A photo exhibition entitled ‘The Absence of Presence’ by Maltese photojournalist Darrin Zammit Lupi captures the lives of the people of L’Aquila, in Abruzzo, Italy, following the devastation wrought by the earthquake there in April this year.
Darrin Zammit Lupi was in the L’Aquila region just days after the catastrophe which killed 297 people. Some 40 photos from his reportage form the exhibition which runs at the MITP theatre space in the Old University, St Christopher Street, Valletta until 6 August, weekdays, from 17.00-20.00.
Appropriately, given its theatrical setting, the photos have been displayed almost as an installation. The impermanence of the emergency tent towns in Darrin’s photos seems to mirror the temporary nature and illusory space of the theatre with its remnants of seating positioned around acting as stands for the photos.
The snowy peaks of the Apennines stand proud and unmoving as the backdrop to several photos. Yet, we know they are the root of danger despite their illusion of grandeur and beauty. The theatrical analogy goes further as we walk on the 3m x 2m photo of rubble and debris that has been deliberately placed on the floor.
Darrin Zammit Lupi says he isn’t making any judgements or claims in his photos but has chosen this way of staging of the photos to enable us to feel the atmosphere and think about the disaster.