Below are four recent performances of mine that deal with: cancer-causing pollution (“L’Insopportabile Contraddizione”, 2016), gender-based violence (“La Fine di Un’Era”, 2015), the current migratory crisis in Sicily (“La Notte della Taranta”, 2014) and women’s lives in Italy (“L’Isola”, 2014). My artwork is grounded in ethnographic fieldwork, social-scientific research and personal experience. I perform anthropological research to identify the underlying causes of critical social issues; I then address those causes with powerful images and actions the force of which stems from my own experience of surviving cancer and abuse. My public performances are always followed long-term by screenings and exhibitions accompanied by my public speeches, to ensure the artistic action has a vast and deep social impact. I devise relational tools for the public to share feedback and insight, and I develop networks-groups that I nurture indefinitely over time.


A cancer pandemia caused by illegally buried toxic waste and criminally managed industries is violating Italians’ right to life: invisible, unspoken threats due to corruption, denial, code-of-silence. In order to defy denial and promote civic participation, I pushed a hospital gurney for 100 km across Puglia, Italy’s heel, famous touristic destination burdened with the highest cancer rates. My performance openly displayed “The Unbearable Contradiction” between evident beauty and hidden health risks. On the gurney I sprouted phytopurifying hemp seeds and planted them upon arrival to state that real cancer prevention consists in land-cleaning.

Featured on national television and press, my work inspired collective action. I was welcomed and hosted by spontaneous citizen gatherings at every stop, demonstrating that art created in the world and for the world has the power to trigger social change. Below is my arrival in San Giorgio Jonico, where I was invited to improvise a brief public speech [English subtitles provided]. The central piazza was replete with citizens, activists, cancer survivors, politicians. Under the auspices of ISDE-International Society of Doctors for Environment.

In order to promote widespread awareness and trigger social change, I created the short video “Terra Mia, Io Cammino per Te” (“Oh My Land, I walk for You”). It has been projected in a broad variety of venues in order to guarantee the most effective social impact: public spaces, Italian and American Universities, art galleries and museums, festivals. I introduced each projection with a public speech.

SCREENINGS AND EXHIBITIONS (SELECTION): 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.

CREDITS Photo&video Federica Antonelli, Rossella Granata Press Rossella Granata Logistics Betty Locane Scenography Dario Rizzello

I walked because we have the right to feel our Land in our flesh without fearing to die for this.

MEDIA & TELEVISION FEATURES (English translation below videos) Television and international media provided vast coverage of my performance, demonstrating that my choice of action and construction of image were effective in preventing the denial, obliteration and minimization that most often characterise public discourse in Italy. The image of this solo woman garbed in a vintage gown fearlessly performing such a feat could not be ignored. I spurred a lively debate, also among people usually distant from sociopolitical talk. The impact of my unconventional work has lasted to this day: local communities state more openly their issues, and criminally buried toxic waste as causing locals’ cancer has become a preminent topic openly discussed among media and the public.

(SELECTION) PRESS: La Repubblica, La Stampa, Il Corriere della Sera (national Italian newspapers), Huffington Post, Vice, etc. TELEVISION FEATURES: Telenorba, RAI 3 National Italian Television, Lecce Cronaca, TV Med RADIO: Canaparliamone

TELENORBA, 19 April 2016 [translation below video]

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Click to view. English translation below  – 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.

RAI3 NATIONAL ITALIAN TV, 20 April 2016 [translation below video]

[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

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.

I come from an abusive family. This is the rifle my father inherited from his father. When they passed, ironically it became mine. After dealing with the abuse I suffered, with this performance I poetically propose how to separate from all forms of violence through resilience, sensitivity and radical truth telling. Exhibited internationally and winner of a variety of art competitions, this work allowed abused women to see their lives in a new light, overcoming shame thanks to the (unplanned) final nude.

Edited version (3’52”)

SCREENINGS AND EXHIBITIONS 2017 FARM Culture Park (Favara, IT)2016 Spazio Bong, Florence (IT) – Palazzo Vettori, Kent University, Florence (IT) – Richmond College London, Florence (IT) Campus – PRIZES AND COMPETITIONS 2016 REThink Video Arts Festival, Rethymno, Crete (GR) – 2015 Finalist, Premio Arte Laguna, Venice (IT).

Unedited performance (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 collaborate with world-famous band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, specialised in reinventing with contemporary language traditional music from Puglia. I was invited to develop a live-painting performance that explored the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean as expressed by socially engaged Italian author Erri De Luca, who worded a song for Canzoniere. I created a portrait of the main dancer; in a surprising twist of events, I ripped the skirt off the portrait, placed it on the dancer whose costume turned red, swirling “blood” on the public as harsh images of death in the Mediterranean echoed above.

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

[From the official communication campaign] During Itinerario Rosa 2014, the City of Lecce (Puglia, IT) celebrates women’s creativity with a series of events. Invited artist, Noel Gazzano explored feminine identity with a disarmingly sensual performance, 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 (Puglia, 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. An exhibition that should be experience with the delicate gaze that characterises 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, 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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