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Stefania Zamparelli
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant


ARTIST STATEMENT: In ancient times geographers would mark the borders of unexplored territories with dragons and monsters as a warning to travelers. The Empty Quarter, the largest continuous sand desert in the world, includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. Its map displays no drawn lines to mark ownerships. No monsters are there depicted to warn of danger. "Here Be Dragons" is out of this uncharted map. This Still Life series portrays a zone of the Empty Quarter where ill camels are taken to die. No trees to tie them up; roped legs nail down the location of their final journey. The natural mummification provided by the desert seems to turn the camels' skin into a shroud as if to show them respect by minimizing the disfiguration that the after-life inflicts to the material body. Thus the environment pays a tribute to their life by concealing while grieving. Sand and camels were created of equal color and this unity seems to visually seal this work of nature in sculpture-like installations whereas the white bones release the tension. The Empty Quarter here becomes a Realm of full integrity. The enhanced background sphericity, realized using a fish-eye lens, aims to suggest that beyond our globe and its artificially marked and unmarked frontiers there are Infinite Life Realms in Motion.

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Challenging the Gravity

On my way to Dindefelo I fell in love with a chicken. Dindefelo is located 39 Km south-west of Kedougou, Senegal.

La Lutte Traditionnelle or "Pure" Sérère

La lutte traditionnelle (traditional fighting) or "pure" Sérère is a cultural practice that celebrates the harvest. It embodies percussion, singing and dancing. By dancing a wrestler challenges an adversary to battle; by dancing he celebrates his own victory. The singers praise the warriors and their courage to galvanize the wrestlers and to incite the audience to dance to the rhythm of percussions. These running synergies create a powerful choreography which reaches its climax during the matches. The Sérère ethnic group is the protagonist of this ancient sport that finds its roots in mythology; legends transmitted by griots say that supernatural beings named "Kuus" (divine dwarfs) taught this practice to not circumcised young shepherds called "Gaynaakh". Legends also say that at the time of the Empire of Mali, in XI century, only men of royal blood could play it and that it had mythical origin in country Sérère. "Pure" Sérère is mostly played on sand fields. Every region has its own style but the rules are simple and mostly the same. Battles are loyal; the two opponents have to be in constant movement. Blows are forbidden, and hitting by head, elbow as well as low hits are forbidden. No action is allowed after a fall on the soil; amulets are allowed if they are not dangerous for the adversary. Fall and immobilization are symbolic for death; the defeated stands up again and doesn't fear any more... the adversary becomes the partner. The practice of "Pure" Sérère creates a social network between the youths of a village with the ones of the nearby village giving an opportunity to the entire community to express its sense of hospitality (the téranga) and to narrow the distances with the neighboring villages. "Pure" Sérère is not to be confused with the Senegalese National Wrestling or "laamb" although many Sérère champions leave la lutte traditionnelle to enter the big arena and the small screen dimension. Location: Arene Adrien Senghor, Grand Yoff.


647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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