Steve McCurry exhibition: the Icons exhibition comes to Cagliari
If you plan on visiting Sardinia during your next vacation you absolutely cannot miss out on the Steve McCurry Icons exhibition at the Palazzo di Città in Cagliari.
The show Steve McCurry Icons will include 100 images and will run from the 12th of June 2020 to the 10th of January 2021 at the Palazzo di Città in Cagliari, one of the showrooms belonging to the Musei Civici of the city.
The museum is in the centre of Castello, one of the historical districts of Cagliari, and after being restored it now hosts temporary exhibitions programmed to value the works part of the permanent collections.
The historical building was build in 1331 by order of King Alfonso IV, it was the first town hall of Cagliari during the medieval age until the end of the XIX century. It faces on to Piazza Palazzo and is close to other symbolic sites of the Sardinian capital like the cathedral of Santa Maria, the Palazzo Regio, the Episcopo and the church of Speranza.
What we see today is a result of a restoration which took place during the 18th century, we can admire an inscription dating back to 1787 in via Cannelles executed according to Piemotese Barocchetto.
The main facade has an elegant arched doorway holding the town’s coat of arms and a stela which bring to mind king Carlo the V’s living room in 1535. The precious ceiling in the entrance of the building is also from those years.
When the city council led by mayor Ottone Baccaredda decided to move the town hall from Palazzo di Città to the current location in via Roma in 1907, the top floor of the building in Piazza Palazzo number 6 was used to host some classes for students at the elementary school and the first floor was used to host the prestigious music conservatory Pier Luigi da Palestrina, made by the will of advocate Gavino Dessì Deliperi.
In 1970 the conservatory was moved to its current location in Piazza Ennio Porrino 1 and Palazzo di Città was abandoned until 2009 when it was restored and brought back to life as a museum.
The Steve McCurry Icons exhibition will initiate a new season for the museum after three months of virtual interactions with the public because of the health emergency COVID-19 which affected the entire world.
Steve McCurry exhibition: identikit of a great photography master
Palazzo di Città will host the Steve McCurry Icons exhibition, promoted by the municipality of Cagliari and organized by Civita Mostre e Musei in collaboration with the Fondazione di Sardegna and SudEst57.
The retrospective is a collection of iconic shots by the great contemporary photographer, artworks that speak about our time with an intense, sentimental, strong and universal vision.
Steve McCurry was born on the 23rd of April 1950 in a small village near Filadelfia in Pennsylvania, before going to Penn State University where he studies photography and cinema, he went to High School Marple Newtown in Delaware County.
After his degree, he cultivated his growing passion for photography and collaborated with the local newspaper The Daily Collegian.
Later on, he went to India for two years and worked as a freelance photographer. By reading his biography, we know that during this time he realised “If you wait, people will forget your camera, and the soul will drift up into view”.
His career is marked by the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in 1979, the long war ended only 10 years later. Shortly before the invasion Steve dressed in traditional clothing and walked across the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan when he returned he brought back rolls of film sewed between his clothes.
The images of conflict were published all over the world and he was rewarded with Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, a recognition assigned to photographers who stand out for their effort and exceptional courage.
During the next years, McCurry showed the world other images of great international conflicts including the Gulf War and the wars in Iran-Iraq, Beirut, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
He was a member of the Magnum Photo world-famous photography agency since 1986, and he won many prizes including the Magazine Photographer of the Year given out by the National Press Photographers’ Association, also the World Press Photo Contest prize and the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award.
His work goes beyond language and cultural limitations, it captures stories of people and shows how war not only changes landscapes but how it can change a person’s expression.
“Most of my photos are focused on people,” says McCurry, “I search for the moment in which the soul is genuine, in which experience is impressed on the face of a person. I try to transmit the image of people captured in a large context which we could call the human condition. I want to show a visceral sense of beauty and the wonders found before me during my travels when the surprise of a stranger is mixed with the joy of familiarity”.
Steve McCurry’s career was not focused only on war photography, but also on street photography, urban photographs and 11 splendid shots in the Pirelli calendar edition 2013.
Among his many portraits, the most famous one is the Afghan girl, “the best-known picture” in the history of the National Geographic which published the photo on its cover in June 1985.
The photo was shot in a refugee camp near Peshawar in Pakistan, the girl was just 12 years old at the time and her identity was discovered only 17 years later by McCurry himself. In 2002 he returned to Afghanistan with a National Geographic team to find the mystery girl whom he found after long and complicated researches.
He recognised her because of her magnetic icy green eyes and the shape of her lips. Only then did he discover her name: Shahar Gula which in the Pashto language means “flower girl of sweet water”.
“Our conversation was brief and formal. She still remembered me because it was the only time in her life that somebody had taken her photo and maybe because I was the only foreigner she had had contact with. When she saw the photo for the first time she was a bit embarrassed because of the hole in her scarf, she told me it got burned while cooking. I thought it would please her to know her image had moved many people, nonetheless, I’m not sure the photo meant much to her or that she understood those people much. Magazines, newspapers, television where not part of her wold. Her parents had been killed and she lived a reclusive life; she did not have contact with others apart from her husband and children, some acquired relatives and a few family friends. Her reaction seemed to me to be a mixture of indifference and embarrassment, with a touch of curiosity and confusion”.
Shabat Gula agreed on having her photo taken again and it was published on the April 2002 National Geographic edition entitled Found.
For further information on the Steve McCurry Icons exhibition, we advise you to visit the sistemamuseale.museicivicicagliari.it website.
The show will be open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday all day from 10 am to 8 pm. So to guarantee your entrance in respect of the post-COVID-19 protocol it is required for you to book your visit online.
The full fare ticket is 9 euros, meanwhile for students up to 26 years of age, groups of 15 people and seniors of over 65 years of age the price is reduced to 4,50 euros. The entrance is free for children up to 6 years, journalists, people with a handicap and their accompanist and ICOM members.