My dad has always told me stories about his childhood, the hunger and the hardship and how hard he found it to survive during the Second World War.
He lived in a “wild” state, providing occasional food, trying his luck in every way.
The scenery surrounding him was not really inviting and he has always compared this memory with the present, trying to project his experience into my life.
He told me about simple games made with friends but playing time was very limited because he had to grow up fast due to the circumstances of the war.
I always tried to imagine how he felt on that day that changed completely when the Americans landed in Italy to release it from the Germans.
The Americans brought new colours, new tastes, a new life, a different one open to a new opportunities.
During the war, the food was not so accessible for everybody, everything was rationed. Bread was made with wholemeal flour and white flour considered a luxury was unavailable.
People finally had access to potato, bread, pasta, rice and my dad saw biscuits and sweets for the first time and the legendary white bread.
The importance of bread in Italian culture is fundamental and is an essential food of the first necessity.
In religion bread is something that represents Jesus as the Bible quotes he is “the bread of life” and to Moses he also said: “I rain bread from heaven for you, … “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you.”
I liked this representation as this idea reminded me of my dad’s story, his hunting for leftovers and picturing visually in my mind how he described rescuing bread from the sea because the German soldiers were throwing it away.
“lch bin das Brot des Lebens” German translated means “bread of life” this is an important part of my installation.
The hopscotch pattern relates to my father’s childhood as he was only seven at the time of the war and I fell this is a universal game that unified different generations.
My idea for the pattern was like the circumstances of life at the time, the uncertainty whether you will win or lose at the game and the struggle for me is the reaching the bread at the end of the hopscotch.
Although bread is important part of Italian culture here in my installation I have wrapped
the bread in barbed wire because it reminded me of Jesus’s crown of thorns which symbolises the religious aspect and within my dad’s memory it is the threatening presence of Germans.
The square 1 and 2 in the hopscotch are covered with the word “Man hu?” which means: “what is this?” in Hebrew remember when God gave food to the Israelites in the desert during the Exodus.
In fact from the expression “Man hu” came to word “Manna” that is referring to a magical, unexpected gift fallen from the sky with the famous expression “Manna from the heaven”.
Two pages of the printed language, we find the expression “lch bin das Brot des Lebens” (Bread of Life) is trapped in barbed wire while square 3 seems to release its page from the wire.
This page reads in English: “the bread that I will give you is my own flesh” I am playing with the idea of humour that the Americans released the Italian sufferance from the barbed wire.
The number 7 was my dad age and also relate this to how meaningful it is in religion as it is the number of the days resulting in the Creation, I wanted to indicate a “new Creation” a new day began when the American arrived.
The picture is my father placed on the number 7 square as the childhood age he was at the time.
The picture is my father at the age of 20 which shows that he survived the war to “tell the tale” to give me this memory.
In my approach to the artwork, I tried to keep the hopscotch’s lines clean with the pictures of my dad so that it matches chromatically with the picture’s white frame.
Throughout the whole installation I experimented with both the language and in making the bread myself.