ITALY IMMIGRATION 1985
In 1985 Brouwer was asked by Bruno Tron Director of the Migration Service of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) to develop a photo exhibition on immigration into Italy.
At the time, Italy was still known as a country of emigration even if since the mid-1970s departures of Italians were outnumbered by the arrivals of immigrants. By the mid-1980s, the total number of immigrants was estimated to be at least half a million (about one percent of the population). The scope of the exhibition was to document their living and working conditions for the local chapters of the Italian protestant churches and the general public. Brouwer, at the time based in Catania, in five months moved from Mazzara del Vallo in the South-Western part of Sicily to Milan in the North, shooting approx. nine-hundred pictures. Only a small set of them (complemented by a few pictures from UNHCR) made it into the twenty-five panels of 70 x 100cm that made up the exhibition. A long-term friend Anna Bertin informed Brouwer in November 2014 that the panels were stored in the FCEI offices in Rome and may be disposed of soon. Brouwer managed to recover the panels almost thirty years after they were produced. He subsequently traced the negatives and, together with friend the professional photographer Franco Guardascione, made a new selection of thirty-two pictures grouped into four subseries and printed them (24 x 30cm) on Ilford multi-grade fiber based baryta coated paper, framed and exhibited them in Brouwer’s workspace “La Pace 72”. The negatives were scanned and grouped in exactly the same way as the prints.