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Sabato Rodia's Towers in WattsArt, Migrations, Development$
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Luisa Del Giudice

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257966

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257966.001.0001

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Sabato Rodia’s Towers in Watts

Sabato Rodia’s Towers in Watts

Art, Migration, and Italian Imaginaries

(p.155) Sabato Rodia’s Towers in Watts
Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts

Luisa Del Giudice

Fordham University Press

This chapter addresses, first, Rodia's life and worldview as an Italian immigrant and, second, the Italian cultural practices and imagery embedded in his art. That is, it examines Rodia's life and the Towers in Watts through the prism of Italian diaspora history and southern Italian peasant cultural practices, imaginaries, and worldviews seemingly adapted by Rodia in California. It listens for Rodia's expressions of personal longing and enduring cultural myths and seeks to identify his hidden landscapes of memory. It considers the possible sources of his topographies—both mythic and physical. It focuses on the symbolic culture embedded therein—for example, bell towers, ships, gardens, hearths, treasure—and explores cultural practices of devotion, such as village celebrations (e.g. the Gigli of Nola) and ex-votos, to consider how the Towers might be considered a street festival or conversely a tangible expression of gratitude for “graces received”.

Keywords:   Sabatino Rodia, Watts Towers, Italian immigrants, Italian cultural practices, Italian diaspora, symbolism

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