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|Start Date:||22nd February 2014|
|End Date:||4th May 2014|
Open Eye Gallery presents, for the first time in the UK, the intense work of Sicilian photographer and photojournalist Letizia Battaglia (born 1935 in Palermo, Italy). Featuring a large selection of her iconic black and white images, Letizia Battaglia: Breaking the Code of Silence opens from 22 February until 4 May 2014 and will guide the viewer along a journey into one of the darkest periods in post-war Italian history.
Drawing from Battaglia's personal archive, which comprises over 600,000 images, the exhibition showcases work spanning from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, including stark documentation of the Sicilian mafia’s violent reign of tyranny, as well as more recent projects. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to approach her genre-defining photographic practice (often linked to that of American 'crime' photographer Weegee) and reflect on the role of photography as an individual and collective means for taking action, bearing witness, providing evidence and documenting history.
Battaglia took up photography in the early 1970s, when she realised that, as a journalist, it was easier to place her articles in newspapers and magazines if these were accompanied by images. After a short period spent in Milan where she met her partner and collaborator Franco Zecchin, Letizia Battaglia returned to Sicily in 1974. After relocating to Palermo and regularly contributing to the daily L'Ora, she became the pictures editor until the newspaper was shut down in 1990.
The selected works on show at Open Eye Gallery illustrate this period and document Battaglia's attempt to come to terms with that history and reconcile the love for her country with the memory of these dramatic events.
Image: Palermo, 1982. Nerina worked as prostitute and was drug-dealing. She was killed by the mafia because she did not respect the rules © Letizia Battaglia