A self-managed workshop, in one of the many spaces inside of the former military base “Caserma Piave” where a group of asylum seekers and refugees express themselves with handwork discovering design as a narrative form. The project is born from an idea of Fabrizio Urettini, designer and art-director and arises from the activities supported by CSO Django, which is struggling to promote bottom-up refugees-accommodation practises.
The project aims to create an integration process addressed to asylum seekers and refugees by combining manual activity (preparatory to professional integration but also to artistic expressiveness) and taking into account their own story, homeland, journey and expectations.This project offers a number of services whose goal is to strengthen integration and job opportunities. Besides, the project wishes to make available a meeting place for play and motion, able to involve asylum seekers, refugees, permanent resident immigrants, volunteers, and civil society’s associations as well.
Can we drain the sea with a bucket? Can we count the sand grains of the desert? Can we stop the grasshoppers who migrate? No, we can not. Modern man believes he can overcome disease and death, perhaps conquering immortality, but his pride will be punished. It is easier to plan the mountains than to stop the moving peoples, and it is only “The wicked, in his pride, doth hotly pursue the afflicted” Psalm 10:2.The migrants arrive, and will continue to arrive until there are wars and famines to ravage Africa, the continent where everything has begun. There are no cross-links that can stop those who are hungry and thirsty, nor warships that can sink all the inflatables that want to cross the Mediterranean, nor cruel police to stop anyone who has nothing more.
If so, what can we do? We can only try to accommodate our brothers of color, with the aim of fostering their integration. And we must work to ensure that they are accepted, non-discriminated or despised. There are many things to do, but two are of utmost importance: learning the language and working. But speaking the language (maybe the dialect) is not enough: the true “religion” of Veneto is work. Show in the facts that those who come here want to work, make their contribution to the community, despite the folly of laws that condemn the inertia, the boredom of the young people in the full force.Talking Hands starts from here: from working, and talking, with hands.
Hands capable of snapping but also sewing, piercing, but also painting. The workshop created in Treviso gives you the opportunity to experience, to enhance existing skills, to begin an insertion path. The proof is in the photos you see in these pages: cushions, chairs, stools, children’s cottages, even reflexive jackets. In the former barracks “Piave”, Talking Hands works, produces, offers dignity to people. A structure without aid, in the mistrust of the authorities, the result of an extraordinary reception and action capacity of civil society.Talking Hands is a project that should be an example for everyone, an experiment to be replicated in every city of Italy, a more urgent and necessary model when landings continue every day. All we have to do is hope that local politicians and administrators understand it quickly. Otherwise, as the Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” Proverbs 16:18.
“Rifúgiati” are micro-spaces for children. Drawn by designer Matteo Zorzenoni in collaboration with Talking Hands Project, the artefacts are characterized by a strong graphic connotation.Recycled materials are enriched by typical African textures which have been reinterpreted from a contemporary viewpoint, thus giving life to micro domestic architectures.
“Woven Stories” Studio Zanellato BortottoA project under development that aims to valorize the manual and creative capabilities of the refugee group.Many of them are skilled embroiderers. Others weave ropes in an always unexpected and pleasant mix of colors and patterns.The designers focused on this aspect to create a serie of products such as shopping bags, low tables and containers, distinguished by bright wooden structure and woven ropes surfaces.
Alta Visibilità (High Visibility) is a collection of reversible safety jackets where one of the two sides is decorated with African fabrics. High-visibility clothing (HV), or safety jacket, is a garment that lets you perceive a person’s presence. Classified as work equipment, it usually finds employment in the most vulnerable professional categories, such as street workers and shipyards.Over the past two years, the safety jacket has become a symbolic uniform of asylum seekers and refugees in Italy. If you see a boy walking or riding a bicycle wearing a fluorescent vest, in the vast majority of cases he is a refugee who participated in a road safety course held by local police and received a safety vest.
Alta Visibilità: a typically neutral object, focused exclusively on functionality, is customized to gain aesthetic value and make the wearer more aware.The uniform – which in fashion literature is often studied as an element that signals identity and belonging to a community – assumes a further meaning: a workwear, born to make it easy to identify and recognize who wears it, becomes a visibility indicator for that group of individuals – such as refugees and asylum seekers – that society tends to ignore or pretend not to see.
Blue Carpet, is the participatory planning workshop that Talking Hands made during the last summer, every week the activities move into a public park, the garden of Dalmazia street. The park people was involved in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, many asyl seekers were part of the crew but also resident, retirees and citizens who spontaneously offered their help.A blue carpet who represent the world, a planisphere that extends under the feet, a cartography of the existance, a testimony of the journey and the arrival in a new country. A carpet because under each carpet there is a house.
Fabrizio Urettini graphic designer and art director born in Treviso. His field of research goes from the ideation of corporate identity for public and private firms to the curatorship and communication for cultural events and expos. Founder of “Spazio XYZ” (2008-2012), a plural exhibition space devoted to the different expressive forms of applied arts, has over 40 expo projects developed through collaborations with important international designers, illustrators and photographers. The only Italian space covered by Art Spaces (New Museum - New York). He has collaborated with several important institutions such as the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IUAV University, Northenden College (Manchester), Fondazione Benetton, Werkbund Archive, Fondazione Corrente and the Milano City Council. Since 2008 he has been collaborating with Fototeca Gilardi for the realization of the first anthology of Ando Gilardi. Since 2016 he is the founder and the artistic director of Talking Hands - Con le mani mi racconto. Pictures by Matteo De Mayda e Michele Amaglio.