MELINA RICCIO (1951, ITALY)
Carmela “Melina” Riccio, was born in 1951, in Ariano Irpino (Italy). Until the age of 33 she spent a common life taking care of her three children; she had worked as a modeller.
In 1983, during the MACEF fair (International Home Show), she exhibited her realization, a bedspread with hand-painted lampshades and matching curtains. The meeting with the potential buyers, concerned only the profit, reveals “a world interested only in profit”. The disappointment for this experience, lived in a period of serious fatigue, causing a nervous breakdown, after which she was admitted in a psychiatric ward. In the hospital she seeking help from God because she doesn’t want to live in a society that can’t appreciate the good things and the work of people, because of money.
She recognizes the expected signal in a rotten and abandoned apple: she feel the fruit close to her because of her name “Melina”; she sees herself as “half good and half gear”, rejected by the society like the apple thrown away. She decides to make a pact with the fruits of nature: “You give me the strength and I give you my life”.
Then she burns her money and she feeling called by God to leave her family to go in search of the truth. She went to Anagni, Italy, to see the shrine of Holy Trinity for understand: she doesn’t want to “live with mysteries”. At the edge of a cliff she overlooking the square and sees the bottom of a garbage dump; for her was like to seeing the world as if God wanted to say: “the world ends like this, what do you do to save him?”. Then she picks up a bottle, looks at it and she realizes that are not important the form nor the label, but what’s inside: she fill the bottle with a paper heart (“Light of life”).
She’s back in hospital, from which she tries to escape; here began a period of profound suffering in which she asks the Lord why much pain. The heart tells her to resist, and in the long days spent in the hospital, she used torn paper to create her first works.
Later she moved to Genoa, where she began to draw and write on the containers of newspapers and garbage cans. Her expressive need grows gradually along with the stroke size and diversity of the techniques she used. The wall bracket without boundary then becomes a valuable ally in the spread of her rhymed messages of peace, arriving now in many Italian cities.
Photos by Gloria Marchini: