central event for the Italian-American religious community of Williamsburg,
Brooklyn is the annual carrying (or ‘dancing’) of the ‘Giglio’.
On the shoulders of 150 to 200 strong men, a 4 ton, 85 foot tall, aluminum and
papier-mâché tower, along with a 12 piece brass band, is lifted,
turned, bounced and ‘danced’ along the streets. Dating back to the
late 19th century in Williamsburg, the dancing and pageantry provide a link with
traditions from the small towns around Naples, Italy that goes back many centuries.
From June 20th to July 26th, 2003, Safe-T-Gallery is pleased to present the first
exhibition of ‘Giglio’ photographs by Larry Racioppo -- photographs
that examine the festival both as a religious and a neighborhood event; a group
performance and a private experience.
Mr. Racioppo first began photographing the annual feast of Our Lady of Mount
Carmel and Saint Paulinus in 1998 with a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council,
and has been returning every year since. “I keep returning because I am
amazed by the size and powerful beauty of the Giglio itself and my feeling of
connection to Williamsburg’s Italian-American community”, Racioppo
explains. Photographing the festival and the preparations, as well as the surrounding
activities, he brings a concerned, but wry, eye to both the spiritual and the
profane aspects of this modern day religious rite.
Giglio" © Larry
Larry Racioppo’s photographs have been widely
exhibited and collected. He is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum
of Art, The Museum
of the City of New York, The New York Historical Society and the New York Public
Library. This project was funded in part by grants from the Guggenheim Foundation
and the Brooklyn Arts Council.