It’s that time of the year again, and what better place to visit in summer than Palermo, the principal city of Sicily, without even having to leave the country.
An exhibit by Palermitani photographer Domenico Aronica opens today at El Sawy in Zamalek, bringing the city of Palermo to Cairo.
The old city is located in the heart of the Mediterranean, and for that reason, it was eyed by the world’s super powers throughout history: Palermo has been occupied by the French, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Spanish, and the Arabs, to name a few.
Theses different influences have created a cultural collage. As you walk down a random street, you pass by Spanish and Arab monuments standing side by side.
“You can consider it cosmopolitan, not in the same sense as Paris or London but a stratification of history, said Aronica.
Explaining this exhibition is difficult. Aronica’s style is very real, he is aware of the tiny details which makes the simplest things extraordinary without special effects or manipulations.
The photographer still likes to use film, although he does sometimes use a professional digital camera. But he avoids photo editing software programs like photoshop because he likes his pictures to be raw in the way they document life.
Aronica explains that he has his own pallet of colors for the pictures he takes, which gives him his unique style. “I have worked a lot on colors and I have achieved my own. Just Like in paintings where every artist has there own mixture of colors, he explains.
Born in 1979, Aronica has been passionate about photography for ten years, and is often mistaken for a photojournalist because of his depiction of cities and people. Throughout his career, he has worked in both commercial and art photography.
Contrary to what a photojournalist might say, Aronica says, “I don’t want to show the world how it is; I want to show the world as an expression of myself . as an expression of my passions and my feelings.
Aronica’s recent works include a book he has published with the French Culture Center of Sicily on the Paris Metro using a lot of neon lights and empty spaces to reflect on the parallel world of the underground.
One of his favorite exhibitions is one on doors in Palermo. The detailed pictures of intricately designed doors around his city were printed 71 meters high, and had an impressive effect on viewers. Some of these pictures are included in his exhibition in Cairo.
What brought Aronica to Cairo is a Masters program, a collaboration between Italy and Egypt, that concentrates on tourism. “It was an opportunity for me to visit Cairo for eight months. I wanted to live in an Arab world . my city is very close to the Arab world, said the artist who could be easily mistaken for an Arab himself.
He has been taking pictures all over Cairo since his arrival but does not feel he is ready to have an exhibition about Cairo, at least not until he lives here long enough to take pictures that are not superficial.
“To take good pictures you have to live like an Egyptian. At first sight everything seems clear – but there is a world inside, he says.
Palermo’s VisionPhotography exhibition by Domenico AronicaEarth Hall, El Sawy Culture CenterEnd of 26th of July St., Zamalek.(02) 2736 6178Opening tonight at 6pm Until July 19