112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Orgosolo Murals: The Power of Artistic Language in the Construction of the Italian Identity

Laura Giancaspero, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3

This paper aims to analyze the role of identity construction that the wall drawings of a small village of the hinterland of Sardinia carried out with the local population. Orgosolo, village of shepherds, during the late 60's and the next decade, lived a season of strong social and political protest in the wake of the contemporary national social movements of '68.

Proposal: 

This paper aims to analyze the role of identity construction that the wall drawings of a small village of the hinterland of Sardinia carried out with the local population. Orgosolo, village of shepherds ended in a milieu of strong backward at the foot of the highest mountain and inaccessible of the island, during the late 60's and the next decade, lived a season of strong social and political protest in the wake of the contemporary national social movements of '68 . Closed and so difficult to penetrate, the Sardinians have always perceived themselves as a people subjugated by the various powers that through the centuries have dominated the island. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, and even Spanish and Piedmonts, there have been on the Sardinian territory, starving, impoverishing and oppressing its people. This feeling of oppression has taken different forms over the centuries. It has often been expressed through tumultuous rebellions and mass movements, sometimes with actions assertion of their autonomy, mostly by anarchist groups. But in 1969 the push of a protest assumes a form hitherto unknown in that little part of Italy. Imported by a collective of anarchists of Milan, the group Dionyso, the first murals appear on the walls of the modest homes of Orgosolo in 1969, when the rest of Italy is surrounded by a period of fervent political struggles that will last about a decade. Later with the arrival of an art professor of Siena the small Sardinian village is beginning to be characterized by murals that now made him famous. If the first paintings are born almost by accident, the professor Del Casino, gives them a very specific historical and political connotations. Since 1975, the year in which it operates in Orgosolo, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the war of liberation from Nazi‐fascism, Del Casino with his junior high school students, starts a cycle of murals painting created with the purpose to demonstrate to the new generations period how Sardinia had contributed to the movements of national liberation. A historical and philological research, aims to dispel the feeling of marginalization that has always had pervaded the Sardinian population, begun. Through the recovery of local heroes who have made the history of Italy, the Orgosolo population express itself as an active part of a nation that had always opposed. Over the years, the streets of the small village are filled with murals painting chronicling the hard life of its inhabitants: the status of women in the fields, drought or factory work. Personal stories interact in a permanent combination with the national macro‐history, claiming the presence of Sardinian culture and identity within a unity government that too often had swallowed regional minorities. Along the streets of the town unfolds an identity discourse, in which the murals materialize and represent the collective memory, make you think of a common past, distant or recent it is. Claim a popular representation of identity finally freed from the prejudices imposed by a sovereign state and coercive. The patient work of construction of a local identity has been possible only through the intervention of an external figure, extraneous for training and cultural horizon to the mentality of Sardinia. Although this may seem like an inconsistency, it is less if we reflect on the role that the artist has done in this context. He was able to receive the needs of the local population, to understand and reprocess them through a symbolic language that would intensify those functional elements in the construction of collective identity.

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