Washington, October 16, 2020.
On October 19 the XX edition of the Week of the Italian Language in the World opens in the USA. The event, as underlined by Ambassador Armando Varricchio “plays a fundamental role in promoting the cultural richness of our country”.
Established in 2001 under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic, the Week of the Italian Language in the World this year will focus on “Italian between word and image: graffiti, illustrations, comics” expressive forms that enhance the Italian language through image, with a particular emphasis on comics and, more generally, publications for children and adolescents.
Ambassador Varricchio highlighted how “the theme underlines a particularly effective form of expression, for children and the younger generations who in recent years, especially in the USA, have shown an increasing interest in the Italian language “. In fact, more than 200,000 Americans – number that is constantly increasing – study Italian and Italy is the first destination – amongst the non English speaking countries – for study abroad. “I am sure that comics, graffiti and illustrations – continued the Ambassador – with their strong and immediate visual impact will fascinate many lovers of our language and culture of all ages, especially among the youngest who during the pandemic have been deprived of that fundamental place of growth and development that is the school. “
“From Hugo Pratt, creator of the unforgettable Corto Maltese, and winner of the prestigious American Eisner Prize, to the many young contemporary Italian cartoonists, Italy is synonymous with excellence in the USA and internationally” continued Varricchio .
To celebrate the Week (October 19-25), the Embassy, the consular network and the Institutes of Culture in the USA have organized in collaboration with prestigious American organizations and institutions a series of events. The complete program can be found at www.usspeaksitalian.org.
The Italian Cultural Institute in Washington will present animated videos based on 12 stories (for children and adults) taken from Favole al Telefono, Rodari’s masterpiece, published and illustrated for the first time in the USA by the publisher Enchanted Lion last September 20. The 12 episodes of the podcast, translated into English by Anthony Shugaar, will be accompanied by illustrations of designer Valerio Vidali.
On Friday October 23, the Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute, together with Georgetown University, will promote a course for teachers with a focus on teaching Italian online and on the use of digital tools to promote learning and participation of students in the new didactic context. The School Office also organized a competition for university and high school students to produce graffiti, illustrations and comics related to an aspect of Italian culture that struck them.
The Consulate General in Boston organized a virtual conversation with Prof. Cara Takakijan of the University of Massachussets Amherst entitled “The original influencers: Italian Comics and youth culture as shapers of history”. Ana Italian comics expert Prof. Takakijan will illustrate how the world of youth was represented in comics even before the advent of social platforms.
The Consulate in Detroit, in collaboration with cartoonist Cristina Portolano, author of two best sellers such as “Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls” and “Nearly Miss”, organized a master class on October 23 for students of the College for Creative Studies. A virtual meeting will follow for pupils to share their works and discuss the art of comics with Portolano. an interactive conference on illustrations and drawings by the designer Paolo Pagliacci in collaboration with Dante Alighieri of Michigan and Massachusetts, will be held on Sunday 25.
The Consulate General in Philadelphia will organize a presentation by Luca Cottini on the Italian language in the USA. The presentation entitled “How the Italian Language made it to the USA. From Da Ponte to Caruso” illustrate the history of our language in the USA from the foundation of the first Italian language department at Columbia University to the spread of Caruso’s work.
The Consulate General in Houston, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, will organize a webinar entitled “Fellini Forever”, with the participation of Professors Alessandro Carrera of the University of Houston, Aine O’Healy of Loyola Marymount University and Thomas Harrison of UCLA. This will be followed by the digital exhibition “The Contemporary Comic: Themes, Authors and Language in the Italian Graphic Novel” created by Lucca Crea and Lucca Comics & Games (international festival of comics, animation, illustration, games and TV).
In anticipation of the official launch of the Week of Language, the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles hosted the writer and journalist Beppe Severgnini on October 15 to preview the English translation of his latest book, “Neoitaliani – Un manifesto” ( Rizzoli 2020), with the participation of the translator Antony Shugaar.
The Consul General in Miami will virtually inaugurate in Tampa on October 19 an exhibition in panels dedicated to the centenary of the birth of the writer Gianni Rodari, with works by 21 artists inspired by his books. The Mayor Jane Casto and a representative of the local Italian community will be present. A virtual meeting with the screenwriter Moreno Burattini of Bonelli Editore is scheduled for 21 October. The conference will be available via the Consulate General’s social media.
The Italian Cultural Institute in New York will organize on October 23 a conversation entitled “Comics in museums” with Paolo Bacilieri – Cartoonist, Luca Baldazzi – Editor and Press Office, James M. Bradburne – Director of the Brera Art Gallery. The project is conceived and curated by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism, in collaboration with Coconino Press – Fandango, and designed for children and young people who participate in museum workshops.
In San Francisco, on October 21 the Italian Cultural Institute organized a meeting with Valeria Della Valle and Giuseppe Patota, who will present a path entitled “The Italian between word and image: a walk through history”, during which they will accompany the public in direct contact with documents, testimonies and various texts. They will go down to an ancient Roman basilica to discover the oldest comic strip in history; they will move to Tuscany to read a sonnet by Dante, the father of the Italian language; they will observe, in a painting by Andrea del Sarto, a detail that will guide them to read some famous verses of Petrarch; they will illustrate the prose of Machiavelli, who in writing evoked the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.
Starting from October 19, the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, in collaboration with the Institutes of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington and Toronto, will create the virtual exhibition “Drawn stories. The evolution of languages in comics”. This is a digital exhibition, accessible via a 3D platform and organized by Romics, the international festival of comics, animation, cinema and games. The path is configured as a focus on the evolution of the comic language from the great masters to emerging authors. The exhibition, centered on the works of Tito Faraci – writer, screenwriter for Disney, Astorina, Sergio Bonelli Editore and editorial curator of Feltrinelli Comics – and on his interactions with multiple designers and characters, will see 30 tables by the authors of the most important Italian publishing houses. including Giorgio Cavazzano, Silvia Ziche, Bruno Brindisi, Marco Gervasio, Enrique Breccia, Ivo Milazzo, Giuseppe Palumbo, Sio, Francesco Ripoli and Lorenzo Pastrovicchio. In parallel, three webinars will be held with Tito Faraci, Alex Bertani, Barbara Baldi, Sergio Brancato, Giuseppe Palumbo and other authors from the Italian scene. The digital exhibition and the meetings will be available free of charge, in Italian and English, from the www.romics.it website and on the websites of the IICs involved.
In addition to these events, the diplomatic-consular network, the Italian Cultural Institutes and School Managers in the USA have organized a series of meetings, seminars and workshops for professors and teachers of the Italian language in the USA and competitions for university and high school students.