Hold on to Peace - Image courtesy Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Hold on to Peace - Image courtesy Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Colours (and Memory) Never Die

This acrylic and oil on canvas by Rodolfo Losani has drawn much positive comment.  The title is "Mangiare Memoria" and he writes "I colori non muoiono mai, come la memoria va nutrita per non dimenticare il passato".

(Source, website: Rodolfo Losani )
The grey area of the painting represents the brain.  While time passes and life might change, the colours, emotions and memory are nourished and therefore do not fade. 

Contributing Artists at Cassino, 2012

Legato 2012 Cassino, Italy 

For the third Cassino edition of Legato, the Monte Cassino Foundation's international exhibition for commemoration and peace, the artists from New Zealand, Canada and Italy were joined by a new artist from Canada and more Italian artists.  The New Zealand edition planned originally for Christchurch was cancelled after the devastating earthquake of 2011.

Next year the featured artist at Cassino is from Canada, and other international artists have been confirmed for Cassino in 2013 and 2014.

The following list of 2012 artists is from the guide to the works in the exhibition so some names are repeated where the work was hanging in different groupings.  Approximately 50 works by 24 artists were on display.

Entrance foyer and entry panels:

Prof Alessandro Nardone  -  Italy

Francesco Nardi   -  Italy

Ira Mitchell-Kirk  - New Zealand

Kay de Lautour  - New Zealand and Italy

Lorenzo Daniele Corsi  - Italy
Dr Danilo Salvucci  - Italy

Gail Boyle  - New Zealand

Raffaele D'Aquanno  - Italy

Side Wall 1:

Susan Edge  - New Zealand

Ann Fletcher  - New Zealand

Regan Balzer  - New Zealand

Bernadette McCormack  - Canada

Linda Dickens -  New Zealand

Kay de Lautour  - New Zealand and Italy

Pamela Barnard  - England and Italy

Margherita Giampietri  - Italy and New Zealand

Pamela Barnard  - England and Italy

Nancy Stevens  - Canada

Merv Appleton  - New Zealand

Peter Stott  - England and Italy

End wall:

Kay de Lautour  - New Zealand and Italy

Side Wall 2:

Sarah Scott  - New Zealand and USA

Alberto Mangiante  - Italy (original poster of the film "Monte Cassino")

Rocco Lancia - Italy

Anna Maria Corsi  - Italy

Agnes Presler  - Hungary and Italy

Sara Antonini  - Italy

Lorenzo Daniele Corsi  - Italy

Rocco Lancia  - Italy

Francesco Nardi  - Italy

Sara Antonini  - Italy

Rudolfo Rosani  - Italy

Dr Danilo Salvucci  - Italy

Gail Boyle  - New Zealand

Francesco Nardi - Italy

Art Book: Anzac Day Parade by Brenda Kane and Lisa Allen,  New Zealand

Reproductions of original wartime diary sketches and watercolour by the late Tom Howes, England

Copies of photographs from New Zealand wartime publications.

Organiser and Curator: Kay de Lautour Scott.

Publicity and opening event: Pro Loco Cassino. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Strong Impact Work Entitled "RED"

Among the more powerful works in Legato this year is this sculpture, "RED", by Anna Maria Corsi.  She writes: 

Carissimi genitori,... se questo è un uomo...
Storia di un reduce dal lager...

L'opera ad una prima lettura potrebbe esser difficilmente compresa.  
E' un assemblaggio di vari oggetti, ma che nel insieme vuole rappresentare la tragicità della guerra e in particolare dei prigionieri dei lager tedeschi. 
Mio nonno paterno si chiamava Lorenzo Corsi, fu fatto prigioniero in Grecia nelle ultime battaglie prima dell'Armistizio del 8 settembre, (era nel reparto "Sanità") fu deportato direttamente in Germania nella Westfalia, dove visse in uno dei campi sterminio. 
Riusci a scappare insieme ad un suo amico di Veroli con l'aiuto di un soldato austriaco che era di guardia e tornarono in patria dopo la fine della guerra, camminando tutto a piedi, per paura di essere ritrovati e fucilati, non sapendo che la guerra fosse finita. 
Fu un soldato cosi detto "IMI" (internati militari italiani) ovvero quelli che in maggioranza preferirono la prigionia nei lager tedeschi al passaggio dalla parte nazi-fascista. 
la gavetta e la lettera che scrisse dal campo ai genitori che si trova sull'opera erano le sue.
Si può vedere inciso la parola "RED" (fu di fede socialista), 
il filo spinato è il coloro rosso perché rappresenta il sangue versato dai milioni di morti di diversa fede politica, religiosa ed etnica, 
dai suoi racconti, ricordo che diceva il camice era l'unico indumento che lui indossava e mangiava soltanto neve e bucce di patate. 
non ricordo se fosse di colore nero, ma qui vuole rappresentare inevitabilmente il colore della morte.  

dedicato a mio nonno, 

Anna Maria Corsi.  

Dear Parents, ... if this is a man ...
Story of a survivor of the camps ...

The work at first sight is not easily understood.
It is an assemblage of different objects, but the whole is meant to represent the tragedy of war and in particular the prisoners of German concentration camps.
My paternal grandfather's name was Lorenzo Corsi. He was taken prisoner in Greece in the last battles before the Armistice of September 8, (in the "Health Department") and was deported directly to Germany in Westfalia, where he lived in one of the extermination camps.
He managed to escape, along with his friend from Veroli, with the help of an Austrian soldier who was on duty. He returned home after the war, walking all the way for fear of being discovered and shot, not knowing that the war was over.
He was a soldier so-called "IMI" (Italian military internees) or those who preferred interment in the German prison camp to becoming a Nazi-Fascist.
He was a soldier when he wrote the letter to his parents which is in this work.
You can see the word "RED" (he was a believer in socialism),
The barbed wire is red because it represents the blood shed by the millions (who were) of different political beliefs, religions and ethnicities.
From his stories, I remember him saying the shirt was the only garment he wore and ate only snow and potato peelings.  I do not remember if it was black, but here I have chosen black to represent the color of death.

dedicated to my grandfather....

Anna Maria Corsi.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Can Art Change the World?

French graphiti artist JR reports on his amazing project "Inside Out" one year down the track.  It is inspirational.  No profit, no logos, no credits... just people, energy and glue.  Watch these two videos, and see if you agree.

The original project video (on changing the world)

One year on.

He says "Don't tell me people are not ready for peace out there".  

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Stories of the Civilians

Today the watercolour painting of civilians arrived at Legato from another exhibition in Cassino.  Artist (and blog writer) Kay de Lautour writes of this work: 

I hope that this work has enough ambiguity to allow different interpretations of what could be happening.  This painting is a test piece for a much larger work.  It is taken directly from a photograph, with some modifications.  The source photograph is less ambiguous. It is part of a larger photograph of local civilians being driven out of their homes, with some changes to make the composition work. The women and the children formed a long train of cold and hungry residents with nowhere to go. I wonder, what nationality was the person who took the photograph? I am guessing, from the fear in the faces of the children, that it was a soldier. The woman in the photograph has a strong, resolute but also haunted look. 

With this painting I would like to inspire more questions than answers. The boy on foot is wearing what looks like an army uniform. It is far too big for him, but the sleeves are rolled up, perhaps to keep them out of the mud when he picks grasses to eat along the way, leaving his hands frozen. Why is the mother carrying the bigger boy when the little girl is crying? Is the child in her arms wounded? Is the little girl turning back to look for her own mother?

In the photograph there are several children, and only one adult. There are sacks of possessions along the path, and one imagines that she is hoping that someone will come to assist in this weary journey. The mud, the children with bare feet, the desolute nature of the travel give a sad and haunting image. I hope that there is a little more hope in my painting, that the person they have turned to might be bringing some hope and assistance to the group.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Official Presentation of Legato 2012

Guest speaker  Cathie McGregor, New Zealand Embassy, Rome, 
Deputy Chief of Mission (on right) with Legato curator and artist Kay de Lautour Scott.

Guest Robert Triozzi delights the visitors with an energetic discussion (in both English and Italian) of the merits of the game of rugby as a means to peace. 

Americans and Canadians listen to the presentation of the Cassino artists to the visitors.

Proloco Cassino, Michele Di Lonardo, presents artists Prof. Alessandro Nardone, Rafaelle D'Aquanno and Francesco Nardi to the viewers.  

Sunday 20th May was the official presentation of Legato to the public and invited dignitaries.  Visiting Canadians and Americans out-numbered the Italians present this busy weekend.  

Guest speaker Cathie McGregor, Deputy Chief of Mission, New Zealand Embassy, Rome,spoke of the links forged between Italy and New Zealand many years ao, that survived and were strengthened by shared wartime experience, and which flourish today.  She outlined briefly the numbers of New Zealand casualties in Italy and in Cassino in particular, then reminded visitors "how precious and hard won peace is",  and why we must all strive to protect it.  She concluded with the following adaptation of the Walter De La Mare poem, "Peace".   


Night is o'er (this place), and the winds are still;
Jasmine and honeysuckle steep the air;
Softly the stars that are all Europe's fill
Her heaven-wide dark with radiancy fair;
That shadowed moon now waxing in the west
Stirs not a rumour in her tranquil seas;
Mysterious sleep has lulled her heart to rest,
Deep even as theirs beneath her churchyard trees.

Secure, serene; dumb now the night-hawk's threat;
The guns' low thunder drumming o'er the tide;
The anguish pulsing in her stricken side....
All is at peace....But, never, heart, forget:
For this her youngest, best, and bravest died,
These bright dews once were mixed with bloody sweat.

"Peace" from Memory and Other Poems (1938)

(Link to this poem above in original form is here.  Thank you also to a visiting New Zealander for supplying the top photograph). 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Coming Together

The last paintings were hung this morning, and the works are looking wonderful.


The exhibition will be open daily until 31 May.  

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mother's Day is a Peace Movement.

Yesterday Italy, along with many other countries, celebrated Mother's Day.  This too began as a peace movement, started by Julia Ward Howe in 1870.  The proclamation is copied below.

Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,

The great and general interests of peace.


Perhaps it is appropriate that Legato, an exhibition promoting education for peace, was started by a woman profoundly affected seeing all the graves of the young men at Cassino, who could only think, trying to hold back her tears, "each one of these young men had a mother". Out of the devastation of war we must build international bridges, strive for reconciliation when we remember the history, and honour those who died by working for peace.

Governments find all the money they need to go to war; peace movements ask for little in comparison. Women, you are voters and politicians. You can make a difference on mother's day and every day. Unite with other women, and like-minded men, and teach your children that education, tolerance, and the equitable distribution of resources is more important than military power. "Charity, mercy and patience" wrote Julia Ward Howe. These words are no longer in fashion. Let's bring them back again.

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a cake stall to buy a bomber" (Author unknown).

Some might argue that historically some of the toughest politicians leading countries into war were women, but I would argue that the peace movement begins in the home, where the mothers have the most influence on their children.


My thanks go to blog writer Alison Sampson for her inspirational post Cake Stalls and Fighter Jets.

(Peace rose image and tea towel images from google images search, owners of the original images unknown).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

From Film to Canvas

Agnes Preszler's powerful and challenging portraits for Legato are drawn from the film "La Ciociara", or as it is known in English, "Two Women".

She writes: "Two women" scenes (2 pieces 40x50cm) remind us that in every war both parts may commit vile actions as the war pulls out the violent self of the man, brutalizes mankind. Also, the civilian population has always to pay an enormous price, especially the helpless: women, children and old people.

Motivazione: Le due scene del film "La Ciociara" ci ricordano che nella guerra entrambi le parti possono commettere azioni vili, in quanto la guerra tira fuori dall'uomo il suo lato peggiore, rende brutali. La popolazione civile in particolare deve pagare un altissimo prezzo, specialmente i deboli: donne, bambini, anziane.

Agnes Preszler

Agnes Preszler was born in 1961 in Budapest, where in 1988 she obtained the ITA (Information Technology Architect) degree at the Financial and Computistic Academy. In Hungary she worked in computer centres and at the Hungarian State Television.

In 1990 she married an Italian citizen and now lives in Veroli (Lazio), 80 km from Rome.
She is a webmaster. Among her clients are the Museum of the Ancient Book in Villa d'Este, Tivoli and the Casamari Abbey.

She is also a correspondent for Ciociaria Oggi and collaborates with the Civis cultural magazine. In 2005 she won the Inars Ciociaria international journalism prize.

She has translated poetry into Italian, and in 2007, on commission of the Kalligram Editor (Bratislava - Budapest) she translated into Hungarian "Impure acts - Amado mio" by Pier Paolo Pasolini. This is the first literary work of Pasolini ever published in the Hungarian language.