On the occasion of the European Photography Festival 2023, entitled Europe Matters. Visions of a restless identity , Collezione Maramotti presents No Home from War: Tales of Survival and Loss , the first exhibition in Italy by photojournalist Ivor Prickett . With over fifty photographs taken in conflict scenarios from 2006 to 2022, No Home from War it represents the largest exposure of Prickett's work to date.
After studying Documentary Photography at the University of Wales Newport (UK), Prickett began to deal with Europe and the Middle East with the urgency of returning and denouncing the effects of wars on the civilian population, on the lives of devastated people and uprooted, irrespective of belonging to one side or the other.
Starting from an intimate and domestic dimension of the long-term social and humanitarian consequences of conflicts, over the years Prickett's gaze has moved to places of forced migration, to lands of sought-after refuge, up to reaching the front lines in areas of combat. The house – real space and primary interior place of protection, belonging and rooting – is a central element that returns, in different configurations, in his work.
The exhibition is structured following Prickett's journey and the chronology of his shots. From 2006 to 2010 his work in the Balkans and Caucasus focused mainly on individuals and small family groups as nuclei of resistance and embodied attempts at re-existence. In the photographs of the Serbian minority in Croatia, displaced in the 1990s because of the war, as well as in the portraits of the Georgian Mingrelian population in Abkhazia, a loneliness as ordinary as it is abysmal emerges, which radiates from precarious, suspended scenarios and individuals, left alone to come to terms with one's own history and to rebuild it, starting from the search for a sense of home, family and community in situations that are still very fragile.
The humanitarian crisis resulting from the war in Syria, the millions of refugees in the Middle East and migrants in Europe are the subject of a body of work carried out by Prickett between 2013 and 2015, moving the lens from private experience towards the outside world , at a time when people were forced to move, to live in refugee camps or to risk their lives to survive, facing journeys with uncertain outcomes.
Following the brutal war against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria between 2016 and 2018, Prickett reset the distances of space and time with the war scenario, taking action on the front line following the Iraqi military contingents. In this exploded landscape, in the images full of rubble and destruction – in which everything seems to be pulverized or covered by the remains of a recent explosion – delicate shreds of human (extra)ordinariness emerge.
With the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022, Prickett's eye initially focused on the collapse of buildings, on the void produced by the bombings: the large architectural wounds become material and metaphysical signs of the destruction of domestic and personal space, opening a glimpse on atrocities of the current war situation in Europe today. Through the eyes of the photographer, the Ukrainian soldiers stand out as solemn figures wrapped in the night, whose profiles emerge only when struck by the light of their own torches. The lives of civilians, once again, find themselves united in a condition of pain and uncertainty, in the incredulity of the repetition of the horror.
In the choices of cut and composition of the shots, in the light not artificially altered from which figures, environments and details emerge, Prickett creates iconic images in which subjects and classic forms of religious iconography and art history echo. The love and virtues of nameless saints, the contemporary expressions of the Pietà, the simplicity of a bucolic scene, the mystery of crossing to an undefined Isle of the Dead, the drama of Caravaggio and the earthly spirituality of Rembrandt: the strength symbolic and aesthetic is for Prickett at the service of a reflection on the present history. In the short circuit generated by the impression of being faced with a form of staged photography and by the awareness of the dramatic reality of the subjects, these fragments of worlds rise to universal metaphors and solicit a position.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a book will be published with a text by Arianna Di Genova, art critic, journalist and editor of the newspaper il manifesto.