“Telling” the Italians through photo portraits

TORONTO – Four straight questions. And then a shot to freeze, in a single image, a life experience. Thus was born the exhibition “Italians on the move – Stories from Italy to Toronto”, which collects 17 photo portraits of Italians who live and work in the GTA. Seventeen + one, the author: Olmo Fattorini, Italian photographer originally from the province of Bergamo, currently in Toronto. 

The exhibition will be inaugurated – and presented by the artist himself – next Thursday, June 13, at 7pm (7pm), at the Parish Hall of the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi in Little Italy, 72 Mansfield Avenue. But we have already met him, Fattorini, and we asked him to tell us something before that date.

Olmo, how did the idea for this exhibition come about?

“I wanted to collect the experiences of the many Italians I met here in Toronto, so their stories would not be lost: each of them is precious and can be a source of inspiration for young people who, from Italy, might try an adventure in Canada”.

And how did you collect stories and portraits?

“I went to the workplace of each of my subjects, to portray them ‘in action’ and in an artistic way at the same time. But I didn’t just photograph them. I asked them these four questions: why did you leave Italy? How have you adapted here? Do you feel valued in your workplace? Do you think that the employment and social security of this country is good and that it promises well for the future? Everyone gave their own answers which I will report, in the exhibition, under each photo, both in Italian and English. Whoever will see the photos will also be able to learn the stories behind those images”.

What is the purpose of the exhibition, beyond the artistic fact?

“Raise awareness about migration and integration in Toronto through the experiences of each of us and enhance the great contribution that these people, just as all the ‘Italians’, have given to Toronto. And then, as I said before, make available these experiences of those who will arrive in the future”.

Olmo, you are also an “Italian in Toronto”: what is your story?

“I moved to Toronto in 2018, hoping to explore Canada by traveling and working. I was captured by the diversity this city offers between multiculturalism and job opportunities. So, I changed my plans and decided to consider Toronto as a city where you can establish a permanent base. Until now…”.

What do you mean… “until now”?

“This exhibition is my farewell to Toronto. I spent six years here and it was a positive experience: I studied photography in college and, above all, I rediscovered God. And this made me understand a lot of things. I will be back in Italy and then… who knows”.

Olmo (in the pic above) is a traveler. He has been around the world and “told it” with his camera (go and see his website www.olmofattorini.com) and it is difficult to imagine him “still” in Italy. While waiting to learn about his new adventures, all that remains is to visit his exhibition which, after the inauguration day (Thursday 13 June), will be open to visitors on Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 from 2pm to 7pm. The artist will always be present, while the other 17 “Italians” protagonists of his photos will be there on the opening day, when a buffet will be offered to all participants (here below, the exhibition poster with all the details).