‘The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars’ is a long-term photographic project that explores youth culture in the Torretta district of Napoli through the traditional bonfire celebration known as Cippo di Sant'Antonio.
This project delves into the heart of this ritual, which stems from a pagan tradition where peasants constructed fires with domestic waste to celebrate the end of winter and seek protection for the new year ahead. However, the current iteration of the ritual has evolved into something different, with groups of children aged 6 to 16 taking to the streets in balaclavas, stealing Christmas trees and other items, and engaging in battles with gangs from rival districts. They guard the loot in secret areas within their territories until the day of the fire. This game conceals the systemic criminality and territorial attitudes typical of the region. If initially the project was focused on the ritual itself, it has later shifted into accompanying the participants into adulthood, following the evolution of their relationships and the development of their individual and collective identity.
This approach has allowed the research to explore important social issues intersectional to this demographic, including high rates of teenage pregnancy, crime, and unemployment that set the political undertone of this underdeveloped working-class environment. By confronting the traditional misrepresentations of the community, the work seeks to shed light on the vibrant youth living in this dark sociopolitical scenario, often condemned to a vicious cycle. The beauty of this community flows from a sense of belonging and mutual support that compensates for the lack of governmental infrastructure and counters the judgmental middle class closing its doors to them. They live in constant affirmation of their values as a whole community rather than as individuals. The photographs themselves aim to convey the naivety and beauty of this age while providing new ways to visually examine the subject of youth and identity, highlighting the issues affecting the south of Italy. The raw and intimate approach to this diary-like storytelling has been created by mixing 120mm/35mm film in color and black and white to escape the restrictions of a precise language, allowing beauty and grit to coexist.
Glauco Canalis is an Italian documentary photographer based between Milan (IT), and London (UK). Born and raised in a small town in the heart of rural Sicily, he forged his identity and visual aesthetic in the heart of Mediterranean culture. His work examines the notions of landscape and identity keeping the study of youth as a central theme. After attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, he later moved to the UK to complete a Masters Degree in Photography at Plymouth University under the guidance of Jem Southam and David Chandler. Following an internship at MACK Books under the tutelage of Michael Mack, Glauco then committed to developing his artistic practice, receiving industry recognition, nominations, shortlists and prizes for awards including the BarTur Photobook Award, Magnum Graduate Photography Award, MIBACT Residenze Contemporanee, and the Innovate Grant in 2023. His latest film "Sciara" received a shortlist at the 2022 1.4 Film awards in London, UK. Glauco has also undertaken international artist residencies at DUE SOUTH Artist Residency between Sicily and Philadelphia, and XARKIS Residency in Cyprus, 2022. Glauco has collaborated with clients and publications including Time, Le Monde, Esquire, i-D Magazine, CP Company, Universal Music, Sony Music, Nike, Netflix amongst many others.
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