Silvia Rosi treasures her experience as an electoral scrutineer and reflects with the Election Box series, on issues of migration and citizenship that concern her closely. Italy does not recognise ius soli and the children of migrants (as in her case, born in Italy to a family of Togolese origin) have to wait until their coming of age to request citizenship. Rosi builds her own cabin and plays with the mystery of disappearing into it. She ironically leaves the story of memories, recollections and dreams to the uncovered part, the lower part of the cabin.
At the end of the 1980’s Silvia Rosi’s parents left their home in Lomé, Togo in search of a better life in Italy. Rosi’s father was the son of a middle-class Togolese family and he had hopes of progressing his studies and taking up a professional career abroad. But when Rosi’s mother arrived a year later she found him living in a shelter provided by the church and working in the fields, picking tomatoes for one Lira a box. The mother was more fortunate and found work quickly as a nanny. But their relationship did not survive the journey to Europe. With Rosi still an infant, her parents split up. In her series of self-portraits Rosi reenacts her parents’ struggle, positioning herself as both observer of, and participant in the tensions that ultimately surrendered their relationship. In Self Portrait as my Father we find Rosi dressed in a jacket and tie, posing awkwardly with three books on her head and surrounded by small piles of tomatoes. The caption reads, “In Italy, he could not find the opportunities he had dreamt of, so he decided he would leave.”
Silvia Rosi graduated from the London College of Communication in 2016 with a BA in Photography (with Honours). Her work retraces her personal family history drawing on her Togolese heritage, the idea of the origins and the impact with her new country in Europe. The theme of the family is explored through self-portraits in which she plays her mother and father, narrating their experience of migration from Togo to Italy. She usually works in the studio partially referring to the West African portrait tradition recreating different situations with props. *She was born in 1992, and lives and works between London and Modena.