“They walk their path with exemplary dignity. Permanently in the clutches of hardship, they never lose their ability to marvel.”
This is the fate and the story of Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija. It is a story of human suffering, the deprivation of the inalienable right to identity. Yet it is also a story of resistance to the insult of poverty, to the daily difficulties of life and the pitfalls that come with the homogeneous nature of the modern world.
Federica Troisi, a photographer with a rare sensibility, faces the reality of life in an enclave through an experience of solidarity. She directly encounters discrimination, fatigue, hopelessness. Yet she also sees the power of desire and the will to follow a dream against all odds. Their language is unknown to her, but she delves into communicating: she examines the body language, the faces, the gestures, the tears and the smiles. She stubbornly returns to Velika Hoča, a small village of about six hundred souls set in the hills of Metohija.
She spends her days and chats through the nights equipped with camera gear, a microphone and a translator. She visits homes, drinks endless cups of coffee, and participates in the peaceful life of those who have so much to wish for but little or nothing with which to achieve it. Snapping portraits, asking permission, lighting candles, smiling, crying, and sometimes stopping, astonished, at the doorstep of people belonging to an injured nation, incredulous about the future filled with dark clouds that foreshadow darkness.
Returning in the hills of Reggio Emilia, she climbs the Apennine Mountains, to visit a barbarian veteran who contently experiments with living in exile, away from the vulgarity of the world. This encounter with Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, a musician, writer, man of the theater, is fruitful. Together they fill images with new words, establishing emotions by opening different horizons, fresh perspectives. Thus a reflection is created, beyond time and space, that perfectly matches the poetry of portraiture.
“Nothing is exceptional, apart from existence.” But this is a new existence that goes down to the roots of the origins of dignified humanity, jealously guarding identity, respectful of the other, devoted to the religion of hospitality.
Federica Troisi and Giovanni Lindo Ferretti offer a collection 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 an abyss that leads to obscurity. The only possible North Star is the whispered desires of women, men, youth, and children – a faint light of hope which illuminates the darkness.