and work in 28 countries with the British passport she attained two and half years ago.

    “My kids, until recently, I assumed would have the right if they wanted to go—they speak Spanish very well because a couple of them were born in Mexico—and live in Barcelona or Madrid. That is wonderful,” he continues.

    He also disagrees that immigration is of any great harm in the U.K., and argues that it is “utterly economic.” “We have a great Eastern European population in the U.K. willing to do jobs better than the indigenous population," he explains.

    In stark contrast to Varricchio and Authers, Joseph Weiler, professor at NYU Law School, believes that free movement is not possible. “If they divorce us, we’ll divorce them,” he says. Later adding, “There’s a fear that if you give Britain too cozy a ride, it might be too tempting for other countries to ask for the same deal.”

    Arguments for Brexit

    Sir John Vickers, professor at Oxford University, views Brexit as a universal disaster and foresees little scope for a reversal. Yet he remains optimistic about trade in goods, considering tariff levels are currently minimal. He’s also thankful that the U.K. uses the pound.

    “Leaving common currency is formidably difficult, as we saw in the varying stages of the Greek crisis,” he says.

    Vickers diplomatically proposes two arguments in favor of Brexit. First, “There is dysfunction in the decision-making of the EU, such that many important decisions don’t get taken.” Second, that the current way to be internationalist is to look outside of Europe to India, China, and so forth.

    The Future of the EU

    When Bradford ventures to answer whether the EU will survive this or unravel at the seams, Weiler responds with the same zest from earlier. He calls Britain’s decision “regrettable” and “totally unnecessary,” predicting that it will lead to the break of the U.K. in result of its damage to the EU and to the rest of the world.

    He anticipates a “grim” future and a revolt of the masses if the “fundamental democracy deficit,” or what he describes as the lack of choice in politics, is not addressed. However, if Brexit returns a say to the people, he believes the future will be okay but not yet “rosy.”

    Vickers sees “no way that we can be a full member [of the single market] and have immigration controls.” For him, the solution is for EU members to integrate more economically and for others to be more flexible. Unfortunately, he thinks it’s impossible because of treaty changes and referendums to follow.

    “Europe is trapped in this very unfortunate economic situation. It may turn out okay, but I think there are big risks attached to that,” he says.

    What Should the EU Set to Achieve?

    Varricchio hopes to ensure that the EU will remain a viable project. “We should never forget where we come from. There is a reason we created this artificial body we came to name the EU,” he says.

    He continues to express the urgency to increase the EU’s legitimacy. He argues that having more members in the EU makes it more difficult for policy-making, but that for him this is “true democracy.”

    “We have to move on. There is a process that we have to cherish, that we have to promote, that we have to make more effective, but this is what we have,” he concludes. “I think that our leaders should speak their minds and have the courage to tell the truth to their citizens. Because what Brexit tells us is that nothing is given for granted.”

  • Life & People

    A Reflection on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11

    On the eve of my seventh birthday, 15 years ago, I sat in a classroom surrounded by about 20 other second graders, dressed in our uniforms of plaid jumpers or white polo shirts with green pants. We saluted the flag as we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, struggling to match the pace of the mighty eighth grader on the loudspeaker, and alas the school day officially began, as it always did. But the events that unfolded next were different.

    Teachers huddled outside, leaving heaps of students unsupervised. Uncontained whispers mixed with sounds of fear replaced the typical silence of the hallways during class time. We sat quietly with our feet dangling from our desks, too preoccupied with our own curiosity to discuss with one another the endless possibilities of this unusual occurrence.

    Then we heard the cries of Mrs. Hogan, the other second grade teacher, echo down the corridor—adorned with gray lockers taller than the majority of the children who occupied the school’s first floor. All I could do was wonder if Serena, my twin sister in homeroom 2H, had a clue of what was going on. I knew I would find out sooner or later after a collaborative, persuasive pry to our mom, who was (and still is) a teacher in the school; however, I didn’t know just how soon. The words “early dismissal” are typically ones anyone would welcome, yet even six and seven-year-olds found the suddenness to be too perplexing to revel in wonder.

    When the last of my mom’s students were picked up, we drove a quick five minutes to our house, nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac in suburban New Jersey. I was surprised to see my dad, who worked at Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, already home and on the lounge chair in our family room closely watching the news. I still remember the exact footage of the flaming Twin Towers that was playing at that moment; the back of my dad’s head became more vivid than ever.

    My father's office was directly across the Hudson River from the World Trade Center, and earlier that day he was called into the conference room to witness the horrifying aftermath of what he thought was a small plane crash. In amazement, he and his colleagues watched a second plane strike the South Tower, the buildings no longer beaming beacons of the normally picturesque skyline. It was then when they realized that our city and our nation were under attack. They rushed to evacuate and after fighting through the traffic, he picked up my brothers from their respective high schools and arrived safely at home.

    Mrs. Hogan had been crying because her husband worked in one of the Towers. Amidst this national catastrophe, her fear and emotions clouded the fact that he happened to be away on a business trip in Philadelphia on that specific day in history—September 11, 2001. 

    My best friend’s mother also worked at the World Trade Center. She was dressed and all ready at the station, but the trains were running late. After a few minutes of waiting, she decided to work from home that morning instead—a minor track delay and her impulsive decision to thank for her safety.

    Years later I came to find out that my boyfriend’s mom had a meeting in one of the Towers that was actually canceled. But since her office was in the World Trade Center complex, she commuted downtown via the PATH as she normally did. The moment her train arrived, American Airlines Flight 175 struck the North Tower. Covered in debris she managed to escape the rubble and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge side by side with crowds of New Yorkers, all of them in a desperate retreat from the dust and smoke that quickly filled their lungs. Unable to contact her husband and family, they nervously awaited a phone call or any hopeful sign of survival. Thankfully, they reunited that evening.

    My uncle worked at the American Stock Exchange and literally pulled his panicking boss from beneath a desk and together they fled the scene, saving both of their lives before more damage was done. They boarded one of the many boats rushed to lower Manhattan that provided a getaway for thousands.

    And the narrowest escape that I am personally aware of was that of a classmate’s grandmother, who safely climbed her way down from the 89th floor before the building collapsed.

    I live 30 or so miles from Manhattan, less than an hour away by public transit, and I hear stories like this annually when September rolls around. There are multitudes of tales of survival and coincidences that prevented the fortunate few from being present to such devastation. But sadly, there are also the stories of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in New York, Washington D. C., and in the fields of Pennsylvania as a result of the coordinated terrorist attacks, and so too of the 343 New York City Firefighters who ran in and climbed to their death performing the duty they loved.

    A decade and a half removed from 9/11, my memory is slight, yet eternally palpable. It remains the greatest tragedy of my generation’s lifetime—the moment we will never forget. Regardless of the details that I recall, when reflecting on 9/11 I will eternally feel sorrow and pain for my country. I hope to always commemorate the fallen; may they continue to rest in peace.