2010 - 2015
Sabrina’s world of wonders is the intimate portrait of a 10-years old Roma girl who lives with her grand parents in a wooden hut, inside a Roma encampment on the outskirts of Turin, Italy; furthermore, it is the experience of a collaboration between her and the photographer with the aim of exploring the many layers of her complex reality. It is an attempt to let her speak for herself so that she could pull us into her world and let us see it from her perspective.
Sabrina was abandoned by her mother when she was one year old. She was left on a mattress in the wooden hut where they lived.
Her grandmother, Sabina, who had come to Italy from Romania in search of a better life, had no choice but taking care of her. The relationship that developed became extremely strong and profoundly humbling.
I met Sabrina four years ago, when I first entered a Roma encampment on the outskirts of Torino, my hometown. At the time I was driven by an aesthetic ideal, as well as by sheer and plain curiosity. I wanted to find out how life looked like within a gypsy camp.
Sabrina’s family was the first to show interest in my presence and open their world to me. We slowly built up our trust and I became part of their life. They care for me, I care for them and I became naturally committed to tell their story. Furthermore I became fascinated by the search for collaboration with the subjects of my pictures, since I believed that this would have brought us closer. I had a very simple question in mind at all times: how was I to express Sabrina’s reality only through my photography?
I needed Sabrina to be involved. She could draw, paint over my photos, create collage from other images and take pictures. I needed her voice, so that she could reach out to the world and share her story with them. Together we are creating a world of wonders, a space for expression and encounter, where we can shorten the distance between our colliding realities and be at once Italian, Romanian, Roma, human.
Sabrina represents a minority not yet recognised and an entire generation at risk of isolation and exclusion. She is growing up into a society that has condemned the gypsies to be the least welcomed people in Italy.
Sabrina’s world of wonders is a unique visual dialogue that aims to break down the wall of prejudice that exist around Roma lifestyle, offering the chance to observe a particular reality - a difficult life permeated by a deep strive for normality - not only through the lens of a photographer’s camera but through the eyes and the imagination of a child. It is also an opportunity for a child to freely express her feelings through photography and visual art, while growing up into a society that has condemned her people (the Roma people) as the “least welcomed minority on the Italian territory”.