All posts by nico gareri

a student of life

The exhibit

Starting today and continuing for the next 24 days, I will post the 24 images that were exhibited in Gagliato as a part of NanoGagliato 2011 – one image per day. Today’s post will present the Artists’ Statement that accompanied the photographs.

Please feel free to comment on any or all of the images.


[Click on the image if you’d like to see an enlarged version.]

NanoGagliato 2011 Artists' Statement

Thank you!

I am happy to report that the site just reached 6,150 “hits” since the date it was revamped (back in November 2010). So, a B-I-G T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U! Of course, this number does NOT include the 28,000+ spam visits/messages that the system automatically deleted.

Keep on visiting! And, maybe we can start getting more feedback/comments?


More Photos… Part III – NanoGagliato Opening Night

I am so disappointed that I was unable to attend this beautiful event.

Many people worked very hard for long periods of time to make the event a reality. And, judging from the photographs, it looked like the participants enjoyed themselves and the town was very proud to host the event.

Take a look at the photographs to get a very brief glimpse of the evening’s festivities:

… Palazzo Romiti was the place to be

… Food prepared by the residents of Gagliato

… Visitors from around the World

… Prof. Mauro Ferrari, Mrs. Paola Ferrari and Jo Ann Fleischhauer worked with the residents to make it all happen. It is so obvious that the Ferraris are enamoured with Gagliato and that Gagliato has embraced them.

I would like to take this opportunity to again thank Prof. Mauro Ferrari, Mrs. Paola Ferrari and Jo Ann Fleischhauer for allowing Stephanie and I to be a part of NanoGagliato 2011. The process with us began in October of 2010 and culminated with photographs created and delivered to Jo Ann (in Houston) in July and she then personally transported them to Gagliato. It is obvious that great care went into the selection and preparation of the gallery space and the setup appeared to naturally blend in with the rustic surroundings. Our photographs looked amazing in the cantina. Thanks again. And, we would like to extend a big thank-you to the Romitis for graciously hosting the gallery.

Enjoy these 36 images (courtesy of Jo Ann Fleischhauer) that I have selected from the opening night… there are many to choose from and I will post more in the future. But, for now…

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More pictures from Gagliato… Part II – Preparation of the town for NanoGagliato

In anticipation of NanoGagliato 2011, Jo Ann Fleischhauer and Paola Ferrari along with several volunteers from Gagliato prepared the town with large canvas images depicting selections of nano-subjects. The canvas images were placed on the same buildings/structures that were featured in the photography exhibit which took place inside Palazzo Romiti (July 23rd – August 7th).

There are 39 images in the slideshow that follows (compliments/courtesy of Jo Ann Fleischhauer):

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Finally… some pictures from Gagliato… Part I – Photography Exhibit

I am so happy to share with you some images that have been sent to me by Jo Ann Fleischhauer.

This first set presents the exhibit set up in the cantina of Palazzo Romiti.

Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, Stephanie and I were unable to attend. But, these images show the obvious care, attention and creativity put into the framing, set up and presentation. Stephanie and I are very proud and truly thankful. We will reserve our full “thank you” until all of the selected sets have been presented on this blog.

There are 28 images in this slideshow.

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Another successful NanoGagliato…

I heard through the grapevine that the 2011 edition of NanoGagliato was a resounding success! Kudos to the organizers and to the people of Gagliato for their immense contributions and hard work… no wonder it was a success.

For my part, I carefully prepared 24 images that were exhibited in the cantina of Palazzo Romiti. I must admit, it was painful for me to work so hard at something and then not see it in its final form. Of course, I’m not blaming anyone for me missing it. The event simply conflicted with many other personal commitments and I could not make the long and time intensive voyage.

I would like to thank the organizers for allowing Stephanie’s and my work to be a part of this year’s event. And I would be remiss if I do not mention and thank Jo Ann Fleischhauer for her initiative, guidance and direction… and for taking so much care transporting our images to Gagliato and setting up the exhibit.

If you got a chance to see the exhibit or attended NanoGagliato, please write to to share your experiences.

I will have more to share soon.

Ciao for now,


NanoGagliato 2011 presents Poetic Scales: From Sand to Stones

I encourage all residents of Gagliato and visitors during this time to participate:


NanoGagliato 2011 presents Poetic Scales: From Sand to Stones, a multi layered art exhibition and visual dialogue between the residents of Gagliato, the scientists of NanoGagliato and Nicola and Stephanie Gareri from Toronto, Canada.

This exhibition weaves together photographs of Gagliato’s rich architectural past with large scale images of current explorations in nanoscience. An imaginative textual dialogue takes place between the residents of Gagliato and the visiting scientists using art as a bridge between people of different cultures and lifestyles.

Nico and Stephanie Gareri of Toronto, Canada, have captured Gagliato’s rich, poetic, architectural history in elegantly lush black+white photographic images. Presented suspended from the wooden ceiling beams in the frantoio of Palazzo Romiti, the Gareris’ photographs speak of visual memories and archeological poems steeped in history and family stories forgotten or never revealed.

Complementing the images produced by the Gareris, an exhibition of large-scale nano tapestries have been installed on the walls throughout the streets of Gagliato. “Tiny” nano structures captured with highly sophisticated imaging techniques have been enlarged and presented as nanobillboards or tapestries. Vibrantly colored using computer software, the once b/w microscopy images take on the appearance of exotic abstract landscapes. The “visual” conversation was created when the residents of Gagliato were asked to imaginatively respond to the exhibited nanoimages with short verbal phrases. After reading the residents’ remarks, the scientists offered their own creative responses, as well as a short explanation of what the scientific photograph actually was. Using a variety of fonts and lettering styles, the text was integrated into the images, to function as another visual layer.

The locations captured in the Gareris’ photographs pinpoint the locations of the nanotapestries. As the viewer walks through the streets searching for the nanoimages, the viewer begins to discover a layer of Gagliato’s personal story and poetry. The Grand Opening of the exhibition is set for Saturday July 23rd, at Palazzo Romiti (corner of via Roma and via Regina Margherita), around 8 pm. The ladies of Gagliato will offer traditional dishes, in the town’s welcome to the NanoGagliatesi 2011. The exhibit will run through August 7th.

The above information was taken from the NanoGagliato 2011 site at

NanoGagliato 2011

Where will you be at 8:00 p.m. this coming Saturday?

If you happen to be in Gagliato, drop in at the opening reception for NanoGagliato 2011 at Palazzo Romiti – at the corner of Via Roma and Via Regina Margherita.

Unconfirmed events will include the following:

1. Photography exhibition in the cantina – photos by Nicola and Stephanie Gareri.

2. Photo installation throughout the lower part of town (‘u Pandinu) by Jo Ann Fleischhauer.

3. Introduction of the NanoGagliato speakers and program.

Food and refreshments will be provided by the residents of Gagliato.

More information can be found at the site dedicated to NanoGagliato 2011.

150 – Il Valore Dell’Unità

Caro Nicola,

come ti avevo preannunciato, il 16 ed il 17 luglio si svolgerà, a Gagliato la manifestazione “150-Il valore dell’unità” dedicata ai 150 anni della storia d’Italia. Ciò ci è servito per cominciare a testare delle forme di collaborazione tra i vari soggetti presenti sul territorio ovvero il Consiglio Pastorale, L’amministrazione Comunale, le associazioni culturali De Luca ed Ergon e la Pro-Loco.  La creazione di questo evento ci dice che la strada è quella giusta intanto ti allego la locandina che ti prego di pubblicare sul tuo sito.

Un sincero abbraccio

Domenico Aspro

Upcoming Photo Exhibit In Gagliato

Well, hello everyone!

So sorry for the absence and inactivity, but I’ve been hard at work preparing a photo exhibit that will take place in Gagliato.

At the moment, the plans include an opening reception on July 23rd and the exhibit is slated to run until August 13th. The exhibition is a part of an art installation for NanoGagliato 2011 and will be curated by the person responsible, artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer, who hails from Houston, Texas.

More information will be made available over the coming days, and more details will be provided about NanoGagliato 2011.

So, just wanted to say hello!



Malocchio (The Evil Eye)

Well, I’m temporarily back!

I am very busy preparing a photo exhibit and uninterrupted time is essential (details will follow at some point); but, I’ve had this “thing” floating in my head, so I must share.

A while back, Francesco Pitaro published a book about the history, folklore, tradition and culture of Gagliato. It’s written in Italian; and, because of that, I have to be honest – I’ve only skimmed the book and I have not yet completed the full reading. Unfortunately, I packed away the book over a year ago (when I moved my studio) and I have yet to unpack it. However, I recall one section – where he writes about the malocchio, or, for those of you who do not read/understand Italian – the evil eye. When I find the book, I will actually translate the section and post it here.

In the meantime, I think this particular aspect of Gagliato culture and tradition is extremely interesting. So, I’d like to share what’s in my head about the subject.

Except for two women whom I know still practice the ritual of exorcising the malocchio (and who shall remain nameless), I remember of several individuals (may they rest in peace) who very effectively helped me in my hour of need. Yes, I admit it, I have been afflicted with the evil eye!

My paternal grandmother was one. She was a very tiny woman – born in 1903 and fully illiterate until the day she died. When she joined the family here in Canada, I was about 10 years old. She was very protective of me and would accompany me everywhere, including helping me with my paper route and walking me to school; and she was very content to accompany me to church so that I could serve Mass – every day at 7:00am sharp at St. John Bosco church (Dufferin St. & Rogers Rd. in Toronto). I remember that she always sat at the first pew on the east side of the church. In those days, Mass was celebrated predominantly in Latin. Well, my grandmother would stand through the entire process and would recite every word of the Mass, be it in Italian or Latin, concurrently with Father Pileggi! It irritated him to no end, but he was always amazed at how she could do that, given her lack of literacy. Well, given her deep religious beliefs, the other thing she did well was to exorcise/remove the malocchio. I recall that she was proficient in the two main methods still used today – straight prayer and prayer combined with the use of oil and water.

The straight prayer method involves citing a combination of prayers and phrases in quiet solitude with a mental focus on the afflicted individual. If the individual is present, the sign of the cross would be thumbed onto the person’s forehead and on each shoulder (representing the Holy Trinity). If the person is truly afflicted by the malocchio, the exorcist would yawn and shed tears while transference would take place. At a certain point, the person afflicted is asked to freely make the sign of the cross three times with his/her left hand and each time utter the words (translation) “evil eye be removed!”

The other method involves the same set of prayers but at several specific points in the process, the exorcist would dab a finger in oil and allow the oil to drip from the finger onto a dish or bowl full of water. Well, scientifically, what should happen to that drop of oil if released onto water? Try it and see – generally, that drop should expand slightly but remain distinctly and circularly contained and float around, amoeba-like. However, in the exorcism ritual, two possibilities exist – either the drops would remain distinct and float (representing NO evil eye present) OR it would visually dissipate and rush to the perimeter of the dish (signifying that the person is afflicted). If afflicted, and to complete the process of the removal of the “spell”, the oil and water would be discarded. I recall that Francesco Pitaro wrote that in days of old, the oil and water would be discarded onto a public space (such as a road) so that the spell would be transferred in reduced strength to the first person to walk onto or through the discarded water and oil! Not very nice, but effective, I guess.

Depending on the severity of the affliction, the process would have to be repeated and or other exorcists solicited to reinforce and accelerate the healing (by repeating the steps).

Some say that the evil eye spelled by a woman is stronger and worse than that of a man. But, I have been assured by exorcists that the gender of the person imposing the spell cannot be determined by the process. Also, the evil eye does not have to be necessarily malicious – it could be rooted in simple envy.

I also have been told that the “license” (for lack of a better word) to perform the exorcism ritual may be passed on to new recruits; but, such can only occur on Holy days, and specifically on Holy Thursday (the day commemorating the Last Supper).

So, the above is what I know or have been told. I am certain that there may be variations on the theme, but the existence of the ritual is definitely real. And, it’s not just a Gagliato-thing. I have had occasion to discuss such with individuals from other towns throughout the “boot” and they have confirmed its practice.

And, by the way, the telling signs of an affliction – generally headache, nausea, and lethargy.

Any thoughts or contributions?

“A Scialata” (Pasquetta)

After we arrived from Italy (1964), I recall that for many years my Gareri (Vince and Frank and sometimes Domenic) cousins and I would get together on Easter Mondays to celebrate – a scialata – as I remember the term (in literal translation – “the pleasing“). Today, I only hear the more popular term – Pasquettaliterally, “little Easter“. Our venue was always Fairbanks Park on Dufferin Street (Toronto), just south of Eglinton Avenue. Our mothers armed us with i cuzzupi (Easter sweetbread with hard-boiled eggs, still in the shell, embedded), amongst other traditional goodies. We played games and then ate, and then played again – the entire day. In very simple terms, it was a picnic amongst childhood friends. Simple times carried over from our time growing up in Gagliato.

Just thought of sharing that with you.

Buona Pasquetta to all.

150 Years of Unity – 150 Anni di Unità

Ho ricevuto una mail da Domenico Aspro (Gagliato) nella quale ha comunicato che l’associazione De Luca, l’associazione Ergon, la Pro-Loco, il Consiglio Pastorale della parrocchia San Nicola Vescovo e l’Amministrazione Comunale stanno organizzando per giorno 17 luglio 2011 la “Giornata dei 150 anni” (il titolo definitivo lo comunicherà con l’intero programma) dedicata agli emigranti. E scrive che questa iniziativa e’ molto voluta al fine di cominciare a trovare momenti di collaborazione fra tutti i soggetti operanti a Gagliato. Hanno scelto il tema dell’Unità d’Italia quale auspicio di unità e condivisione fra tutti i gagliatesi presenti ed assenti.

Ho speranza e fiducia ch’è arrivato il momento adatto per mettere via ogni divisione che per tanti anni è esistita all’interno della nostra comunità.


2011 is the 150th Anniversary of the unification of Italy, and so it’s a year of celebration! Despite the fact that the “official date” was on March 17th, the majority of the celebratory events will take place between March and November.

And, because of the hard work of many individuals, our own Gagliato will be hosting an official “Giornata dei 150 anni“, tentatively set for July 17, 2011. The date and the specific program and “title” of the celebration will be announced in the near future. The tentative working date was established to facilitate the involvement of the various organizing committees – from the Cultural Association Gianni De Luca, the Cultural Association Ergon, the Pro-Loco Committee, the Pastoral Counsel of the San Nicola Vescovo Church and the Administration of the Comune. And yes, for the very first timethis will be a joint effort. According to Domenico Aspro, the theme of the Unification of Italy was chosen as a harbinger of unity and sharing among all Gagliato present and absent. The day will be dedicated to all emigrants.


The official unification day was March 17, 1861. After the independent states came together, the union became known as the Kingdom of Italy. Yes – “King-dom” – because a King was declaredVittorio Emanuele II. And the seat of the first parliament was in Torino, not Rome. The “Kingdom of Italy” remained thus until 1946, when Italy became a Republic.

During these first 150 years, Italy had 4 kings during the initial 85 years, all from the House of Savoy:

  • Vittorio Emanuele II (1861-78) was the former King of Sardegna and became the first King of Italy;
  • Umberto I (1878-1900) was the King who approved the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary and was assassinated in 1900;
  • Vittorio Emanuele III (1900-46) was King during the First and Second World Wars, including the period under the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini;
  • Umberto II (1946) was the last King of Italy and went into exile after a referendum which transformed Italy into a parliamentary republic.

And, since becoming La Repubblica Italiana (1946), there have been 11 different Presidents, 54 different Prime Ministers, and 16 Legislatures (elections).


So, this is your “heads-up” on this very unique event. If there ever was or will be a “perfect” time to visit our home town, this will be it!

Pietre di pane – Un’antropologia del restare

[This post has been UPDATED to include an English version immediately following the Italian original.]

Sono molto contento di avere ricevuto da Gagliato un post dal nostro caro amico Domenico Aspro – ecco le sue parole:

Caro Nicola,

Come ti avevo promesso ecco una breve sintesi della manifestazione organizzata dall’associazione “Gianni De Luca” per la presentazione del libro Pietre di pane -Un’antropologia del restare scritto dal prof. Vito Teti ordinario della cattedra di Etnologia dell’Università della Calabria.

E’ un libro che consiglierei a tutti voi che vivete in Canada perché è ambientato tra Toronto e San Nicola da Crissa (la comunità di San Nicola e molto numerosa nella zona dell’Ontario). Parla della difficoltà di vivere nei nostri piccoli paesi oramai abbandonati ed allo stesso tempo fa vedere, come la prima generazione emigrata in Canada abbia cercato in tutti i modi di ricostruire, in terra straniera, il proprio paese, con tradizioni e manifestazioni, in cui certamente anche la comunità gagliatese si potrà riconoscere. La lettura del libro mi ha emozionato poiché sembra essere scritto a Gagliato, cambiano i personaggi ma la struggente malinconia è la stessa.

La presentazione si è svolta il 10 di aprile all’interno della Pizzeria Ristorante “Galatos” e dopo una mia breve introduzione c’è stato un intervento del prof. Vito Pirruccio, gagliatese, che ha commosso tutti i partecipanti in quanto, con l’input del libro, ha richiamato una parte della storia del nostro paese, con le sue consuetudini, i suoi tipici personaggi (sampavularu, coddararu, ecc) e la malinconia di un tempo che non c’è più.

Il libro è stato stampato alla fine di febbraio del 2011 è la data di Gagliato è la prima uscita ufficiale e di questo, io e la mia associazione ne andiamo orgogliosi. Il libro, inoltre, verrà presentato alla “Salone del libro di Torino” la fiera per eccellenza dei più importanti scrittori internazionali. Il prof. Teti uno dei più importanti antropologi del meridione, originario di San Nicola da Crissa, è molte volte venuto a Toronto (molto conosciuto nella sua comunità) dove ha prodotto un documentario per la RAI.

La partecipazione della gente è stata numerosa e questo ci fa ben sperare per il prosieguo delle nostre attività culturali.

A conclusione di quanto riportato, il mio augurio è che la comunità gagliatese in Canada faccia sentire, di più, la sua voce sul tuo sito e attraverso il tuo importante lavoro si possa costruire l’intera comunità dei gagliatesi, anche se solo in un luogo virtuale. Come più volte ripetuto noi abbiamo bisogno di costruire legami più solidi con voi che vivete nel Canada così come voi avete bisogno di comunicare con noi che siamo rimasti, per tenere viva una comunità, non solo nei ricordi.

Un abbraccio a te e a tutti i nostri compaesani con la speranza che tra un po’ di anni si possa parlare della Gagliato del futuro e non solo di quella che è stata.

P.S. Sono contento nel leggere, sul sito, articoli di Francesco Pitaro fine studioso ed orgoglio gagliatese nonché persona a cui sono molto legato.

A te caro Domenico – grazie infinite per il tuo post ma più importante per le care e sincere parole sicuramente sorgenti dal tuo grande cuore. La nostra speranza rimane eterna, ma il nostro tempo è purtroppo limitato. Mantengo fiducia che possiamo raggiungere massimi risultati con un piccolino sforzo da molti…

Al prof. Teti – grazie per il Suo lavoro e tanti auguri e successo per la Sua pubblicazione molto rilevante alla nostra comunità e La prego di fornire dettagli di acquisto libro.


I am very happy to have received from Gagliato a post, from our good friend Domenico Aspro, about a cultural event that recently took place in the town. The following is a TRANSLATION OF DOMENICO’s letter (responsibility for translation errors and inaccuracies rests solely with me):

Dear Nicola,

As I had promised, here is a brief synthesis of the event that was organized by the Gianni De Luca Association of Gagliato for the release of the book entitled “Pietre di pane – Un’antropologia del restare” [literal translation – “Stones of bread – An anthropology of staying put”], written by Prof. Vito Teti, resident Chair of Ethnology at the University of Calabria.

It is a book that I would recommend to all [of Calabrese origin] who live in Canada because it is set between Toronto and San Nicola da Crissa (the San Nicola community has a large presence in the Ontario region). It deals with the difficulty of living in our now abandoned small towns and at the same time of how the first generation who emigrated to Canada has attempted in all aspects to reconstruct, in a strange  land, a new community, with traditions and [cultural] representations that the Gagliatese community may also see itself a part of.  The reading of the book was very emotional for me, because it was as though it was written about Gagliato – the characters differ but the melting melancholy is the same.

The presentation took place on the 10th of April at Pizzeria/Ristorante “Galatos” and following my brief introduction was a discussion by Prof. Vito Pirruccio, a Gagliatese, whose echoing words, accompanying excerpts from the book, recalled a time of our own town, with its own customs, with its own characters (such as sampavularu, coddararu, ecc) and the sadness of a time that no longer is.

The book was printed at the end of February 2011 and the Gagliato date was the first offical release for which my Association and I are very proud to have been a part of. The book will also be presented at the “Fiera del libro di Torino” [the Torino Book Fair], which is recognized for its excellence and participation by the most important of international writers. Prof. Teti is one of the most important anthropologists from Southern Italy, who originates from San Nicola da Crissa, and who has visited Toronto on many occasions (he is well known in the San Nicola da Crissa community there) where he also produced a documentary for RAI (television).

The evening’s turnout was significant and that bodes well for our other upcoming cultural activities.

In conclusion and in the spirit of the significance of the book, it is my hope and wish that the Gagliatese community in Canada make itself more visible and heard via this site; and through hard work, construct an entire community of Gagliatesi, even if only in a virtual sense (via Internet). As stressed many times, there is a need to create more solid ties between Gagliatesi living in Canada and those who have “stayed put” – to keep our Gagliato community alive, in reality and not just in memory.

I embrace you and our Gagliato friends with the hope that in a few years we may together discuss the Gagliato of the future, not just the one from the past.

P.S. I am happy to read, on this site, articles by the learned Francesco Pitaro, pride of Gagliato, and a persona who I am very much connected to.

To you, dear Domenico, infinite thanks for your post; but, more importantly for the kind and sincere words which surely spring forth from your big heart. Our hope is eternal, but our time is unfortunately limited; I continue to trust and believe that we can achieve great results with just a little effort from many people…

To Prof. Teti, a sincere thank you for your great work and best wishes and success on the release of your publication which is very relevant to and for our community. Kindly forward details where we can purchase your book.