Not Your Ordinary Laundry Day in Assisi!

Not Your Ordinary Laundry Day in Assisi!

An exhibition in Assisi uses sheets with faces hanging from windows and balconies

Meandering through the streets in Italian cities and villages, it’s not uncommon to see laundry gently fluttering in the breeze. Hanging from clothes lines on balconies, windows, patios, it’s one of my favorite photo subjects.

Maybe it’s the memories of my mother hanging our wash on the clothes line, clothes pins perfectly placed as she hung our hand wash to dry. I guess it’s also because there is something so personal about it. Everything from sheets to shirts are displayed, even our most intimate apparel. And as they dance and wave, they reveal much about the lives of those who live inside…
 
So, it was only natural that, when I saw sheets hanging in a passageway while meandering in Assisi with fellow travelers, my curiosity was aroused and I absolutely had to explore…Assisi, like just about every medieval hill town in Umbria is full of charming thoroughfares and side streets. It’s absolutely a must to allow time to just wander…no map, no agenda…just enjoy.
 
That is how those serendipities occur and that is exactly how we came upon this extraordinary “exhibit”…Hanging across a  lovely residential thoroughfare were sheets… but not your ordinary sheets. These sheets all had delightful portraits on them. Men, women, all ages, all smiling, all friendly, all amiable…all neighborly…
 
Curiosity peeked, we continued and turning a corner, aha, yes, more sheets and more congenial faces… hanging from windows and balconies, along walls, criss-crossing the passageway… fluttering, flapping, dancing together in the gentle breeze…
 
Smiling, welcoming faces, like breadcrumbs along the yellow brick road, inviting us to continue…who could resist following them and seeing where they all led? Who were they? Who was the artist? Alas, as we came to the end. There is a pleasant bar, the timing is perfect for a caffè and perhaps we can learn more about this delightful exhibit.
 
I notice similar portraits on the wall and engaging in a chat with the owner, Pasquale, we learn that the artist is Assisi-born Claudio Carli and the portraits, 100 of them, are of 100 residents who live along this very street.
 
The installation was to last 100 days and, our timing was perfect, this was the 100th day. There were neighborhood festivities for the opening and more planned for that evening. Never was laundry day so delightful!

 

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