Opening THE PAST IS FOREIGN LAND – Serena Riglietti (Italy)

“Drawing allows me to continue playing those childhood games that brought so much joy, yet this next sequel possesses a deeper awareness making the enjoyment and the suffering even greater, more real.

If childhood games help us become more self-aware, then continuing to play them as adults gives us the freedom to reinvent them. In fact, the possibility of expression through a language means to wonder, to question, and to continuously find answers. In this way, my drawings become “containers” of a personal history. I draw to tell a story, utilizing signs, symbols, and metaphors –as if they were words. If I were a writer, my style would be closer to 19th century novels instead of evocative poetry because my drawings incorporate numerous elements. In them, I feel a before and after where the observer views a space already visited by someone who altered the time or the perspective and exited the scene, leaving all in a state of suspension.

My first work as a student was a story board for an animation: a haphazard figure -my own self perhaps- riding a cloud filled with colored tubes that were opened and its contents squeezed all over the city, changing its somber grey tones into a rainbow of colors. Perhaps, I was unknowingly writing my destiny. My teachers didn’t find it interesting but, I never wanted to be the first in the class anyway. I remember being “fashionable” to design and color everything as if composed of the same material with a soft, shiny leathery quality which was quite attractive. Instead, I was drawn to the “bad” type of execution where the human body was unbeautiful, awkward, and clumsy because I searched for the “nausea”, the adrenaline.”

Serena Riglietti lives in Pesaro with her two sons, Francesco, and Tommaso. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts Urbino for fine arts and pursued a career in illustration. She is the illustrator for the Italian version of Harry Potter series and of more than 80 children’s books with major publishers such as Mondadori, Grimm Press, Simon and Schuster, and Usborne Publishing.