Salgado in Cammino - Scuderia Papale

I went with my 'sister' Federica Berlingieri to the Scuderie Papali al Quirinale. Originally it was home to Italy's Popes, then the Italian Royal Family (before becoming a Republic) and is now home to the Italian President,but the name Scudarie Papali remains. This area of the palace was closed for years and I was incredibly excited to visit this restored building, by the architect Gae Aulenti, opening for the first time with the Hermitage Collection and now with this second exhibition "Salgado in Cammino"(29 june-3 september 2000) 300 photos on two floors with huge rooms. On entering the building you are faced with a long, wide corridor. On one side is a lovely bookshop containing beautifully-illustrated art books, what are called "coffee table books" (books, in fact to die for!!!) There is also a video room and a stone 'staircase' gradually sloping (but no actual steps) which I believe was used by the horses and carriages.(Scuderia means "horses' stable" and is probably one of the most famous in the world housing, as it did, the horses of the Popes - holy horses!!! The panels of the exhibition were so sited as to reveal the emblem of the Pope on the original walls. The emblem is the one which is to be seen (with the two crossed keys) on the facade of all buildings belonging to the church. I was fascinated to be in the same place as the Pope's Horses, ("all the King's horses, all the King's men, he rode them up to the top of the hill and rode them down again" from the famous poem about the Grand Old Duke of York!!!) Coming, as I have, from a part of Brazil I am incredibly lucky to be able to see all these places and 'taste' the history of the Italian people.

Through the windows of the exhibition room you can see the entrance of the President's palace ( flying the flag to show he is in residence) with a fantastic obelisk from Egypt. The Quirinale is in a top of one of the "Seven Hills of Rome" with a beautiful overall view of Rome. Also, from the exhibition room, I was amused to see the magnificent house and gardens of Giovanni Agnelli ('Fiat'), considered to be Italy's Royal Family as the Kennedy's are for America. Silvio Berlusconi - one of the richest men in the world - said "I 'm more fortunate than Agnelli as I do not have such a huge family"!!! What I think Silvio meant was that having a small family he did not have to pay out so much money to his family as Agnelli, but on the other hand he has to pay a lot of 'Yes' people and someone has to sample his food in case he is poisoned. So at the end of the day he is really the worst off. Agnelli - like the Kennedy's - has family problems: drugs, tragic deaths and illness - like a Greek tragedy!!! Power, money and tragedy, reminiscent of the film "Bread, Love and Dreams". Believe it or not, I have been in the same room as Agnelli and his entourage at the Frank Sinatra concert in Rome. He was sitting two rows behind me. I was in white and with a long hair extension I LOOKED REALLY WONDERFUL and I noticed him and his family looking at - I DID FEEL GORGEOUS. My ex-husband has just left me so I had to be the most beautiful woman there.

Perhaps they could smell me because I had on a whole bottle of Diva perfume. Then I saw him L'AVVOCATO, as the Italian press call him, at an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. Anyway, his gardens and his Rome house were delightful to my eyes.

The exhibition at the Scudarie "SALGADO IN CAMMINO" is about the moving of millions of people in five continents, - for whatever reason for - war, ethnic cleansing, poverty, lack of water,"El Nino", in "road to nowhere".

Sebastiao Salgado is one of the great photographers of our time, of his generation. He is Brazilian and lives in Paris with his wife Lelia Wanick Salgado the organiser of the exhibition You can see the photos of the exhibition on this web site, called: Esodos-Exodus. He took seven years to complete this work in more than 50 countries.

Of course, some of the exhibition applied to me as I am an immigrant myself. In fact I do not have a house here and this makes me feel more than lost. Although I am an immigrant here, as I left Brazil more than 30 years ago, believe it or not, when I return I feel an immigrant there!!! Moving between Rome, Brazil and England for the past 30 years I seem to have lost my identity and my roots. I am so confused that I don't know where I live: London, because of my mother; Rome where I had my daughter; and Brazil where I was born: I don't know which one to choose as I have lived in all three countries.
Of course, it is very sad and disgraceful this moving people around the world: LOS DESESPERADOS: the faces of pain, loss, torment, anger, grief, worry,etc. I liked very much the photo in "Istiglal Mosque", Jakarta-Indonesia 1996 - one of the biggest in the world - where more than 10,000 men can pray but NOT WOMEN!!!

Verinha Ottoni.


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