Vecchia casa
street art project in Graniti, Italy
Graniti Murales art residency
Vecchia casa ('old house') is a street art project made at Graniti Murales, an art residency in Graniti, a small town in the eastern part of Sicily with lots of abandoned houses, some of which were offered to the artists for a short stay during the residency. Witnessing the afterlife of the objects left behind, the ones that once kept the warmth of human presence but are now silently getting rusty and shabby, has become the main source of inspiration for this project.
Signor Cappuccio

Signor Cappuccio (nicknamed after the type of grape, Nerello Cappuccio) is a former owner of a winery. His winery now is just a spooky cellar, but Signor Cappuccio still has the ardour of a young winemaker, even if it is only evident in his insolent jokes and dashing laughter at a local bar.

Signora 300 gradi

Signora 300 gradi is a hot-tempered lady. She is both the best pizza-maker and the worst brawler in town. She's tough to get along with, but the town couldn't be imagined without her.

Signora Domenica

Signora Domenica is a pious believer who spends her evenings reading the Bible. Even though her eyesight is not getting better with every year, she despises the inventions of contemporary technology and uses candlelight.

Signora Flora

Signora Flora is a welcoming lady who works at a cafe. Her children have long since left the town, and have children of their own already, but Signora Flora stays in Graniti: it's her hometown and the place where she feels people need her.

Signor Scopa

Signor Scopa is a retired military man who spends the majority of his days playing scopa, sicilian card game, in a bar in the central square. He would mostly be hanging out outdoors, just because he doesn't like being home, a place that he couldn't manage on his own ever since his wife died.

research behind the project
research behind the project
research behind the project
research behind the project
The project was created in a picturesque town of Graniti in Sicily. It is a small community of about 1500 people who live in a remote mountaineous area.
How does the outflow of population influence the cityscape?
What is the 'afterlife' of these abandoned places?
Can an object be a 'witness' to life?
The town has experienced economic decline and a lot of its younger inhabitants left for bigger cities with more job opportunities. That is why a lot of houses in Graniti are abandoned.
Graniti landscape

a ruined winery
Despite a large number of abandoned buildings, quite a number of them are left almost untouched, as the town is remote and the community is quite dense, with every stranger being noticeable.
Photos from the archive of the family,
found in the residency house
Scopa deck, found in the
abandoned house
The residency provided accomodation in one of such abandoned houses which was left by its owner in the 80s. Locked rooms, old vinyl disc player, old-fashioned nightstands and clumsy cupboards in half-empty rooms with just one plug — the house was a haunted mansion, a portal to a different time.
Reproductions of 'The Last Supper', crusifixes and portraits of the former inhabitants made the place feel like an eerie tomb, and was one of the strongest impressions.
I was lucky to be introduced to the owner of local private museum, who collected household objects from the past from locals.
Graniti museum, organised in the building of a former winery; it is usually open for public just one day in a year
How do objects participate in
I do not speak Italian, so my communication with the locals was very limited. Mainly I was interacting with objects, which amplified the experiences of living in a half-abandoned environment.
winery bottles in the museum
wine jugs in the museum
an abandoned house in the town center
one of the 3 churches in the town
the way to the city center
The initial sketches in Graniti were typical 'travel sketchbook' drawings, which followeed my usual approach to life drawing, but did not capture any of my experiences with objects.
How can a drawing capture the afterlife of an object?
How can a drawing become an object that revives that life?
all 5 characters ready to be put on the walls
Eventually I decided to create a set of anthropomorphic characters whose shape would be based on the shapes of furniture and household objects I saw in the town and in the abandoned house where I was staying. I went 3d and cut them out of plywood, so that they also mimic the materials of the real furniture.
In the city center there was an abandoned house that the citizens were using to place death notices on. The town council was searching for a way to get rid of those, and allowed me to clean the doors and the windows and mount the characters on top.
a mockup of the installation
My work though is probably a form of a 'death notice' of sorts as well: a way to commemorate and appreciate the life and warmth that was once present, and is still present in the old architecture, objects of interior and in the atmosphere of the town in general.

This project is an embodiment of nostalgia felt in Graniti, and an invitation to ask oneself, what is 'home'? And what is it like to abandon home?
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