Coming soon, an exhibition on hugs told through comic books

In a time of lack of hugs, comes the traveling exhibition Free Hugs, a review of hugs told through comics.

At a time when hugs are in short supply due to the pandemic and the resulting physical distancing, Venice Days, in collaboration with Oedipus Island, is telling the story of hugs through comics with the preview of the traveling exhibition Free Hugs.

In fact, on Sept. 2, at 9 p.m. in the Sala Laguna, a new space co-managed by Venice Days and Oedipus Island, the preview of the exhibition will be presented to discover the many forms of embrace and present an overview of the stylistic variety and great creative energy of contemporary, Italian and international drawing: from Gipi to Manuele Fior, from Davide Reviati to emerging graphic novel personalities (including Zuzu, Antonio Pronostico and Alice Socal), from the humor of Maicol and Mirco to the rewriting of science fiction imagery accomplished by LRNZ; from the memory of masters such as Will Eisner and Jacovitti to the refined intimism of Bianca Bagnarelli.

Sydney, 2004. An ordinary man, on the corner of a busy pedestrian street, dispenses hugs to passersby in the face of such distrust and dismay. The idea had occurred to him at the airport on his return to Australia when, after several years of living outside his own country, he had found no one to greet him. All he had on the street that day was a lot of willpower and a sign that read “Free hugs.” An ante litteram flashmob, lonely but global, a meme before Instagram and Tik Tok. This small gesture arrived on YouTube in 2006 and three months later had millions of views. A simple hug had become an unstoppable international movement. What a single man had improvised to criticize a hasty society that too often celebrates separation, so many artists elaborated in their own way, unknowingly immortalizing a revolution. Into the 2021 of denied hugs comes Free hugs - the comic book hug in which more than 40 artists from different places around the world, distant in style, age and experience, come together.

“After 18 months of the pandemic,” says Giulio De Vita, Artistic Director of PAFF, "this exhibition aims to be a symbol of the heroism of those fighting the virus, treatment and protection. The selection of drawn hugs, extrapolated from the many comic book stories, bring us back with emotion to the normality of natural, instinctive gestures that we have had to deprive ourselves of, almost censored, as in the famous final sequence of the cut-off kisses in the Oscar-winning film Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, which in our case is the renovated Sala Laguna."

“In this year of online images and cinema seen in spite of ourselves in solitude from the couch at home,” adds Giorgio Gosetti, general delegate of the Venice Days, “we have often surprised ourselves in front of scenes of multitudes, friends in a bar, effusions and kisses. These comics, like cinema, make us think about the impossible becoming possible again, re-educate us about our history as sentimental animals, help us look inside ourselves by mirroring ourselves in others.”

Free Hugs, in its full version, will open Sept. 3 in Jesi, at Palazzo Bisaccioni. The event is the result of a collaboration between the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Jesi, Acca - Jesi’s Academy of Comics, Creativity and Visual Arts and the Pergolesi Spontini Foundation as part of Tutti per uno, XXI edition of the Pergolesi Spontini Festival, a multidisciplinary festival full of musical and other events. The third stage of the exhibition will instead be hosted at P. A.F.F. Palazzo Arti Fumetti Friuli in Pordenone (of which Giulio De Vita has been the creator and artistic director since 2018) in the prestigious Villa Galvani venue in November 2021.

The curatorship of Free Hug s. Embrace in Comics is entrusted to Alessio Trabacchini - critic, editor and lecturer at the ACCA Academy in Rome, since 2013 among the organizers of the Bologna International Comics Festival BilBOlbul and since 2018 collaborator of the Passaggi festival in Fano - in collaboration with Giulio De Vita - internationally renowned cartoonist.

Ph.Credit Enrico Pantani

Coming soon, an exhibition on hugs told through comic books
Coming soon, an exhibition on hugs told through comic books

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