Letizia Battaglia: Breaking The Code of Silence

Image

Palermo, 1982. Nerina worked as prostitute and was drug-dealing. She was killed by the mafia because she did not respect the rules © Letizia Battaglia.
Sourced from http://www.openeye.org.uk/main-exhibition/letizia-battaglia-breaking-the-code-of-silence/

My Intro To Museums and Galleries module took me down to The Open Eye Gallery for the first time the other day. The reason behind the trip was so that we could be shown a gallery specifically set up for photography but the exhibition which was on really struck a chord and I thought it would be a great one to blog about.

Letizia Battaglia is a Sicilian photojournalist who documented the effect of the Mafia of Sicilian locals from the 1970s until the early 90s. All of her photos are in black and white which lends a certain austerity and factuality to them, bringing home the fact that everything she photographed really happened.

This is a hard thought to process in many of the cases as most of the photographs portray quite violent or upsetting scenes. There are assassinated politicians, families living in poverty and children orphaned by inhumane acts. As shocking as these images are its still an important reminder of the cruelty of human beings and it is for this reason that I think artwork like this is so important in our world where such horrors can take place.

Eventually, Battaglia’s works created an awareness that broke through the code of silence surrounding the Sicilian Mafia and there was increased activism fighting against their autocratic rule. While looking at the photographs of mourning people and deadly injuries it is almost a comfort to think of the good these images did for this community.

Battaglia is obviously a very brave artist to place herself in such a dangerous situation for so many years and for this reason I found this exhibition truly inspiring and would encourage as many people as possible to go and visit it.

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