The Italian photographer Cristina de Paola tells the story of her homeland, the Salento coast in Apulia, through her photography series Finis Terrae.
“The images and finds collected as relics of lost identity follow and accompany me during a life far from those places”.
Born in Maglie, in the province of Lecce, Cristina started to get close to photography during her adolescent years at an artistic high school. She was fascinated by the ability to portray reality through the camera. By the time she enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera for her bachelor on New Art Technologies, she was also curious to learn more about other audiovisual languages: video, cinema, and sound design. However, even if she had the opportunity to experiment and research about them, she confirmed her willingness to work with static images.
During her bachelor years, she had the opportunity to participate in an Erasmus exchange program with the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This was a fundamental moment of personal training since she had the opportunity to get in touch with several local artistic realities, including the MINT Collective, which involved her in one of their collective exhibitions.
“Initially, I considered the photographic medium a mediator between my gaze and the surrounding reality; I focused my first works on the mere representation of the spaces, urban and otherwise, that surrounded me during my daily life and my travels. I must say that my needs and expectations towards photography have grown over time, currently, I am looking for something else”.
Since 2018, Cristina started working on an autobiographical project, Finis Terrae. Like most of the people from Salento, Cristina lives far from the place where she was born and raised.
“I have to be honest, most of the times I have refused to accept my origins, from a certain point of view I have always turned my back on them. For some time now I have felt the need, dictated by nostalgia and distance, to rediscover an identity that I have always denied, an identity made of deep-rooted traditions, precise scenarios and faces imprinted in my mind”.
Since then, she started to return more often to her small village in the south of Apulia, where she took photographs and collected different materials with a vaguely anthropological approach.
With this project, Cristina participated in the exhibition “Tutti i Verbi all’Infinito” (All Verbs to Infinity) organized by the Apuliart project, at the Diocesan Museum of Lecce on May 2019. Subsequently, she took part in the BoCs Art artistic residence curated by Giacinto di Pietrantonio, in Cosenza. And lastly, during the last autumn, she won the Riccardo Prina prize “Un Racconto Fotografico” (A photographic story).
On the other hand, she has started a new and still in an embryonic new project, Lampare, in which she has included, in addition to her shots, photographs taken from her personal archive.
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