Italian’s right to life is violated by heinously managed industries and illegally buried toxic waste that cause dramatic cancer rates. Denial and code-of-silence often rule. In order to speak up and make explicit “The Unbearable Contradiction” between Italy’s breathtaking natural landscape and the invisible health threat, I pushed a hospital gurney for 100 km, from the Adriatic to the Ionian coast of Italy’s heel, the region called Puglia. My journey was welcomed by spontaneous gatherings of citizens inspired to collectively take action.  (Photo&video: Federica Antonelli, Rossella Granata;   press: Rossella Granata; logistics: Betty Locane; scenography: Dario Rizzello). Sponsored by ISDE-International Society of Doctors for Environment (English translation provided below videos).

Screenings and exhibitions: 2017 MACRO-Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Rome (IT) – Farm Cultural Park, Favara (IT) – 2016 Spazio Bong, Florence (IT) – Castello di Acaya, Lecce (IT) – La Notte della Cultura e delle Arti, Art and Ars Gallery, Galatina (IT) – Richmond College London, Florence (IT) Campus

ENGLISH TRANSLATION [TEXT] This artwork is an act of love for Salento and Puglia. NoelGazzano pushed a gurney from Brindisi to Taranto to show “The Unbearable Contradiction” between evident natural beauty and invisible health risk caused by heinous management of resources, waste and industries. Her journey was welcomed by spontaneous gatherings, demonstrating that art created with awareness of being in the world enables social transformation. To promote hope, Noel sprouted hemp seeds and planted them in Fornaro’s farm, symbol of Taranto’s rebirth, for a clean future. [WOMAN] These are flowers for Noel Gazzano, who courageously pursued her marvellous idea to make us all more sensitive towards the protection of our beloved homeland, Puglia. [TEXT] The artist’s voice will guide you in her most intimate feelings – her deep relationship with this land – which is the poetic premise of this artwork. [NOEL GAZZANO] Oh My Land / when the Scirocco wind blows / with sand in my eyes / I remember I’m a woman of the South and the East / Oh My Land when the Scirocco wind blows / and my skin beats / I remember that I’m a Woman of the extreme South-East / and my feet are anchored in you / and my hair blows / with chamomille / and my hands are in the air like fans / and my step beats the rhythm of the heart / and my skin burns, oh My Land. / I love you, My Land / and even to say I love you is foolish / because I am Yours / your clumps of dirt are my flesh / your olive.tree trunks are my legs / and the poison they hurt you with, oh My Land, I feel it in my veins / all the way in my mouth / while before in our mouth there was only sugar and almonds [typical local sweet] / and the most bitter taste we knew was wild chicory / I walked for you, oh My Land. / I counted the rocks of the “pagghiari” [local architecture] / one at a time the grass stalks / I put the daisies in a row / the prickly pear plants / the grape bunches. / I walked to tell you thank you, oh My Land. / Thank you for the olive trees / for the dark earth that is my skin under the sundayfor the poppies / the wheat / the chicadas / the nights dark with waves. / Thank you Palmariggi at night [local village] / with your soft architecture / and your alien processions of slugs on the church porch. / Thank you Otranto [local town] / with your mythological phantoms / your nine-hundred heroes / your love story inlaid in the pavement. / Thank you Cava di Bauxite [local area] / for having taught me complementary colors / for your fragrance of resin and salt / the same one I feel between my legs. / I walked to defend you, oh My Land. / I counted one at a time your wounds / I rolled my finger over them / licked their blood. / I counted one at a time the fogs, the fumes / the tense gazes / the sad mouths / the ambulance sirens / the nauseating intravenous drips. / I counted one at a time your crosses, oh My Land. / I walked for you, inhabitants of My Land. / For your dense eyes / for the little festive lights / for the village band / for the “cassa armonica” [a construction], “cupeta” and “mostazzoli” [local sweets]. / I walked for your rhythm / for the dances in a circle [traditional “pizzica” dance] / for the bare feet, the skirts [traditional long “pizzica” skirts], the drums. / I walked for your abundance, oh my inhabitants / because you smile to the foreigner / hug who arrives / and already miss you is leaving. / Because you eat poppies [local dish]. / Because one night a woman told me: “You will return”. / “Why?” / “Because here we are happy”. / I walked because it is true. / I walked because we have the right to feel Our Land in our flesh / without fearing to die because of it.

TELEVISION FEATURES – English translation below videos

TELENORBA, 19 April 2016

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Click to view. English translation provided below video screen – Day 1 – TeleNorba TV (Brindisi, April 19th, 2016)

[JOURNALIST] From Brindisi to Taranto by foot. 100 kilometers in four days pushing a hospital gurney: this is the original protest-performance by Italian-American artist and anthropologist Noel Gazzano, in order to say “NO!” to poisened Puglia. [NOEL GAZZANO] The contradiction between the outrageous beauty of Puglia and the extreme violence that makes locals sick with cancer is unbearable. Puglia should only be beautiful. We should only be happy in Puglia, because all the premises are here. [JOURNALIST] Twenty kilometers a day crossing the industrial areas of Brindisi, Mesagne, Oria and Taranto, with arrival on April 22nd. A message of love and hope: the gurney pushed by the artist throughout the journey will transform, kilometer after kilometer, from symbol of illness to symbol of rebirth. In fact, on the gurney hemp plants will sprout, and they will be given as gifts to the inhabitants fo Taranto and planted in the most polluted areas. [NOEL GAZZANO] I don’t want to cross Puglia with a symbol of illness: I want to give my journey a very positive meaning, so the gurney doesn’t symbolize illness but rebirth, because there are options to change the situation, and these options are available to all of us.


[SPEAKER] Original initiative of the Italian-American artist and anthropologist Noel Gazzano, now living in Lecce (Puglia) who – just imagine! – is walking for 100 kilometers between Taranto and Brindisi pushing a hospital gurney to say “NO!” to a poisened Puglia. [JOURNALIST] 100 kilometers in four stops to say, with an original initiative, “NO!” to a poisened Puglia. A journey between Brindisi and Taranto, two cities that symbolize pollution, with the Cerano carbon plant on one side and the ILVA iron plant on the other. Noel Gazzano, Italian-American artist and anthropologist, now living in Lecce (Puglia), departed this morning on foot pushing a hospital gurney. [NOEL GAZZANO] I am pushing a hospital gurney in order to create a specific image. First of all, there’s the contradiction between my dress and the gurney: the dress is covered with flowers [local poppies], it is a positive symbol; the gurney symbolizes illness. There is a further contrast between the gurney and the landscape I cross: poppy fields, olive groves…with this gurney in front of them. Why? The gurney symbolizes the hidden violence, the invisible risk of getting sick because of pollution. [JOURNALIST] On the gurney she has hemp seeds which will grow into plants throughout the journey and will be planted at the end. She will cross many towns; the stops ar: Mesagne, Oria, San Giorgio Jonico and finally Taranto on April 22nd. Noel Gazzano will be followed by those who want to participate in this action to develop awareness; in fact, many environmentalist associations have already endorsed her initiative.

TELENORBA, 21 April 2016

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Click to view. English translation provided below video screen – Day 3. Telenorba TV (Carosino, IT, April 21st, 2016)

TELENORBA, 22 April 2016


(Noel Gazzano) “I gathered flowers during the whole journey, and these are literally flowers from Brindisi all the way here. Little bouquets symbolizing the beauty of this land. I liked this image of arriving with a journey of flowers. We managed to sprout the hemp seeds, so here I am with hundreds of plants that are a beautiful symbol, because hemp is used to detoxify land from dioxin, so this gurney doesn’t symbolize illness. At the beginning it did, but now that I have arrived at destination it symbolizes springtime, birth, healing, therapy, because we deserve to live where we are born, and we have the right to be in health where we are born and have our loved ones. I feel a bit crazy, I wasn’t even born here, what am I doing here?! But I fell in love, I fell in love with Puglia, so perhaps I do crazy things like a woman in love.” (Public) “Thank you!  (Noel Gazzano) “Thanks to you!” (Public) “Stay in Puglia!” (Noel Gazzano) “I might very well do so!”

LECCE CRONACA, 19 April 2016

TV MED, 22 April 2016


BELSALENTO, journalist Giovanni Greco (Lecce, May 2016)



What is violence? We all have a nearby or distant rifle to deal with. But how? I come from a family of violent men. This is the rifle my father inherited from his father. Now that they have passed, ironically it is mine.

Edited video (3’52”)

Unedited video (2h13’39”)

Screenings and exhibitions: 2016 Spazio Bong, Florence (IT) – Palazzo Vettori, Kent University, Florence (IT) – Richmond College London, Florence (IT) Campus – REThink Video Arts Festival, Rethymno, Crete (GR)

Prizes and competitions: 2015 – Finalist, Premio Arte Laguna, Venice (IT)

LA NOTTE DELLA TARANTA – Live painting, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino. 18 August 2014, Cutrofiano (IT)

I had the honour to work on stage with world-famous band “Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino”, developing a live-painting performance to the socially engaged words on the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean by Italian author Erri De Luca. In a surprising twist of events, I ripped the skirt off the dancer’s portrait I had just created. Dancer Silvia Perrone’s costume turned red as she wore the skirt I made, and red paint swirled on the public along with the imagery of death in the Mediterranean echoing above.

L’ISOLA – THE ISLAND (2014). Salone dei Teatini, Lecce (IT)

During Itinerario Rosa 2014, the City of Lecce celebrates women’s creativity with a series of events among which an exhibition and performance by artist&anthropologist Noel Gazzano, who explores a feminine identity as characterised by sensitivity and imagination. Images of disarming sensuality, product of a research that explores with tenacious sensitivity the invisible and powerful world of feeling. Noel Gazzano, multifaceted Italian and American artist, exhibits large, vibrant canvases created in relationship with Salento (Apulia, IT) and its people, whose connection to nature is seen by the artist as a source of great affect. As a consequence, the images of women that arise merge with natural elements, and their nudity evokes the typically feminine capability to let go to relationships with truth and hope. An exhibition to delight in with the dreamy gaze that characterizes of the passage from sleep to awakening, abandoning ourselves to the imagination of the artist, who will be present every day with the painting performance “L’Isola-The Island” in collaboration with clarinet virtuoso Rocco Causo. Noel Gazzano created a real island with live plants at the center of the exhibition hall, surrounding it with nine meters of white canvas. Barefoot, and dressed in white, for the duration of the exhibition she will create around her microscopic realm a sea populated by mythological creatures, moving her body at the rhythm of experimental clarinet. She dances barefoot on the grass, and her dance depicts a sea of amorous mermaids. The island is her fancy, and fancy is her truth. 21-26 March 2014.



SALENTO WEB-TV, 25 March 2014







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