Giuseppe Stampone, Greetings from Castel Romano.
Dialogues between Roma communities and Art community
I’m writing to you about the project I’ve been called upon by qwatz artist in residency programme in Rome (http://www.qwatz.it/saluti-da-castel-romano-giuseppe-stampone/), to work on in the Roma settlement of Castel Romano, as you can read in the email below. As you may have heard, I’ve been asked to work on a classroom made for an education project run by the Ministry of Justice. For some months the kids in the settlement went to lessons in this room, which measures about five metres by six. The project is now complete, and the room has been closed. Now they’ve asked me to leave my mark in this place. This assignment has put me into such a quandary as to put me into a state of real crisis. What could these kids care about my work in their classroom? What more could there be than a texture to cover the walls? Faced with this request, I’ve had to wave the white flag of surrender. Artistic intervention there just doesn’t make sense to me. I think art has failed. The only thing I believe in right now is a theory of failure: art doesn’t represent our world any more. Today’s real needs are something else. Maybe it’s my fault too: I’m not worthy of being
called an artist, nor even to write these words. I was the first to
fail. The fact is that this project touches me deeply: I was born into a family of immigrants in a French banlieu and we too were ghettoised. So I feel I’m on the side of these kids. That’s why I thought of turning to you, to ask you for help. As we flit between art fairs, meeting at posh dinners and handling buckets of money, can we in the art world solve a problem that measures just five metres by six? I’d be really grateful for any help you can give.