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Suburban – Subura Urban Art

Posted on Sep 29, 2010 | 2 comments

I’ve written about the neighborhood of Monti before and a bit about what it means to me.  It’s a neighborhood where I’ve worked the entire time I’ve lived in Rome and even the thought of moving offices, though it’ll be just a few streets over from where I am now, makes me sad.  It’s interesting how my whole life I never had a perception of an attachment to “place,” but now I realize how vital these things can be.  Of course, I knew that my childhood home had an attachment, but I never thought of how somewhere else, somewhere you don’t even live, can have a significance.  Maybe this only happens when you are so far removed from home and the comforts you find there—the absence of this forces to you find comfort in other spaces.  In any case, all this to say that Monti is quite special to me and I was very excited to be asked to contribute to an exhibition at the Galleria Ex-Monti Club that would form a small part of the Ottobrata Monticiana.  The ottobrata is a neighborhood festival that was started again last year after a long absence and is a way for residents (and non-) to gather together and celebrate the rione, with much of the action happening in Villa Aldobrandini.

For this year’s Ottobrata, taking place in Villa Aldobrandini on October 9 and 10, the Galleria Ex-Monti Club joined forces with Omino71 to organize a live painting and exhibition called Suburban – an appropriate title as it combines the old name of the area (Subura) and the use of urban artists.  The action starts early, on October 7, where from 6 pm onward you can watch four urban artists (Lucamaleonte, Alice Pasquini, Kiv-TNT, and Mr. Klevra) paint scenes of Monti in Piazza Madonna dei Monti.  Over the weekend their works will be displayed, along with four of my photographs of the neighborhood, in Villa Aldobrandini.  After the weekend they will move to the Galleria Ex-Monti Club until Friday, October 15.  And, of course, all the pieces will be on sale, so if you are interested in some urban art and photography check it out.

My contribution to the exhibition allows me to show some of my urban photography in a large format, printed on high quality photographic paper.  It’s always exciting to see the image printed well and while two images are ones that have been published on the blog, two were taken specifically for the event.  Each was inspired by the areas of the neighborhood that the artists selected and the picture above is a small preview (though not one of the images in the exhibit).  The photograph is a detail of the top of a door jam and the faded signage for the parish that inhabited the building.  You’ll commonly find these fading signs above doorways if you look around the city, giving you a visual history of what the building once housed. One of my interests when shooting “urban portraits,” as I like to call them, is texture.  The natural decay of a space over time and the way the light hits each element can give some of the most amazing images.  To me they seem more accessible, if not a little lonely, while clean and stark architecture can seem imposing and cold.  Maybe it is because I’ve been living in a city full of urban decay for so long, but I find it comforting.  I hope you’ll come by on the 7th to watch the artists in action and then either to Villa Aldobrandini or the gallery to see my contribution to the cause.

Thursday 7 October 2010
Piazza Madonna dei Monti, Roma
6 pm to midnight

9 & 10 October 2010
Villa Aldobrandini
Via Mazzarino 11, Roma
6 pm to midnight

11 – 15 October 2010
Galleria Ex Roma Club Monti
Via Baccina 66, Roma
4 pm to 8 pm


  1. Very sad to think you guys are leaving Monti. It's so sad, since rarely do things change or close around here. You are very much part of the life on Via Baccina and will be missed!!!

  2. Elizabeth – Though I'm happy about the new space, I'm really sad to leave the street! At least we'll be nearby and will come down often, promise!

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