Travel Diaries Little Objects
This is a collection of objects, stories and photographs that work like a visual diary. It was exhibited in the group show 'Cabinets of Curiosity’ at the Fringe Arts Festival of Bath, UK in 2008.
All objects were found during my travels, meeting different people and bringing all kind of stories to me.
Driving through India by road, I stopped at one of the stalls on the side. There was a family toasting cashews. I never saw a cashew in its shell before and I was impressed to see how they were toasting this kind of nuts with old pans on a little fire by the road. The woman who was removing the shell of the cashews was very quiet, very tanned and thin, with white hair but not very old. She was sitting on the floor like most indian people. She had an intense look and stayed in her place without moving, doing her job but looking at me as if she was reading my mind. Suddenly, she gave me one of the cashews, with shell and not yet toasted. She smiled to see me so happy to have one. I kept the cashew to remember this encounter.
Walking through Catania streets during market time was like traveling back into the past. Only men were selling fish. Fish and its strong smell was everywhere, the floors were wet and dirty, it was like being in the middle of 'The Perfume' novel, set in 18th century Paris. During the evening, getting lost around these narrow streets, I found a little shop. I went inside, and again, it was like being transported into the environment of 'The Perfume'. It was a little shop with red velvet courtains everywhere, candles, and golden lamps. The shopkeeper was selling all kind of smells, the smell of an old church, the smell of wet wood… Suddenly, one of the candles caught my attention, he told me that when someone lights the candle, the smell of this one takes you to a Sicilian garden full of orange trees surrounded by cactus in the middle of April. I decided to buy the candle and keep it until my birthday in the middle of April. When my birthday arrived, I burnt the candle for first time and found myself in Sicily again.
Stone Heart_ (Lisbon)
It was my last day in Lisbon and I was walking around the Alfama streets. It was warm and I could hear Fado’s music through the houses open windows. My first time I heard Fado’s music was the night before when I was having dinner in a cosy and very small restaurant. During dinner people from the restaurant and some of their friends started to play this melancholic and beautiful music. At that moment I thought that it would have been nice to spend the weekend with somebody else company, rather than on my own. For some reason, on this trip, I missed being with someone else more than any other time on my travels. I was feeling lonely. It could have been because of Fado’s music everywhere, as this music is linked to nostalgia and missing someone. During this last day in Lisbon, suddenly, in the middle of the street I found a white stone in the shape of a heart, with nothing else around it. After taking a photo of the stone I realised that the street was very quiet, nobody else was there, just me. I was alone, like the little stone. Only music coming down from the opened windows. I took the stone and put it in my pocket.
Tour Eiffel_ (Paris)
In my first visit to Paris I met an interesting handsome man. I though it was nice to be in Paris for first time with him.
In our first evening we walked a long time towards 'La Tour Eiffel', we talked about our lives, getting to know more about each other. Before arriving at the Eiffel tower, we stopped to eat a ham with cheese pancake sitting on the sidewalk, with the view of the big tour Eiffel in one side and Les Champs Elyseés with christmas lights on the other side. At that moment, we found next to us, one of this little souvenirs, a little tour Eiffel. I took the little tower, I put it in my bag and then we decided to go to see the big one. Once there, we sat down underneath contemplating the big structure. Suddenly, we looked at each other wishing this romantic kiss in this romantic place. I wasn’t sure if he would like to be kissed, but I could feel he was looking at me in the same way, still waiting for him to give some sign to kiss him… waiting…looking at each other… wishing… waiting… I thought he didn’t want, he thought I didn’t want… we said nothing. There was no kiss and no romantic weekend in Paris. I still keep the little tour Eiffel.
Shells_ (Matosinhos, Oporto)
After a long walk in Matosinhos looking for a nice place where to eat grilled sardines, I decided to go into a small restaurant with just a few tables. At the end of the restaurant they had a display with lots of different type of shellfish. I asked if they were serving grilled sardines, but they only served shellfish. The place was cosy and friendly, I decided to stay. It was like being in a market, facing the display counter, the waiter was putting in a plate all what I was pointing at. He let me try some of the shellfish that I wasn’t sure if I would like. Everything was so good, tasty and fresh. I sat dawn and he gave me my plate with a small bottle of white wine. After 5 minutes she threw on my plate two sea snails, I enjoyed them, he threw me some more followed with a big smile on his face as an answer of my surprising face. I could feel the taste of the sea in every mouthful.
Feeling a bit drank after the bottle of wine, I felt asleep on the beach for a while thinking about the wonderful lunch. I kept the shells of the sea snails in my bag to remember the smile of the waiter.
Bread Sculpture_ (Milano)
After the first night in Milano, I went to have breakfast at the hostel’s café. I sat dawn and started to eat. Few seconds after, an old man sat in front of me with his breakfast tray. He took a piece of bread and made a ball. After, he took the knife and began to sculpt the ball. After a few minutes, he put the bread ball converted into a bearded man’s head next to me. We started to talk. He was an Iranian sculptor and he came Milano to do some artwork. After the morning chat, I went to visit the city. I started to walk without following any map, just following my intuition. At some point during the day, I found myself in the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of Italy’s most important art collections.
In the evening I met the Iranian sculptor again and we sat at hostel’s garden for a chat, he told me nice stories of his sculptures and greek mythology while he was showing me the scars on his hands and arms.
That night, I went to bed thinking about the day I had. It started by looking at the birth of a new little sculpture emerging from a piece of bread, after, I contemplated old treasury art pieces in town and finally, I found myself looking at the scars of making art. I went upstairs to my room and I kept my little beard bread head in a secure place to remember all stories the old man told that night.
Lady’s neckless_ (Venezia - Burano)
After two days in Venezia, I decided to visit Burano, a little island where all houses are painted in different colours. You can find a blue house, next to a red one, yellow, pink, green, orange. On the way to Burano, the boat stopped in Murano, where more people boarded the boat. I saw a blond young lady who was alone. She didn’t look sad because I could see she was enjoying herself, but she had a kind of melancholic look. I said nothing to her but I couldn’t help to wonder what was in her mind. Suddenly, she sat next to me, she opened a little paper bag where she was keeping a yellow neckless that she might bought in Murano. She decided to wear it.
The boat arrived in Burano and she left being very excited to see all these colourful houses. I went for a coffee as I took the boat very early in the morning and I needed some breakfast again. I spent the day walking around the little island, also enjoying the colours of the houses and the environment in the streets and canals. Suddenly, on the floor I found the same neckless that the girl on the boat was wearing. I though she lost it, so, I took it thinking I might see her again on the boat on the way back to Venice. I never saw her again, so I decided to keep the neckless.