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The jolt of a cart in the dust, a village that goes away, nestled in the mountains, the gaze of a little girl looking for a greeting, a gesture of affection from the mother who has just sold her. It is with this farewell that Julia’s story opens, “A perfect woman, a rational creature, gifted with words, which no monster has ever possessed. A hybrid, in which the nature of the woman predominates over the brute – the orangutan. Overall, the most extraordinary being of our times ”, as the doctor who visited her first defined her.
By Julia Pastrana, a Mexican indigenous woman who lived in the nineteenth century and became famous thanks to her appearance and her skills as a singer and dancer, we have little certain information which, however, does not reveal her emotions and feelings. We can only imagine them, and Ivan Cenzi does it with the usual delicacy and depth, entrusting his thoughts to a diary that does not stop even with death. From unhappy childhood in Ocoroni to years spent in the city of Sinaloa, where she receives an education and learns to dance, to acclaimed tours around the world, Julia retraces her life and dwells on the encounter that will change her forever: the one with Theodore Lent, her impresario and husband. The one who one day whispers in her ear the words she will never forget: ” You have the right to be happy “.
If Julia Pastrana’s kindness of soul clearly emerges from the touching pages of her diary, the refined black and white images by Marco Palena, executed in mixed media (graphite, charcoal, pastels and digital), reveal her appearance. of vintage photos, giving full prominence to the contrast between the wild features and the elegance of the manners. And it is impossible not to be enchanted by this fragile and gentle creature, while we understand who the real monsters are, abject men willing to use other human beings for the sole purpose of enriching themselves.
A passionate and controversial love story, an invitation to look at diversity without prejudice and, above all, an extraordinary portrait of a woman.
Ivan Cenzi is an explorer of the uncanny and a collector of curiosities.
Since 2009 he has been the curator of Bizzarro Bazar , a blog dedicated to all that is “strange, macabre and wonderful”, which in a short time became the Italian reference point for this kind of issues. Over the years Bizzarro Bazar has dealt with wunderkammer, anthropology of death, museums and anatomical collections, history of the circus and traveling fairs, early science, classical and modern art, alternative sexuality and in general everything that is on the margins of culture.
Alongside his editorial work, he also works as a lecturer, and collaborates with international museums and universities. Since 2019 he has been teaching for the master in Death Studiesand for the degree course in “Psychology of end-of-life relationships” at the University of Padua.
He has contributed to various newspapers, prefaced contemporary art publications and organized cultural events.
With #logosedizioni he published La veglia eterna. Catacombs of the Capuchins of Palermo , De Profundis. The Fontanelle cemetery of Naples , Mors Pretiosa. Italian religious ossuaries , His anatomical majesty. Morgagni Museum of Padua , The Petrifier. The anatomical collection Paolo Gorini , Paris Mirabilia (also available in English and French ), London Mirabilia(also available in English ) and Julia Pastrana (also available in English ).
Marco Palenawas born in Atessa, in the province of Chieti, and lives in Pescara. He trained at the art school and then at the faculty of architecture. Later he began to take an interest in illustration for children, soon gaining consensus and appreciation in various competitions. He was selected for the 2011 and 2012 editions of the “Rights in color” competition and won third place in the international competition “Drawings in the sun” in 2012. The following year he won the prize for the best illustrated book 4-7 years at the 14th international competition “Syria Poletti: On the wings of butterflies” and the first prize Illustramente. In 2016 he won the competition organized by #logosedizioni for the poster “Librerie in fiore”.
In 2018 the jury of Annual awarded him the Toppi Prize for the Blind work and in 2019 the Silver Award in the Publishing Category for Il Barone Rampante illustration , both created for the ILLUSTRATI magazine of #logosedizioni.