Announcement: Visualizing Faith, Trauma and Conflict through Art

Visualizing Faith, Trauma, and Conflict through Art: The Work of Marcello Silvestri

“In a fast-paced world saturated by flashy images and by the monotonous black and white colour of the written words of experts or pseudo experts, I have opted to pause and stay away from the frantic international travel and glamour of my early career. I like to observe and meditate and then to engage, away from the spotlight, on a local level, with many of those that have been left behind or have experienced all sorts of traumas in their life.

With my artwork I reflect on the dramatic yet extraordinary beautiful mystery of human life – and God’s deeds in it. With the naivety of a baby taking its first steps ‘sensing’ the world, and inspired by my post-WWII rural upbringing steeped in simple pious religious practices, I explore human journeys through life. I like to wonder at how the Divine is present throughout our experiences, as a ray of hope, even in the most tragic situations – and how the material earth is responding to these traumas alongside human beings. With the use of humble waste materials I also want to show how nothing is worthless and can be Beautiful in the eyes of God.

While I believe that art is there to be enjoyed intuitively and not to be explained, I have always felt the urgency to translate, through my multi-media artistic expressions, my existential dilemmas and concerns relating to thorny societal problems. Hence my paintings, sculptures and murals seek to bring out the lived traumas and denunciating societal hypocrisy that emerge through conflict, migration, refuge, detention, drug addiction, and execution. These choices have naturally led me to become involved as a volunteer in a range of educational and interfaith and rehabilitation projects addressed to youth, orphans and children from deprived backgrounds as well as with mental health problems, recovering drug addicts, and other marginalised groups, such as my current art and faith workshops with (immigrant) detainees in Civitavecchia.” – Marcello Silvestri