For the tenth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City, there were some interesting editorial initiatives to commemorate this terrible event and to think about it.
For example, Radio France has invited nineteen American and European authors for a series of conversations, from coast to coast of the Atlantic Ocean, remembering the Past and thinking about the Future of the USA and the World. Every dialogue was developed in a different medium: short story, exchange of letters, graphic poetry, comics, architectural drawing, etc… All material was collected in a volume by the Belgian publisher Casterman, with the title: “12 septembre, d’apres l’Amérique“; the original works will be exhibited at an exhibition in Paris (September 10 th to 30th) and one in New York City.
Among the “Talkers”: the writer Russel Banks, the radio journalist Fabienne Sintes, the cartoonists Miles Hyman, Art Spiegelman, José Muñoz, Joe Sacco, the comics writers Jerome Charyn, Carlos Sampayo, the photographer Charlélie Couture, the architect Jacques Ferrier, the graphic artist Lorenzo Mattotti. The cover is by the cartoonist Enki Bilal.
In Italy, Corriere della Sera, the national newspaper of highest circulation, has dedicated the whole front page to a commemorative illustration, a watercolour panting by the graphic artist Marcello Jori.
I find this illustration very effective, an example of how the images made with traditional techniques can be made much more intense than those computer-generated. If I can afford a note, I would not have used the graphic artifice of the canvas on the easel, to frame and highlight the Twin Towers: their central position in the illustration and the effect of sunbeams passing through them, were sufficient to create a strong composition. So, instead, the easel tends to attract a little the viewer’s attention.
Anyway, I think that using a watercolour painting for this purpose, it was a really good idea. It’s both a delicate image, as only this medium allows, and sad, because we see it fades. The fact that the same name of the newspaper is part of the illustration and fade too is perhaps the most effective because, in a simple way, it says that Italy has felt involved in this commemoration too.
This picture reminded me the lyrics of a 1983 melancholic song by the Brazilian singer Toquinho: “Aquarela“ (Watercolour)
Nessa estrada não nos cabe
conhecer ou ver
o que virá
o fim dela ninguém sabe
bem ao certo onde vai dar.
Vamos todos numa linda passarela
de uma aquarela
que um dia em fim… descolorirá
(On this road we can’t
know or see
what will be.
At the end, nobody knows
or is sure about where it will finish.
So, we all go on a beautiful walk
inside a watercolour
that one day… will fade away.)