Pilgrimage of Heritage

The distance between my father and me always made me wonder about my Sicilian heritage. I had so many unanswered questions. My father didn’t talk about his family or ancestors, which made me even more curious as to find out why. What was he hiding?

With the help of ancestry.com, I started my search. There was an Immordino group on Facebook, which lead me to Salvatore, a distant cousin, who would become my guide to understanding the true stories behind my distant family. Seeing how my great grandfather was born in Sicily, I knew there had to be survivors from his generation to tell the tails. I set out to find my Italian roots hoping for a connection to distant family. What I found was something more.

This series follows the order or structure of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is a recognition that majority of mythological stories follow a specific order in the structuring of that story. In Pilgrimage of Heritage, my images tell the stories learned of in history books, which led up to wanting to know more about my specific roots and culture. The images go on to speak of my journey in discovering what heritage I belong to via ancestry.com and actual evidence discovered in Italy. What I took away from the whole experience is that I am not an Italian-American or from Italian roots, but rather a Greek-Arabic-Middle Eastern-North African mutt. As a second generation, via my surname, American, I can say that I am not an American or of Italian decent, but rather a child of the world and mixed cultures. We are all from the same bloodlines. No one is a purebred. No one is Euro-American, African- American, Asian- American, or Latino-American. We are all crossbred, multinational mutts. This is thread through the project in that every image in all shapes and sizes is printed with the same ink on different types of paper or material.

I created all of these images in layers or fragments much as I am today. Parts of images captured in Sicily were collaged or montaged with other images to tell a broader story of the ancestral heritage and discrimination faced by all cultures including my roots of Italian-Americans. The pictures come in a variety of proportions as our genealogy is also unbalanced. These images, like me, are part of what I captured in Sicily and part of the broader range of humanity’s ethnicity. 

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