Maria Di Stefano

Personal Belongings

“Somewhere our belonging particles. Believe in us. If we could only find them ” WS Graham

Personal Belongings is a project that merges images from the family archive with photographs taken worldwide over a seven-year period (2015-2023). It starts with the notions of mother and home and analyses them in a literal, metaphorical, and mythological manner.

The archival photos depict her mother as the main protagonist, since childhood she was upset by the camera, hiding, and scared. She has been able to cut herself or others out of the photos, literally. What remains are suggestive absences, rather than presences, the reproduction of forgotten elements, and residual images.

The work serves as a metaphor for a void and the need to fill it, wandering around remote areas searching for our “belonging particles”. Human figure is out of focus, not perceived as coherent unit but rather as pieces of identities that are not fixed.

The family archive is associated with its opposite: drifting away and rejecting the land, the values given, the established order, and the birthplace.

The intimate space is confused with the theatrical scene as the casual with the staged. We are witnesses of the story and not of fact that it is occurring, the events are faded but but the memory of an image is more powerful than the image itself. What is offered to the spectators is an anti Cartier Bresson spontaneity, an invitation-intrusion in a parallel, barely alive and grotesque universe.

About the Artist

Artist Website

Maria Stefano completed a degree in Art History at the Sorbonne and a master’s degree in Fine Art at the University for the Creative Arts. She won the 2022 Italian Council award promoted by the Italian Ministry of Culture allowing her to continue her work in Paris. The artist also received a research grant the following year from the University of Paris VIII. In 2023 she had three solo exhibitions: “People into Landscapes/ Landscapes into People” at Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome, “Personal Belonging” at Galerie Vasli Souza, Oslo and “This is Us, Paris” at The Room Projects, Paris. She is interested in the Idea of Identity and belonging to a group or to a place. She has focused her attention first on autochthonous communities and how modernization is impacting their lifestyle and then on migrations and cultural diaspora.