Silvia Rosi was born in Italy in 1992 and is currently working in London. In 1988 her father moved from Togo in West Africa to Italy, hoping to continue his studies and his professional career in Europe. When Rosi’s mother arrived a year later, his father was picking tomatoes. That was the only work he could find. Rosi belongs to a generation of artists whose parents have migrated. Encounter means both “meeting” and “clash”, which describes the work well. The parents’ departure became Rosi’s legacy. From a completely different place, she tries to reunite herself with her parents’ history and the Togolese culture.
The photographs include self-portraits in which Rosi assumes the role of her mother and father. The work is told through both still and moving images. In one video, Rosi’s mother and grandmother show how to tie knots in cloth to carry things on the head. In Togo this knowledge has been passed on from mother to daughter for generations. The style chosen by Rosi for the photographs is that of a highly colourful portrait with a painted background and props. This aesthetic follows the convention for family photos that has long been common in West African photo studios.
Rosi’s father moved on from Italy to the Netherlands. Her mother did not follow him. The photographer has never met her father, and her mother rarely talks about the past. Encounter is therefore also about a dissolved family. What was lost? Is it possible to create a fictitious family album? Can you bring together in a photograph what has been broken up in reality? Rosi’s story of heritage and culture is both deeply personal and simultaneously universal.