In January, Ph.D. student Francesco Arese Visconti will be holding his final/VIVA photography exhibition at the London Gallery West at Harrow campus.

When Italians started to migrate to Switzerland after the end of World War II, they were the largest community of migrants in the Swiss Confederation. They contributed greatly to the prosperity of Switzerland, but always as external help, and they therefore struggled to get integrated into Swiss society.

However, by the end of the 1970s, Switzerland began to change this unequal relationship and Italians were able to become part of the Swiss community. After a period of deceleration, at the beginning of the 21st century Italians once again started to heavily migrate to the Swiss Confederation. 

According to the Office Federal de la Statistique, in 2021 Italians were still the largest group of migrants in Switzerland. This phenomenon has, of course, an impact on different levels of Swiss society. The new diaspora is different in many aspects from the migration of the 1960s and 1970s. 

How can an image capture a complex, ineffable, and unrepresentable notion of modern Italian cultural identity? And how can an image represent the cultural identity of a group of people whose lives have been irrevocably altered by the experience of physically moving away from their homeland and resetting in a terra incognita?

These photographs are an attempt to render visible the complex notion of this new migratory identity, of identity in flux, which is different from the common understanding of migration. The message of this work is that there is great value in telling the stories of these migrants, which are often underestimated. 

More information about the exhibition and Francesco’s work can be found on his website: Francesco Arese Visconti PHOTOGRAPHY.

The exhibition will be open from 5:30pm on Thursday 12 January and will remain open until 1pm on Sunday 22. No registration required.