Interview: Teresa Letizia Bontà
Luca Curci talks with Teresa Letizia Bontà during MIXING IDENTITIES, the third appointment of CANVAS ART FAIR, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
Teresa Letizia Bontà was born in Licata, Agrigento, in 1981. She approached the world of self-taught photography at a very young age. The first subject that stimulated her was certainly her environment and the artistic and landscape beauty of her country. Among her favorite themes, there is no lack of people, the woman, the surrounding reality. Hers is simple photography attentive to details. Her photos tell what she is and what she has been. She realized her first photographic exhibition in 2017 in Licata, gaining a lot of success and being mentioned in many newspapers. In Venice in the same year she participated in the competition Premio Arte Laguna, then in Mestre at the Atelier association she realized her second photographic exhibition. In the summer of 2018, she realized a photoshoot in Sicily in Palma di Montechiaro, where she dared to go further, breaking through the wall of taboos: she immortalized the kiss between two women in front of the church. This shot caused quite
a stir from the population and newspapers. The shots had the positive consent of the well-known stylist Stefano Gabbana who on Instagram appreciated her art. In September 2018 she applied again for the Premio Arte Laguna with more intimate themes and with sought-after shots. In May 2019 she ranked second in the “Michelangelo Vizzini” award on women and Sicily, also obtaining the Special Jury Prize for the shot that immortalizes the two women kissing. Remaining strong with the Sicily theme, she participates in the International Festival of the Mediterranean in Mazzara del Vallo, where she presents ten shots that tell about her land and the work done in recent years. Other awards arrive in March 2020 from the D’E.M. Art Gallery of Venice, which awards her art with the critics’ prize. Also in 2020, Teresa begins to show in her shots the continuous artistic evolution, while maintaining her roots; she begins to experiment with new horizons, bringing in her photos current and committed themes. She plays with colors, contrasts with the lines of bodies telling emotions and everyday life. The international magazine Lens Magazine has awarded Teresa as one of the ten big names in black and white. Then the project “Time” was born, a series of very strong shots matured during the Covid quarantine. Many galleries have noticed these photos and have been selected and awarded by many critics. She participates and is selected for exhibitions in some Italian and foreign galleries. In April her shots come back to Lens Magazine thanks to the “Time” project with the Covid-19 theme that gets a special showcase. She is also chosen by Vogue magazine, and this project continues to have great success and positive feedback.
Luca Curci – How did you get to photography?
Teresa Letizia Bontà – It is a journey that starts from the soul, the first time I started to “photograph” I did it with my eyes, as children do seeing wonderful subjects hidden in the clouds, in the shape of the stones, along the branches of the trees. I started to see beyond things and suggest showing what I saw. My first camera traded it for a lot of clothes because I couldn’t buy it and from there I started photographing. I always entrusted myself to my eyes and my instincts because I didn’t know the techniques, I hadn’t run courses, my school was the way, the emotions of the agent, the passion that has always led me to experiment and improve.
LC – Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
TLB – All this was born from the need to listen to my creativity – a sort of divine call.
LC – How much is the editing process important? How’s yours?
TLB – I don’t like changing my photos too much because I prefer that the emotion told is not changed. Currently, the pandemic has stopped various events, but at the same time, my creativity has freed itself to express itself to the fullest.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
TLB – When I think about how some of my shots were born or when I have to answer someone who asks me this question, I reflect and I realize how much the moon has never knocked on my door, but has always filtered forcefully through closed shutters. These closed rooms of our self, and in this specific case of mine, are slowly discovered; but in doing that on a personal level, I slowly decided to give light through my artistic and photographic journey, lightening them, making them practicable. Everything starts from the soul, a vision comes to mind, I immediately draw the image and then realize it.
LC – What artistic themes do you pursue?
TLB – I very often deal with the issue of violence against women, a theme very dear to me above all because it is a theme that involves everyone and silence cannot remain.
LC – What’s your favorite topic, if there is one?
TLB – I love to tell the daring of my soul and I make use of other souls who know the weight of those steps.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? It’s like your means of expression?
TLB – Usually, I use art to free my soul from any emotion but I always hope to be able to help other people in seeing themselves in that context, even simply with a reflection. The emotion in itself is strong and I always try to thread my hand into the depths of every emotion because it is there that growth resides, and above all the emotional experience.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think of the festival theme?
TLB – I wouldn’t be in London with you if I didn’t agree!!
LC – Can you explain something about the works of art you have in our exhibition?
TLB – The time. Fast, slow, infinite, rich, sterile, the time with which every day we confront each other. Here’s how I’d describe this quarantine I’ve been in for over a month. Scanned and lived. In early March, the first warnings of road closures came; here in the North they began earlier than in the rest of Italy: blockage of traffic, activities and the tension already began to be felt. I don’t know when I would see the people I love, my family away, I don’t know when I could resume my normal activities, work, photography, projects, everyday life. The cases in China had already made me think a lot and seeing those images of people completely upset in a new way of life made me think. In me, the fear, the discomfort, the new perception of distances have given rise to this project. And the time was the one that accompanied me, spurred and even challenged me during photo shoots. I managed to do a part of the shots, then the impossibility of going out stopped me, but also gave me a great opportunity: living a time with completely different rhythms than we are used to. I started breathing the time.
LC – What do you think about the ITSLIQUID Platform?
TLB – It is a powerful means for art and for those who live on art.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us?
TLB – Absolutely yes, especially for artistic growth.
LC – What do you think about the services we provide?
TLB – I believe that they are useful for making artists and their art knew all over the world.
LC – Did you enjoy collaborating with us?
TLB – I enjoyed it very much; obviously, I hope for another great collaboration in the future.