Fleur Manouche © fabio gea 2008
This ethno-photographic exhibition, called "Fleurs Manouche" gives us an intimate portrait of the life of a famous Manouche Gypsy musician and his extended family.
The musician Lollo Meier, had been the most eagerly awaited guest of the seventh International Jazz Manouche Django Reinhardt Festival and his visit proved a unique experience. The exhibition was created as part of the festival to celebrate the culture lying behind the ever popular Manouche music. It provides a delicately rare and singular close-up view of Manouche culture, showing a day in a life in Lollo Meier`s home village (located on the outskirts of Born, small town in the south of the Netherlands).
(from Torino exhibition)
The photographer, Fabio Gea`s interest in cultures developed during his African missions. His visits there were in a capacity of geologist and photographer. It forced him to meet and collaborate with many different communication experts and made him think about the different sub-cultures in Italy and the lack of understanding of their rich heritage.
The Manouche Gypsies have had a particularly bad press in Italy and I felt it was important to attempt to document and communicate their culture in a way that could be immediately understood by all. The Siena anthropologist, Irene Grassi, became aware of the project and made contact with me. She was immediately enthusiastic about the idea and entered soon the complex labyrinth of the colourful, and at times, tinted gipsy world.
The generous hospitality the two received from the Manouche community and the Meier family, has resulted in a photographic and ethnographic exhibition, made up of more then 30 hand-printed black and white pictures on fibre paper.
(from Torino exhibition)
Each photo is accompanied by fascinating first-person stories: from the guitarist Lollo, his wife Susan, his daughter Meggie, the brothers Boe-Boe and Giovanni Griinhols, grandma Nathalie and the small children Zora, Somara and Davina.
This photographic portrait is a family tale made up of present and future dreams, fears and smiles. Music continues to be the backbone of emotions and the deep respect the community has for each other. We can sense the remains of a long and indestructible tradition that has united the Manouche community, even before the great Django Reinhardt sprang to prominence. It was Django who made the culture famous globally, he brought this rare example of authentic jazz to a larger audience. These pictures explore how this culture has developed into the 21st Century.
This show was presented in one of the most prestigious Torino galleries, the historic Casa del Conte Verde in Rivoli.
(from Torino exhibition)
It received a steady stream of visitors during the course of the festival and was well received critically. There are hopes that a book will be produced in the near future to support the exhibition, as it travels around Europe.
Fabio and Irene feel that this work will go some way towards dispelling some of the unfounded fears surrounding the Manouche gypsies and will pave the way to more people taking an interest in the people that lie behind the every popular Manouche music.
Fabio Gea, Irene, lollo, Lollo`s mum
Interest in this exhibition or if you need more info:
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Mob: +39 333 78 88 330
DOB: July 20, 1978
Geologist, environmental journalist and photographer
Working in international cooperation activities in Africa as a geologist developed Fabio`s work methodology, and his strong desire to gain an intimate understanding of other cultures, often nomad or transhumant societies, increasingly required him to develop his expertise in communications.
In 2005, Fabio joined photographer Carlo Mari and anthropologist Giacomo Serra in Tanzania`s Masai Steppe area to collaborate on the book Io Maasai (backstage).
A few months later, Fabio worked on a project with the anthropologist Valentina Tamagnone, to study the Gourmantch ethnic group in Burkina Faso.
In 2008, Fabio collaborated with the anthropologist Irene Grassi on production of the photo-ethnic reportage Fleurs Manouche, working in an area of Born in The Netherlands which is home to the famous manouche musician Lollo Meier.
Numerous exhibitions in Italy, including:
- Ascolti di viaggio (Journey Listenings) at the Cherasco Castle and Turin’s Casa Canada, Piedmont, Italy.
- I nuovi guardiani (The New Guardians) Turin Town Hall and Casa Arci in Turin, Piedmont, Italy
- Fleurs Manouche, Casa del Conte Verde in Rivoli, Piedmont, Italy
Monthly contributor to the Italian scientific magazine Inquinamento (Pollution) for the past four years - as a journalist as well as photographic reportage.
Portfolio of technical-scientific reportage: www.img-srl.com.
Photographic work has been awarded at two competitions:
- Festa da Istoria, Ribadavia, Spain, 2001;
- Basta un Attimo (A Moment is Enough), Italy, 2009*.