Italy; Apulia, Italy
Castro, deep south of Puglia, during the second half of 1400.
The coasts of a small fishing village, as well as those of many other Salento villages, are severely destroyed by constant and repeated Turkish looting and attacks.
In a project commissioned by Puglia Region, two professional photographers, a Turkish and an Apulian, compare themselves, after six hundred years from the fact, inspired by the legend of the “Turkish Wife”, in order to retrace a story that links two lands around the love for a stone.
"The Turks used to regularly occupy the coast of Salento and one of the most targeted place was Castro. During one of the incursions, they stole a precious statue of Madonna, which was assigned to one of the Turkish commanders, who later gave the statue to his wife as a gift. Even though his wife was muslim, she kept the statue as a beautiful object with an artistic value. The wife was pregnant and she was in a lot of pain. In spite of the prayers, the woman wasn’t able to give birth. The wife had a slave, a woman from Castro, who had been kidnapped and became a servant in Constantinople. The slave felt very sorry about her mistress and then she suggested to send the statue back to its former country in order to hope for a miracle. The husband was convinced and he ordered to put the statue on a ship and send it back to where it belonged. Without anyone guiding it, the ship arrived from Constantinople to Castro overnight. When fishermen saw and recognised the statue, they spread the word to all of the citizens. They rang the bells with such a great joy and they all gathered around the ship. Finally the statue was brought to its former cathedral where is still regarded with such a great respect. However, nobody knows what happened to the Turkish wife".
Alice Caracciolo and Cemre Yesil carry out a photographic and narrative journey to investigate the hidden soul of every stone, as a result of nature or artistic work of art itself. They deeply analyze the close link between stone and human soul, through the centuries: its mystical and spiritual value, its being a silent guardian of our past as a “watching tower” during Turkish raids; its being a multiple aggregation of earth materials, just like the emerged land of Salento, its corroding and becoming a grain of sand, ready to be moved by the wind towards unknown directions, its being rock and primitive cave, that contains secrets that only sea knows and rusts.
From the stones they learn what men have forgotten over the centuries: the stones, which are inanimate at the beginning, become animated thanks to those men who have covered them with important and emotional values and that made them impossible to remove, building the collective history.
The work ends with some questions: what happens to the soul of man when an object to which he is devoted is subtracted from his sight? What happens when part of the landscape dissolves itself under the light of the sun? What does it mean to be a stone? What does it mean to have pity and respect of our past?
Piet[r]à is also a story of immigration, a real contact and crash between two peoples that are so similar, but so different. Piet[r]à immigrant is a woman is the people of Castro and the Turkish people. All the characters in this story have a world of the past to which a world of the present belongs and we discover that these worlds hardly meet.
The process of integration in Piet[r]à is constantly interrupted by various factors: popular convictions, customs and traditions of the ancient peoples, anthropological institutions still well rooted today. Does the woman become "an object of exchange", "an object of contention", or redemption from sins? And after all who is the foreigner?
Consequently Piet[r]à unveils a story whose roots lie in the search of contact between peoples, constantly interrupted by the impossibility of cooperation between men: the same plot of the story, even after many centuries.