Floating Between Liberty and Vesuvius (Gallegiando fra La Libertà e Vesuvio), 2011
street-made paper, bronzed gloves, found objects, sheet music; 32.5 x 22.5 x2.25 inches
Images courtesy of the Coppola Familty Trust, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College
Following the Thread 11: Giovanna Forte
Giovanna Forte was the artist's great grandmother, who came here in 1901. This is one of 15 panels from Amore's master work, Lifeline, Filo della Vita
The red thread that runs through the work above was a Neapolitan tradition in departure, as described by the native poet Luciano De Crescenzo:
“Many immigrants had brought on board balls of yarn, leaving one end of the line with someone on land. As the ship slowly cleared the dock, the balls unwound amid the farewell shouts of the women, the fluttering of handkerchiefs, and the infants held high. After the yarn ran out, the long strips remained airborne, sustained by the wind long after those on land and those at sea had lost sight of each other.”
Glove Globe, 2017
found gloves cold cast in bronze, papier maché, acrylic, wood; 37 x 31 x 7 inches
Amore: Standing in Two Worlds at the Same Time
My Italian identity is interwoven with who I am as a person, an artist, a writer. I grew up living with my grandmother and her sister who always spoke Italian with my mother. I knew that all of the important issues were discussed in Italian, and made sure, even as a small child, that I listened carefully and quietly. The women also spoke in English with us. Italian culture, art, and literature were part of my formative years, strengthened by a year of study at the University of Rome.
Much of my mature work has involved looking into the theme of immigration as the quintessential odyssey. Most of us are either immigrants or progeny of immigrants. When we remember this, it puts us in touch with the realities of the labor, suffering, and dreams of those who journeyed here with the hope of a new and different kind of life.
In my work, the immigrant journey becomes the metaphor for the entire human journey. The presence of two languages and two cultures in my home of origin awakened early an appreciation of duality–in the unique aspect of standing in two worlds at the same time. I am interested in the relationship between human perception and the influences of one’s heritage, both in the near and distant past. We carry the history of our families and our cultures in our psyches as well as in our genes. The effects of this are sometimes overtly acknowledged but they are often subtly present even if they are not recognized.
This life research led me to create a major multi-media exhibit for the Ellis Island Immigration Museum entitled Lifeline, Filo della Vita: An Italian American Odyssey, which explored a century of Italian immigration. It eventually became a bilingual book published by Fordham Press.
My work has evolved from its origins in carved forms and public sculpture to complex installations involving text, ancestral artifacts, alternative photo processes, stone, fabric, and the found object transformed. The installations and assemblages often appear to be meditations on the layered nature of existence. They are sculptural ruminations, which bridge the past and the present.
My newest series, Street Calligraphies, incorporates found gloves that have been cold cast in bronze which still evoke the mysterious presence of the lost owner. Although the gloves always retain their original gesture, they are combined with other enigmatic elements from city streets and transformed through the artistic process into works of art. Glove Globe speaks to our incontrovertible interdependence. Each glove has its own unique history and nature but becomes part of the whole which creates our intertwined life on this planet. This fact has become abundantly clear as we navigate the Covid 19 pandemic.
B. Amore in her studio