There Is No Calm after the Storm, the project by Matteo de Mayda which received an ISPA Grant in 2021, will be exhibited at the Gibellina Photoroad Festival from July 28 to September 30. This is Italy’s first open-air, site-specific photography festival.

Matteo de Mayda’s work tells the story of the aftermath of Storm Vaia, which struck northeastern Italy in October 2018, destroying some 14 million trees, while the total economic damage was in the region of three billion euros.

Gibellina, the museum town hosting the festival, was itself the victim of a natural disaster and is now a singular example of urban rebirth, thanks to the work of several contemporary artists:

“On January 14 1968, a violent earthquake struck the Belìce valley in Western Sicily and the town of Gibellina was completely destroyed. Following the quake, the mayor, Ludovico Corrao, a unique and visionary person, together with a group of artists and intellectuals (including Leonardo Sciascia) called for the town to be completely rebuilt through art. The artists who assisted in the rebuilding process included: Alberto Burri, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Pietro Consagra, Mario Schifano, Joseph Beuys and Carla Accardi. Thus, the extraordinary experiment of rebuilding Gibellina took place – a natural and human catastrophe followed by the cathartic energy of art and culture. The “Grande Cretto” (the “Great Crack”) by Alberto Burri covers the ruins of the old town and is a huge open-air art masterpiece that’s famous worldwide. It was completed in 2015, and covers an area of 90,000 square metres. Gibellina Nuova, which is located 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the old town, has been studied by many for its important architectural works and open-air sculptures. It is one of the largest open-air contemporary art museums in the world.”