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EMOP Berlin 2020 : Italian Cultural Institute : Letizia Battaglia : Palermo and the Fight Against the Mafia


Letizia Battaglia is undoubtedly the most famous Italian photographer on the international scene. Her street views, portraits of women, and pictures of mafia murders tell the tale of her hometown Palermo – an al fresco film set. The whole of Palermo society is revealed through her lens: the rich, the poor, and the marginalized, the violence of life on its streets and squares.

Battaglia interprets photography as a tool of civic engagement. She describes reality full-on, without filters or formal aids. Her most famous shots are those which illustrate the mafia wars in Sicily. Yet beside these images of the lifeless bodies of judges and nameless victims, Battaglia’s favourite themes are on show, too: portraits of children and young women, which speak of a possible future.

The exhibition presents these fleeting moments, which were captured with a gaze both distanced and empathetic. In showing reality without any rhetoric, they lend documentary force to everyday scenes.

Letizia Battaglia was born in Palermo in 1935. From 1974 to 1991 she was head of the photographers‘ team for the Communist daily L‘ora from Palermo.

Since 1991 she has been the director of Mezzocielo, a bi-monthly review on political culture and the environment entirely run by women.

In 2017 she saw her dream come true with the opening of the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia on the premises of the Cantieri Culturali of Zisa in Palermo: she has been the centre’s director since the opening, curating its selection of exhibitions and events centred on historical and contemporary photography.


Letizia Battaglia : Palermo and the Fight Against the Mafia

September 24 – March 31, 2021

Italian Cultural Institute

Hildebrandstraße 2

10785 Berlin – Tiergarten

Free admission


29.Oct 7:00 pm

Letizia Battaglia with Nando dalla Chiesa, Palermo and the Fight Against the Mafia

Interview in Italian with German Translation


The exhibition takes place as part of the

EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography


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