Federico, Michelangelo, Igor, Dora, Willy and others are the protagonists, with their compelling and yet utterly diverse stories, of the “Stories of Children” exhibition.
Each of them occupies a display structure, with around 12 original drawings of the illustrated and already-published books, allowing the visitor to enter into the fascinating world of these characters.
The book “Agata Smeralda” was conceived on the occasion of the exhibition itself and was published by the Franco Cosimo Panini publishing house in Modena. It is, of course, the flagship book of this initiative.
“Agata Smeralda” came about after the artist Letizia Galli visted the Istituto degli Innocenti di Firenze. “Entering this place that I was unfamiliar with,” – reveals Letizia Galli –”I discovered this world that had been untouched for centuries, born from the will and generosity of exceptional people during the early Renaissance in Florence and aimed at providing refuge to the many children who were bought into the world, only to be abandoned due to necessity or rejection. It provoked a real emotional shock in me. The citizens of Florence wanted to offer the orphans and the poor a real safe-haven, appointing the most famous architect of the time, Filippo Brunelleschi, to oversee the project. Even before this discovery, my ‘Stories of Children’, being the characters of my books, narrated very particular situations, from the most extreme poverty (Igor and Abdou) to the dreams of those children who fought to become genius adults (Federico, Michelangelo, etc.), to those in distress (Dora), who triumph because of their own courage. The tale of Agata came to me right after that visit. It recounts, in a totally imaginary way, the life of the first child left in the baby hatch of the hospital and the determination to rely solely on their own autonomy of thought in evolving throughout the course of their existence. It is a sort of magic thread and an extended universe, connecting to the many other stories of children, orphaned or otherwise, who are presented in the exhibition.”
The exhibition will offer to the visitors and especially children, numerous points for reflection, on geographic realities and different existences of children today and yesterday. Diversity will be one of the main topics addressed as an object of analysis, while empathy will certainly be an emotional objective. Each of us will be led to share in the stories of these young lives, having different origins and cultures, destined to face harsh trials of existence. Today, as in the past, following on from the 19th-century closure of the ‘baby hatch’, the Istituto degli Innocenti provides refuge, protection and support to children, mothers and families in difficulty. “It is to them, but not only,” – continues Letizia Galli – “that we wanted to dedicate the ‘Stories of Children’ exhibition, which will take place in various historical structures founded in the name of refuge, in Naples, Venice, Rome, Milan and, of course, the Innocenti in Florence.”
The experiences of these children and of Agata Smeralda tell us that all children dream, hope and desire a better future.
The open and modern vision that the Renaissance managed to create, disseminate and maintain throughout the centuries will be transported all around through the series of “Stories of Children” exhibitions.
The exhibition will be open daily from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
More info: bit.ly/2i6Fu08