Gaia was recently in Italy invited to paint a mural for Comune di Monno curated by ozmone and produced by toapasserby for Wall In Art at the behest of the Valle Camonica.

Titled “The Modern Condition”, the new mural portrays the image of two Italian immigrants shot by US sociologist and photographer Lewis Hine. Next to them we find the image of Saint Christopher (meaning “Christ-bearer”) usually depicted carrying a child, who was unknown to him until the child revealed himself as Christ. In this occasion the child (Christ) has been depicted wearing an emergency blanket, otherwise known as a ‘space blanket’ that connects the scene with the sculptural bust of Charles the Great or Charlemagne. The central figures are flanked by two methods of travel; an airplane on the left, and one of those steam boats commonly used to transfer Europeans to the then so-called New World.
Finally, the composition is flanked by two petroglyphs; Cernunnos, a celtic deity venerated by the Camuni people’s who once inhabited Valle Camonica, and the Kokopelli, a fertility figure venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States like the Hopi.
The mural with its rich symbology refers to the fact that the Italian diaspora was one of the largest diaspora of modern times, specially after the rise of Italian Fascism during the 1920s, as well as one last wave which can be observed after the end of World War II, roughly ending in the 1970s. This phenomenon created cultural enclaves aimed to protect Italian immigrants until they were able to assimilate the culture that hosted them.

According to Gaia, this mural stands as an empathetic reminder of the human necessity to migrate, whatever the reasons are, and specially having in consideration that today Europe as a whole struggles over the issue on how to deal with migration.

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Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.

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    • FranCacirano FranCacirano

      The thing with Gaia’s murals is that it takes you back to the origins of modern muralism with their social and political messages. It’s nit just art for art’s sake, it intends to send a message that is clear and direct.

      • scooj

        I like that. In Bristol, some of the less ‘high end’ graffiti art and street art carries clear and direct political messages. The walls offering a voice.