Northern Blues

Northern Blues

Northern Blues is a play on words. This piece was created in February when many people experience the “blues” in Northern Ontario. The inspiration was a recent walk I had during a cold snap. I was overwhelmed with the different hues and shades of blue in the landscape. The trees were leaning and almost taunting the weather to stay cold,…

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Biodiversity and the “Gnoseosphere”

Biodiversity and the “Gnoseosphere”

The vertical garden, climbing up the north wall of the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Modern Cultures of the University of Torino, Italy, hosts 29 different plant species. Its function is to absorb pollutant particles from the air. Moreover, it changes its colours according to seasonal blooming. Undoubtedly, it is a lovely example of biodiversity in a place where…

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The Artist and the Assassin

The Artist and the Assassin

The year is 1596. The young Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has recently come to Rome and is working for an older, established artist, Cesari, doing busywork helping to complete Cesari’s commissions. In the text, Caravaggio is referred to as M. A week later, M goes with Cesari to visit a cardinal who has commissioned a painting from Cesari’s studio. On…

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Cinquecento Love: My Life-Long Obsession with the Fiat 500

Cinquecento Love: My Life-Long Obsession with the Fiat 500

Nothing says Italian style like a Fiat 500 (pronounced cheen·kweh·CHEN·toh). My love affair with the 500 began when I was 16. I really wanted one, but it would not fit into my suitcase. So I had to go home without one. I don’t know if I will ever own a super cute, chubby 500, but I have spent years photographing them all…

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Leaving America

Leaving America

The speedboat and ferry trails left furrows of white wake on the deep azure blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea. As he watched from his window seat high above the peninsula, the white and blue commingled, and his thoughts returned to his childhood, to his first trip to Italy, to relatives, to mountains, and to an ocean liner that left white…

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What Leaving Brings

What Leaving Brings

I In the timelessness that is empathy, he watched them all go. He watched them go amidst indigo: the dark hues of pre-morning, the smear of clouds not yet shaped; the promise of radiance not yet come; before the world was made and life began its throb and hum. The sun warmed them soon enough or maybe; it did not…

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Translation As Metaphor for Migration

Translation As Metaphor for Migration

In her Italian-Canadian Narratives of Return. Analysing Cultural Translation in Diasporic Writing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 436) Michela Baldo maps out the theoretical questions posed by diaspora studies in a rich and compelling way. In the Introduction to the book, she clearly outlines her approach and provides an interesting meditation on “translation as a metaphor for diasporic writing.” She posits…

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A Rusting Freighter Spurred World Attention to a Refugee Crisis

A Rusting Freighter Spurred World Attention to a Refugee Crisis

When Saigon was overrun by Communist forces on April 30, 1975, thousands of Vietnamese began a rush for freedom. One of them was Luu Dat Phuoc, a successful businessman whose assets had been confiscated by the Communist government. Luu’s businesses were in Saigon, renamed Ho Chi Minh City after Vietnam fell to Communist forces, and included an import-export business and…

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Albert Chiarandini’s Summer of Love

Albert Chiarandini’s Summer of Love

The work of Canadian artist Albert Chiarandini will be featured in a special exhibit at the Centaur Gallery in Montreal this fall. The exhibit, titled “Albert Chiarandini Summer of Love – 1967; If You Can’t Remember It You Weren’t There!” will run from September 11th to October 13th. The exhibit will have on display some of the artist’s most famous…

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Rome Flowers

Rome Flowers

The Fontana dei Catecumeni is located on a side street near the colosseum in Rome. Across the street you will find a small flower shop that caters to the romantics that caters to the young men trying to impress their dates. The graffiti on the wall, the passion of the shopkeeper, contrasts so strikingly with the calm older couple and…

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Mexico Through the Lens of Vincenzo Pietropaolo

Mexico Through the Lens of Vincenzo Pietropaolo

The first time I met Vincenzo Pietropaolo and saw his work – more than 10 years ago – was in an exhibition of his photographs about Mexican temporary farm workers in Ontario. Among all the black and white pictures, one in particular caught my attention: nine or ten Mexican workers sitting in chairs around a table with some food and…

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The Art of François Morelli

The Art of François Morelli

Myth has it that the beginning of drawing has its foundation in the hand-trace, delineating an edge of a shadow on a wall. Debutade, a Corinthian maid, consciously traced the shadow of her lover, asleep, before his departure so that she could accurately remember his image. Recording to evoke memory and to animate what resides in our mind’s eye is a…

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Rocky Roads: Northern Italy’s Jewish Heritage

Rocky Roads: Northern Italy’s Jewish Heritage

Mountain Jews in the Italian/Austrian Alps? The Tyrol region is not immediately associated with Jews or Jewish history. Yet surprisingly, the area encompassing the magnificent Dolomite Mountains has had a Jewish presence. In fact, no less breathtaking than the landscape of this UNESCO World Heritage property is the post-Emancipation history of the Jews who passed through this part of the…

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