The first lockdown was nothing short of surreal. And although we were all at home and terrified of not knowing what the heck was happening, I find that now many of us are unashamedly nostalgic about some of some of its unexpected benefits. Namely a world that was suddenly cleaner, quieter. A world where nature was liberated and allowed to have a renaissance. A world whose eerie stillness was possible because of the lack of human presence.

This is story behind this fascinating exhibition. The story of a photographer who decided to take his camera and shoot unique and unrepeatable photos of his hometown at an unprecedented time. Luca Maria Castelli brings us images of Bologna like it has never seen before and, most probably, like it'll never be seen again.

My strong favourite is the one that shows platform no. 1 at Bologna railway station, the busiest train hub in Italy. Anyone who's been through it knows the place is hellish chaos. But here, time stands still, not a soul is in sight, not a single piece of litter, no delays being announced by the tannoy, and no trains taking anyone anywhere. This photo sums up how the world had come to a complete standstill. The audible silence of the deserted station is the collective scream of millions of people living through a time of fear and uncertainty.

Luca used his heart and his eye to create cityscapes of great poignancy and intensity. This chronicle is a declaration of love and hope to his beautiful city. The show closes today, but photos will remain on view at Galleria Forni, Bologna.

#lucamariacastelli #bologna #lockdown #photography #artblog #beyondthecanvasblog

Stazione Centrale, Binario 1

Via Santo Stefano

Via Pescherie Vecchie

Via Stalingrado

Area di servizio Sillaro

All photos © Luca Maria Castelli

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  • Beyond the Canvas

"Mariupol is always covered with smog. On the other side of the sea is occupied Crimea - my home. 20 km away in the east, the war continues daily, but people just rest on the beach tired of the conflict. This beach is full of mines and people with guns. It has been going on for 2 years and people don't even notice it anymore because they are tired. They are tolerant to death, weapons, violence, war. I also came to the beach. For screaming. I looked at the sea, which is the boundary between my home and the war. I looked to the east and saw bombs on the horizon." - Maria Kulikovska

An architect, a feminist, an activist and a multimedia artist, Maria was born in Kerch, Crimea in 1988. After the illegal annexation by Russia in 2014, the biggest land grab in Europe since WWII, she moved to Sweden. As I understand it, she has not been back to Crimea since. For all I know, she may not even be allowed to.

In this photo, Maria is screaming all her pain and anger into the sand. She is screaming, while armed soldiers look on and seem to be edging closer, because she's so near, yet so far from her home. She is screaming, because everyone else around her is too tired to care. She is screaming because sometimes that is all we can do to make our voice heard.

#mariakulikovska #ukrainianartist #femaleartist #performanceart #photography #artblog #beyondthecanvasblog

Maria Kulikovska photographed by Sergey Vaganov during her performance on the mined beach of Mariupol. From the series War and Pea€e, 2016

All rights Maria Kulikovska

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  • Beyond the Canvas

Updated: Apr 20

"There will be a painting that shows our victory, for sure." - Kinder Album (interviewed by Bird in Flight)

The truth is we do not know that there will be, but I can but hope the artist is right. For now, I'm counting the little dot-like heads in her painting. I think I counted around 80, but after a few they seem to blend into one. It must be my declining eyesight. So I remind myself that each dot represents a person running from their home, one of the hardest things imaginable. Each dot has a story, a family, a job, hopes, dreams, fears.

Kinder Album, who's based in Lviv, is now making her art from a shelter, where she shares the space with children, elderly people and pets. She says it's how she controls her anxiety and contributes to the common fight. As it becomes harder and harder to find the words to articulate our emotions, an artist's creativity may be the only universal language we can all understand.

#kinderalbum #ukrainianaartist #ukrainianart #femaleartist #art #artblog #beyondthecanvasblog

The Refugee Flow, 2022

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