Interactive portraits by children of Milan and Sighet

directed by Sasha Sicurella, I AM: International Foundation
in collaboration with CAF ONLUS and Sos Bambini

November 17, 18, 19, 2011

On the occasion of the World Children’s Day, Viafarini presents an exhibition of interactive photographs created by children of CAF Onlus (Milan, Italy) and Sos Bambini (Sighet, Romania) in collaboration with artist Sasha Sicurella, the director and founder of the New York-based, I AM: International Foundation. The selection of works represent thirty children who participated in a three-day workshop centered around the notion of identity. Using photography as a tool to capture moments of ‘expressive play’, children portrayed emotion through their hands, feet, and shadows. Through a variety of artistic processes and media, an opportunity was created for each child to recognize the beauty and importance of his/her own form. Success of the I AM: projects lie not in their aim of ‘treatment’, but rather in their ability to create a set of immediate experiences: an insular time and space dedicated to individualized recognition, spontaneous expression, and authentic play. Each hand, foot, and shadow presented in this exhibition tells a story of the past but was conceived in an impromptu moment. Brought into the gallery context, the photographs present an interesting convergence between social relations and art therapy, authorship and intent, health and illness, and contemporary art and its processes.

Prior to the opening reception at DOCVA Sasha Sicurella, Wurmkos founder Pasquale Campanella, neuropsychiatrist Aleksandra Matakovic Manca, and art therapist Simona Camisani will hold a round-table discussion, as part of Viafarini's A Socially Engaged Drink initiative, aimed at comparing the I AM: project with the Italian project, Wurmkos. The goal is to explore the theme of mental and psychological disease by considering projects that deal, in different ways, with the relationships between contemporary art and psychosociological issues.

Sasha Sicurella is a Canadian-born artist/arts education specialist who founded the I AM: International Foundation in 2010. She is the Director of Education at Omi International Arts Center, a New York non-profit organization providing residency programs for visual, literary, and performing artists as well as arts education programming and The Fields Sculpture Park for the public. Educated in visual arts and photography, Sicurella received her MFA from New York University in 2002, and BFA from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in 2000. She has taught art to students ages 3-18 in both public and independent American school systems and continues to develop arts enrichment programs at local schools in her community.

I AM: International Foundation aims to give underprivileged children and/or children living in densely populated regions of the world hands-on opportunities to explore identity through art and self-portrait photography. Through nurturing workshops conducted in schools, communities, and non-government organizations, the hope is for each child to gain an understanding of his/her value, potential, and beauty as a unique person. Most recent exhibitions include: I AM: Israel, Tel Aviv University, Israel; I AM: Ethiopia, Addis Ababa University Alle School of Fine Art, Ethiopia; I AM: Interactive Self-Portraits by Children of India, Ethiopia, Jamaica, and Chatham, Spencertown Arts Academy, New York, USA; I AM: India, Hacienda Gallery, Mumbai, India; I AM: India, Omi International Arts Center, New York, USA.

C.A.F. Onlus is a non profit help centre for maltreated children and families with problems CAF was established in 1979 as the first private center in Italy for the welcome and treatment of child victims of abuse and mistreatment. CAF’s Communities are a refuge, a temporary home that allows children to be protected and helps them to grow in a serene environment, to learn how to regain confidence in themselves and in adults. From its founding, CAF has helped over 1000 children with serious problems and hundreds of families in crisis. Since 2004

Sos Bambini purseues the mission to improve the living conditions of children from birth to adolescence, focusing on countries with particularly difficult situations of childhood. The Association is committed to the support/sponsorship of children, single mothers and working with some family-homes and hospitality centers in Milan, where the most active volunteers give their time free during the week or on weekends. Sos Bambini is a 100% non-profit organization and the Association donates 100% of its fundraising.

With the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo and Gemmo spa. In collaboration with CAF Onlus, I AM: Intertnational Foundation, Sos Bambini


last update 5-12-2011