During WWII, on their way to bomb northern Italy English and American pilots could see under them a huge white spot. By that they knew they were flying over Casale Monferrato, also known as “the white town.” The roofs of the houses were, in fact, covered in white by the asbestos dust coming off the Eternit plant. Throughout the plant’s production life a massive quantity of asbestos dust was dispersed into the atmosphere through the factory chimneys that had no protective filters.
The containment strategies to curb the wave of the pandemic had a strong psychological impact on the population. This underestimated consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic was mostly noticed in adolescents. Adolescence is a crucial period of human life that is characterized by the physiological evolution of somatic characteristics associated with psychological and behavioural modifications. Most of them experienced feelings of fear, discouragement, and anxiety which strongly affected the approach to their daily lifestyles.
To undergo a swab test, a rapid examination to diagnose an ongoing SARS-CoV-2 infection, is undoubtedly an unpleasant experience. Worrying about the test results, and the implied consequences, adds to the discomfort of this invasive examination. A thin stick (like a cotton bud) is placed deep in the nasal cavity and in the back of the throat, often triggering a cough or the gag reflex. The very moment before, when such intimacy is shared with an unknown person and where there is no defence, no choice, human character and fragility are revealed.
Pietro Condello, 67 y.o., former Eternit worker. Born and raised in Taormina (Sicily), he moved to Casale on 1969 in seek for a job. He worker at Eternit from 1971 to 1986 as a porter in the raw material ward. All his colleagues died of asbestos related pathologies. He is affected by asbestosis. Casale Monferrato, Piedmont, 2013. From the series “The dust under the carpet”
Arcangelo Paladino, 64, portrayed at the train station of the hamlet of Balzola. Born in southern Italy, he moved to the North in 1967 in search of work. In the region, he got to meet Antonia, his wife, who used to live next to the Eternit asbestos plant. His father-in-law, former Eternit worker, died of Asbestosis in 1998. Antonia, who used to wash her father's coveralls, died in 2004 for a respiratory disease. Casale Monferrato, Piedmont, 2013
The graveyard. Only in the city more than 1600 people had died for asbestos related pathologies. Still today, 30 years after the plant was dismissed, there are about 50 new cases of mesothelioma every year. In the 80s and '90s there where about 20-25. Casale Monferrato, Piedmont, 2013. From the series “The dust under the carpet”, Italy 2013-2016
Kurbanbayramı (feast of sacrifice) is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act to submission to God's command. The meat from the sacrificed animal (goat)is divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share. Another third is given to relatives, friends, and neighbors and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy. Istanbul, 2012