Stories of arrivals, failures and achievements. Someone can’t remember where the luggage he brought from home is now. Someone stored it in a safe place, in case one day he might need it again. Someone is packing at this very moment, with a one-way ticket in her pocket. These are stories of people, stories of journeys, and sometimes bring with them radical changes, sweat, hard work, and disappointments. Sometimes they end in success. These are stories of people who struggled but made it in the end. And stories of hopeful people still waiting to find their path.
“È Il mi’ paese”, my village, she says.
“I know everybody and everybody knows me.I could not live anywhere else”.
ALESSANDRA TORTONE, 33 years old, mural artist. In London since 2006. A painter with no canvas, Alessandra paints on walls, window-shops, faces, bodies. She arrived eight years ago, from Sardinia, and began her new life with a bravery that is a credit to her. “As an artist, it was not easy for me to live and work in a place like Sardinia, beautiful but narrow-minded. I had an auntie in London and I decided to give it a go. It was Christmas time, when every shop decorates its windows. At the beginning my English was zero and I remember going into restaurants and shops asking ‘Me painting window Christmas?’ Despite my accent everyone was very nice, and I started finding jobs. They were well paid and after two months I could leave my auntie’s house and find somewhere by myself. I continued painting walls and murals, until someone suggested I learn make-up art. I took a course and started working as make-up artist and body painter at parties, for children, adults, photographers and models. And I paint boards with the menu of the day for restaurants and bars. London has given me many opportunities. There is something different to learn and try everyday. Homesick? Not really. I go back to Sardinia every summer but my life is here now”.
“One day, after a very bad diagnosis fortunately contradicted after 48 hours, I asked myself if I was happy. The answer was no. I realised I was going to work without any energy, without anything to look forward to.”