Lerici Pea “Liguri nel Mondo” Prize 2014
to Ireno Guerci
The Lerici Pea Association decided to award Ireno Guerci, a photographer born in Lerici, who has been living in Auroville (India) for twenty years, with the “Artisti e Poeti Liguri nel Mondo” Prize 2014 (Ligurian Artists and Poets around the World), to honour the growing contemporary vocation that this Section is dedicating to different Arts.
In his photos the viewer can witness spiritual research, a combination between truth and beauty that can be considered poetry. His photos go beyond the desire to explore, to capture reality, typical of the art of photography.
They not only show reality, but they picture, instead, the idea that Artists have of reality: an idea of peace, harmony between man and nature which Guerci saw taking shape in Auroville, a universal city where men and women from different countries engage to live in peace beyond any religious belief and political doctrine. He moved there in the 1980s, after shooting various photo features in Italy and winning some black and white photography competitions. In India he found a new source of inspiration, clearly shown in his photo exhibitions which took place in Auroville and Pondichéry and in the photo album “Auroville a Dream”.
On Saturday 14th June 2014, at the end of the award ceremony, a new installation called Water Being wasinaugurated at the Lerici Castle. It was a smaller exhibition compared to the big one which was held in Auroville at Unity Pavillon last January.
The exhibition displays a series of photos of Aquatic Body Work, which represent the most recent result of Ireno Guerci’s artistic and photographic journey.
Guerci loves to call himself a “peace reporter” and the leitmotiv of his photographic research is the concept of concord, intended as contact, communion with everything and everybody without racial, religious, ideological and social constraints.
Auroville, City of Dawn, where Guerci lives, was inaugurated on 28th February 1968 in front of the representatives of 124 nations, including all the States of India and Tibet. Mirra Alfassa, also known as “La Mère” , created it inspired by Sri Aurobindo. It’s a mystical place that for decades has been attracting various people looking for a free, spiritual and practical way of living. After forty years from its foundation, as the journalist Rita Cenni wrote (in 2008 in the magazine Libertaria) after visiting it, Auroville keeps developing and attracting visitors. Here is an excerpt of her article:
On a land of 23 square kilometers permanently 2000 people live, but every day almost 20,000 Indians come to Auroville from the surrounding villages to work. Hundreds of private houses were built there, along with very few apartment buildings, public buildings, a city hall, study centres, meditation centres, pavilions dedicated to different countries. In Auroville there are schools, sport centres, art galleries, small hotels, a canteen for residents, a health unit, an auditorium. And then companies, farms, plants to produce soft energy, experimental greenhouses, dams, a well-structured irrigation system. And the Matrimandir – Mother’s Home in Sanskrit – a sphere made of golden petals that embodies the city centre. It is a 36 m diameter building which took thirty years to be built. Spherical and completely made of marble, we can find the “inner chamber”, a round space where one can practice mental silence. In Auroville Utopia seems to have come true but its residents are not dreamers: environmentalists before their time, they have worked hard since the foundation of Auroville and have planted almost three million trees to rebuild a destroyed ecosystem, they have dug dams, and built up a sophisticated system of alternative energy. The search for spirituality is equally important for those who decided to live in Auroville; there they practice integral yoga and at the Pitanga centre they study how to use the body as a sacred space to nurture awareness and spiritual opening.