Milan, Iaia and Cecilia the partisans of memory with solvents and paints

Milan, Iaia and Cecilia the partisans of memory with solvents and paints
Milan, Iaia and Cecilia the partisans of memory with solvents and paints
Yesterday eight hours of work, on the scaffolding next to house number 18, from 10 to six in the afternoon. At the end, the plaque in via Palmieri, just behind the celebrations for April 25th, was shining again: “At the dawn of the Liberation the partisan Carlo Ciocca died in the German extermination camp – closing an entire existence consecrated to justice and freedom – Ebensee April 30, 1945 “. Restorers and artists, Iaia Laise and Cecilia Gnocchi, born in 1982 and former classmates in elementary school, are the soul of ‘Ram’, which stands for ‘restoration of memory art’.

Their work, their act of militancy, is this: they bring back plates, memorials, epigraphs that remember the fallen, of the Resistance but not only. One of the latest works was the reconstruction of the monument for Claudio Varalli and Giannino Zibecchi in Corso XXII Marzo, killed on 16 and 17 April 1975, the first by a neo-fascist militant and the second hit by a carabinieri truck, during a demonstration on next day. To express the meaning of their little-big mission, Laise and Gnocchi quote José Saramago: “We are the memory we have and the responsibility we assume. Without memory we do not exist and without responsibility perhaps we do not deserve to exist”.

On April 25 in Milan, no procession but a flower for each of the 470 tombstones commemorating the partisans

by Matteo Pucciarelli

April 18, 2021


In everyday life Gnocchi has a printing and book restorer, she studied engraving in Naples, Laise is a textile artisan with a shared workshop in via Cenisio. Technically speaking, there are three processing steps: cleaning, consolidation, protection. Laboratory tests are first carried out to understand what type of materials to use, choosing harmless products. “The cost for the restoration of a tombstone is always different, we do an inspection and we evaluate, we ask you to contribute for a reimbursement of expenses, we have no restorer prices”, says Laise. But behind the brushes, cleaning techniques, paints, reagents, brushes, there is an idea: memory speaks to the present and above all to the future. Because, is the reasoning set out in their manifesto, “living is a personal fact that everyone leads for himself but the life of a people is an event that writes history. Universal freedoms are conquests of a not too distant past that too often, now, they are minimized “.

Ram’s adventure began in 2005, there was only Laise at the time, with the cleaning of some plates in Town Hall 1, at the request of Anpi and Pdci. From then on, more than twenty have been recovered and restored. Some corroded by time, others split, vandalized, robbed: the Resistance was a fact of the people but not everyone liked or liked it – euphemism – and as time passes trivialize and reduce the past to a conflict watered down by the rhetoric of opposites extremism is very easy. “We want to remember with the skills we have, with our tools”, they both smile. They have a toolbox made up of clear ideas, or rather: partisans.

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