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Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics

In the Crosshairs of Memory

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Portraits of Journalists Killed in Palestine An Exhibition by Gianluca Costantini

June 12-22 Squadro Galleria Stamperia d’Arte 
Via Nazario Sauro, 27B, 40121 Bologna

Opening Wednesday, June 12, from 7:30 PM

Since the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, and the subsequent ruthless retaliation by Israel, Gianluca Costantini has been creating portraits of journalists killed in the Gaza Strip. Actively collaborating with the CPJ Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, he has built a visual memorial day by day.

Gianluca Costantini’s visual project, by an artist and political activist internationally known for his relentless effort to give a face and iconic presence to the victims of abuse, does not aim to restore what has been lost, as that is impossible. Instead, it is a votive offering, a gesture of care for the memory of those who are no longer with us and who had chosen, as their task on this earth, to bear witness.

The portraits have already been used in protest actions in Atlanta, New York, Berlin, Seattle, and Naples, as happens with many of the artist’s projects. The drawings become material for communication, in the hands of citizens who move with their bodies in very distant places to demand truth and justice, to seek answers, and, in this case, to call for a ceasefire.

The act of drawing the faces of those behind the camera, carefully seeking a photo from which to create a portrait (not a trivial task, as journalists and media operators are not narcissistically inclined; they are more drawn to others…) is a form of extreme gratitude, a collective ritual of atonement, a tenacious desire to hold on to the face of someone dear to us, even if we never knew them, even if we never will.

It is a work in progress that closely follows the cartography of the massacre recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), cites sources, and constitutes an explicit political warning that cannot be ignored.

The attrition of those who use a camera rather than a rifle has reached an unprecedented peak in the ongoing conflict, amounting to a kind of systematic extermination of the media in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

As of May 28, 2024, at least 107 journalists, broadly defined, have been killed in the conflict that erupted in October 2023, as certified by the CPJ: of the 107 journalists killed, 102 were Palestinian, 2 were Israeli, and 3 were Lebanese.

32 journalists have been injured

2 journalists are currently missing

38 journalists have been arrested

Additionally, there have been reports of assaults, threats, online attacks, censorship, and the killing of family members of journalists as an intimidating message.

How could this happen? And how can we even hope to have the opportunity to know ex post what happened during these months of bloodshed if journalists are being physically eliminated, without this being felt as an element that fundamentally undermines the possibility of truth?

On Wednesday, June 12, at 7:30 PM, the opening of the exhibition will be introduced by a dialogue between Giovanni Boccia Artieri (sociologist, University of Urbino Carlo Bo) and Iustina Mocanu, Head of Amnesty International Emilia Romagna.

Following this, Squadro will be pleased to give space to Davide Dormino, a sculptor, to discuss Anything to Say?, the traveling artwork dedicated to freedom of expression. The bronze sculpture features three icons of our contemporary era—Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden—standing on three chairs, with a fourth empty chair inviting the public to take a stand alongside them, in defense of our right to know. The work reflects on the concept of the monument in a contemporary sense and will be in Bologna’s Piazza Nettuno on June 13-14.

The exhibition “In the Crosshairs of Memory” Portraits of Journalists Killed in Palestine, composed of eighty digital portraits (29.7×42 cm) along with four large original drawings, will be open for viewing until June 22 during Squadro’s opening hours.

Exhibitions / Israel / Italy / Palestine / SquadroStamperia

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