- FEBRUARY 2018 -
HOME - Bridge Italy - Bologna - “You don’t know the South” 
The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto
“You don’t know the South”

The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto
Bodini’s most famous line has been chosen as the title of a project to relaunch the South through its culture, an essential way of discrediting stereotypes and distortions.

After Bari, it will be Otranto’s turn to host Scianna’s precious photography exhibition
by Oscar Iarussi
SHARE Facebook Twitter

Assoro, 1998. Photo by Ferdinando Scianna

Tu non conosci il Sud” (You don’t know the South) is a short poetic explosion by the Apulian poet Vittorio Bodini (1914-1970). It illuminates the pathway of a cultural initiative which aims to stimulate encounters, stir thoughts and unleash emotions. This is necessary in the South, so often misrepresented as a gallery of grotesque caricatures or criminals, and while such figures do exist, they do in Italy as a whole. Stereotyped images from second-rate TV drama demean and damage the complexity and potential of entire regions. Politicians in primis have for some time appeared either indifferent to the South or occasionally attempt to turn it into a brand, as if the land – have you actually touched this land? – could ever be a matter of marketing rather than of choices, spirit and courage. “Tu non conosci il Sud”. Precisely, because here there is neither Gomorrah around every corner nor do we dance the pizzica all year round. “Tu non conosci il Sud” because it is not “a paradise inhabited by devils”, the myth – and the alibi – that best satisfies and reassures the public, even in the South itself.

Ferdinando Scianna’s “The South and Women” photography exhibition is part of this cultural initiative, founded in Bari a few months ago, and which has thus far proved itself a generous “messenger”. Following on from the foyer of the Petruzzelli theatre in Bari and the Casa Cava in Matera, named European Capital of Culture for 2019, it is now the turn of the Aragonese Castle of Otranto to accommodate the magnificent images of one of the most highly respected Italian photographers, a much loved and unconventional master. The female faces on display are not icons, but exercises in the reality of his rapturous beauty.

Moreover, the formula of “Tu non conosci il Sud” gathers diverse disciplines and languages ​​in order to fraternize towards a common purpose: to contribute to the honour and symbolic concreteness of the South. For Scianna as a young Sicilian photojournalist his meeting with Leonardo Sciascia was decisive, the writer revealed, thanks to his Le parrocchie di Regalpetra (Bari, 1956), which appeared in the innovative “Libri del tempo”, published by Vito Laterza. The same series also includes Contadini del Sud by Rocco Scotellaro, poet and modern intellectual, perhaps “younger” today than in 1953 when, misunderstood, he passed away at the age of only thirty (Scotellaro has been chosen as one of the tutelary deities of Matera 2019).

Sciascia and Bodini exchanged letters, ideas and dreamt of a Mediterranean collection of ancient and modern texts. Distant voices that, if you listen hard enough, still echo in the fortress at Otranto. Its original structure dates back almost a thousand years, and restoration will soon be complete that could revive it as a cultural centre. The ancient imago urbis of this town with its Cathedral of Martyrs and the sea therefore has one eye on the future, a town placed “between holy water and salt water”, to quote the apt definition of the Kingdom of Naples, coined by Ernesto de Martino.

Tu non conosci il Sud, le case di calce / da cui uscivamo al sole come numeri / dalla faccia d’un dado” (You do not know the South, the houses of lime / from which we went out under the sun like numbers / on the faces of a dice). Verses that sound like a dizzy gamble. There is a sign of the now well-known condition of being a “number”, for example as an insecure or anonymous worker. Therefore let’s start from the South – and in the South you can. The essence of Otranto bears witness to this: a frontier for the dawn, the tenacious east, the Mediterranean without rhetoric. It is simply destined for beginnings.

More articles
Culture   Eugenio Barba On Life and Theatrical Thought and Practice Culture   Mark Bradford and Wade Guyton Million dollar American art that’s taking Italy by storm Culture   “Poverty is sexist” The young ambassadors of ONE in Paris against extreme poverty Culture   The middle-eastern origin of blown glass, the pride of Venice Culture   Those Southern women who express the world Culture   Andy Warhol The immortal guru of Pop Art Culture   “Angels and saints in Chicago and Baltimora” Cultural exchanges between the University of Bari and the US Culture   Those farm women, thrilled at their first sight of the sea… Culture   My Puglia as seen from the UN Culture   Forty young Italians with ONE for the fight against world hunger Culture   “American Dreamers” The new dream of eleven American artists on show in Florence Culture   The Fulbright Project? An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Books   Not even love transforms the Stock Exchange of destinies Books   And the dream of conquest turned into a mirage of the desert Books   Joseph’s Gargano Books   The tragedy of Mattmark A book so as not to forget Books   Journey through the gardens of Italy Books   When poetry investigates “time” Books   Amidst the storms of life it’s the strength of a loving heart that wins Books   That valley in the Gargano so rich in history that must not be forgotten Books   Grottaglie and its pottery through the life of the benefactor Vincenzo Calò Books   Eighty years of joyful culture Books   Sergeant Romano’s siege like in a movie Books   The magnificent eighty Books   San Marco in Lamis seen from its bell-tower Books   A great love for splendid Castro Books   Better not come home... Letters between Italy and America during the first World War Books   Story of a poet between Puglia and America Books   Worked to death under the sun of Puglia Books   When forgotten objects tell a life story Books   Masserie of Puglia Journey amidst Beauty Books   An excursion into the Salentine dialect … Mai pe iabbu Books   The moral revival of the South can start from its “best” Books   Life, anyway! Books   Rainbow of women Books   Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta …in pursuit of the culprit Books   …Once upon a time there was the past Writing about it to preserve the memory Books   Disorder and experimentation in the museum-houses of Ignazio Apolloni Books   Salento stories …in search of lost time Books   Pietro Marti, the great standard-bearer of Salento culture Books   Even tycoons cry Books   If a “whale” island appears one night out of nowhere… Books   From his ancestral Calabria to Roma Precious memories of a lifetime Books   The importance of rediscovering “fraternity” Books   In the wax museum to seek the dream of a better world Books   Naples “Kissed by God and raped by Man” Books   Once upon a time there was the padre-padrone Books   Second World War The drama of the fallen Books   On the Savannah lagoons …to heal Books   The meaning of the 20th century in the saga of the Stille family Books   In Fellini’s La dolce vita the germs of today’s Italy Basilicata   Craco The “second life” of a ghost town Po Delta   The Po Delta park Natural beauty and history Bari   “Cieli americani” in Bari Verona   Verona Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it Courmayeur   Courmayeur All the charm of the low season Ferrara   You can still dream in Ferrara Ferrara   “Action!” Amongst Ferrara’s myriad sets Music   Porretta Soul Festival The Italian Woodstock of black American music Matera   Pasolini-Matera Fifty years ago the first Gospel in the Sassi Naples   “Wood Stone and Friends” Jimmie Durham’s magic vitalism at the MADRE Naples   Art miracles at Vigna San Martino Naples   The Hermann Nitsch Museum From horror to awareness Bologna   Do you want to be FICO? In Bologna you can Bologna   Bologna “The Learned”, “The Fat”, “The Red” Bologna   At the MAMbo Arte Povera on display Polignano   From Brooklyn to Polignano Twelve artists out to conquer Europe Movies   With The Revenant DiCaprio rises again and aims for the Oscar Movies   Quo Vado? When the southern redneck turns politically correct Movies   When the cinema returns to the future Best of Italy   Andria Pietro Zito’s vegetable garden This is where his prize-winning dishes originate Best of Italy   The best Milanese panettone is… Salentine San Marino   “From Hopper to Warhol” on the gentle hills of San Marino San Marino   San Marino Historic appeal amidst breathtaking panoramas Turin   Reggia di Venaria Reale A treasure rediscovered Turin   The Egyptian Museum of Turin The immortal appeal of the Pharaohs Turin   “For President” Photogenic qualities will win the elections Padua   So much… In the city of the three “withouts” Milan   EXPO 2015 Not just food Milan   The oneiric inspirations of Joan Jonas Milan   “Autunno americano” Milan celebrates the States Milan   MILAN The metropolis is still “to drink” (…and “to eat”) Rome   “Empire State” New York is still the epicenter of art Venice   The immortal charm of the 
“Queen of the Sea” Venice   So many “Illumi/nations” with the Biennale d’Arte Rovigo   History and Art In the capital of the Polesine Rovigo   “Divisionism, the light of what is modern” 200 works on show in Rovigo