Trying to Come Back

Trying to Come Back

Rosi Maria Di Meglio
4th Year, Double Major – Art Education, Painting and Drawing

Porte D’Ischia I
16″ x 20″
Oil on wood

Porte D’Ischia II
8″ x 10″
Oil on linen

Artist Statement:

This series started as a research project, delving into my identity as an artist born from immigrant parents. I have never really felt I had a clear hold on my identity; digging deep and questioning why has become a clear goal of mine; wishing to uncover the roots of my identity. I began this research project by revisiting my past: my childhood, my adolescence, and my past marriage. I revisited these elements through memories and photographs.

This research deepened when I visited my parents’ hometown in Ischia, Italy, for the first time in 2016. I felt that I needed to discover this heritage of mine, my parents’ way of life in their hometown, to fully discover and see my own identity. I met my aunts, uncles, and cousins who I never knew I had. I was able to piece together and ultimately better understand my heritage and myself. I was able to recognize my parents’ way of life back in their own hometown and understand the differences between Canadian and European cultures.

These two paintings are part of a larger ongoing series exploring space and identity. Both paintings are reflections from my visit to Italy in 2016, depicting my experience at the Porte of Ischia, where locals still purchase fresh fish from the fishermen as they have done for centuries, and where I shared many memorable moments with my Aunt Fiorina.

My work begins through the lens of a camera; I believe it is important that my work derives from original photographs and memories. I then deconstruct and transform the photos I take and memories from that moment into an abstract painting filled with expression and movement. I use intuition to decide on colour, composition, and a layering process; these elements are made to grab the viewer into the canvas and transport the viewer. While articulating the thought process as it pertains to certain colours I used in my paintings is difficult, I can identify that my colour choices respond to memories of the naive girl I once was, with my use of pink and red tones; and in the green painting, with earth tones reflecting my healing process. The translucent appearance develops from layering thin layers of paint. The layers reveal shapes and forms that fascinate me because they are not part of the original composition. These shapes and forms rise to the surface and speak of uncertainty and wonder. The push-and-pull of the canvas between the foreground and the background is intriguing because it leaves me with a sense of space between these two grounds and the multiple layers that exist in between.

I chose to place these two paintings side by side because together they speak of a time of discovery and transformation for myself: an enlightening about my identity. They are inspiring and take me to a place where I feel safe and free. Together these works represent the transformative experiences I lived through, to become the woman I am today.