Fundraising for the 2016 Earthquake in Italy
George N. Nista ________________ Scultore
I am a sculptor, designer, and teacher who has maintained a studio in Philadelphia for about twenty-five years. My company is called Nista Design and is located at the corner of Twelfth and Callowhill Streets. I taught in the Industrial Design Technology department of the Art Institute of Philadelphia for over twenty years, though over the years I have also taught at Drexel University, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Graduate School New York Academy of Figurative Art, the Wayne Art Center, and the Germantown Academy. I enjoy teaching. I find it rewarding and instructive.
I have always been involved in art, though not always the same medium! At one point or another, I have been painter, photographer, theatrical set designer, cinematographer, and model maker, but always sculptor. Perhaps I’m settled in now. Nista Design allows me to pursue commissions in sculpture and design. I occasionally show in galleries or through other means. I am presently represented by the Artists’ House in Philadelphia and by Riverbank Arts in Stockton, NJ.
I received a B.A. from Catholic University of America. That was followed by an apprenticeship with an Austrian woodcarver, Berthold Schmutzhart. I traveled quite a bit after that, primarily in Europe. Pratt Institute awarded the M.F.A., Southern Connecticut State College teaching credentials, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art their Certificate. It’s all auto-didactic from here on out.
History of Women in the Italian Constitution
June 2nd, 1946
70 Years after that extraordinary event, 28 artists are dedicating one of their work to the Costituenti Women.
The AISPhila is honored to exhibit these works in our office from
Dec. 1st, 2016 to Jan. 31st, 2017
The 21 Women of the Constituent.
MARIA FEDERICI AGAMBEN, born in L’Aquila, 1899. She worked to insist on social and economical guarantees for families and also for children born out of wedlock.
LEONILDE IOTTI, born in Reggio Emilia, 1920. A fighting partisan, she was the first woman to be President of the Chamber of Deputies.
ANGELINA MERLIN, born in Pozzonovo, 1887. A victim of persecution by the fascist regime, she was incarcerated at the border. We owe her the closure of the houses of tolerance (legalised brothels) for the dignity of women.
TERESA NOCE LONGO, born in Turin, 1990. To her we owe the insertion of article 3 of the Constitution “all citizens have the same social dignity and are equal under the law with no distinction between sexes…” which was the basis of the law of equality between men and women.
OTTAVIA PENNA BUSCEMI, born in Caltagirone, 1907. A Baroness, elected on the list of the party “fronte dell’Uomo Qualunque”. She took part in the Constituent Assembly and then retired to private life.
ANGELA GUIDI CINGOLANI, born in Rome, 1896. She was the first woman to intervene in the discussions of the Assembly in favour of equality between men and women, affirming to assume the first battle “the prejudices against women and the vulgarity that falls like a stone, this sometimes happens even in this chamber”.
TERESA MATTEI, born in Genova, 1921. “a young girl at Montecitorio” this is the way she was welcomed by her colleagues in Parliament. She was a member of the Commission of eighteen that, on 27th December 1947, delivered the Constitutional Charta into the hands of the President of the Republic.
ADELE BEI, born in Pesaro, 1904. A worker, a partisan, a Trade Union representative, contributed to the Commission on the theme of Emigration and Labour.
LAURA BIANCHINI, born in Brescia, 1903. A teacher, having a Degree in Philosophy, took part in the Education and Fine Arts Commission.
ELISABETTA CONCI, born in Trento, 1895. Having a Degree in Letters, took part in the Commission of the Prime Minister for Domestic Affairs.
FILOMENA DELLI CASTELLI, born in Pescara, 1916. Having a Degree in Letters, a Member of the Catholic Action, after the Constituent Assembly was elected as the Mayor of Pescara.
MARIA DE UNTERRICHTER JERVOLINO, born in Trento, 1902. Having a Degree in Letters, a Member of the Foreign Office Commission. Future Mayor of Naples.
NADIA GALLICO SPANO, born in Tunis, 1916. Condemned by the Special Tribunal of Petain in 1944 was the female responsible for PCI (Italian Communist Party) for the Mezzogiorno.
ANGELA GOTELLI, born in Parma, 1905. Having a Degree in Letters, a partisan, a Red Cross Ambulance worker, took part in the Commission for Social Security.
ANGIOLA MINELLA MOLINARI, born in Turin, 1920. Elected to the District of Savona. Having a Degree in Letters, a Red Cross Ambulance worker, a partisan, supported the Constituency on the theme of the Rights of the Family and of Children.
RITA MONTAGNANA TOGLIATTI, born in Turin, 1895. A dressmaker, a founder of the PCI, distinguished herself for the support of Working Women and for the Protection of Infants.
MARIA NICOTRA FIORINI, born in Catania, 1913. A housewife, Diocesan President of the Youth of the Catholic Action. Strongly employed in Juvenile Politics.
ELETERA POLLASTRINI, born in Rieti, 1905. A worker, condemned for three years to hard labour in Germany, for antifascist activity. Distinguished herself for her commitment for the Rights of the Elderly and The Disabled.
MARIA MADDELENA ROSSI, born in Pavia, 1906. Having a Degree in Chemistry. National President of the Union of Italian Women from 1947 to 1956, employed in the theme of Maternity.
VITTORIA TITOMANLIO, born in Bari, 1899. Coming from the Catholic Action, for the Constituent was employed in the relationship between State and Church.
BIANCA BIANCHI, born in Florence, 1914. A teacher of Philosophy, active in the New Conception of Politics, took part in The Temporary Office of the Presidency side by side with Andreotti.
Presentation of the exhibition by dott.ssa Fiorenza Giorgi, Magistrato Ufficio Penale, Genova
Translated from Italian by Eirian Mair Owen
The subject we are dealing with today is the seventieth anniversary of the Right of Women to have a vote in our country. On this occasion we want to remind everyone that the rights we enjoy today are the consequence of a series of battles, not only cultural battles but also of bloody strife and it is the result of sacrifice, not only of freedom but loss of life for numerous men and women.
So I will start this brief intervention by reading a few lines sent from PAOLA GARELLI (“Mirka”) to her daughter, still only a child, a few moments before being executed by a firing squad in a ditch at the Priamar Fortress, 1st November 1944: “Dear Mimma, … I am serene. You have to tell all our dear relatives that I ask their forgiveness for the pain that I am causing them. You must not cry for me nor be ashamed of me. When you grow up, you will able to understand this better. I only ask one thing of you: study…..”.
In these few lines, in the midst of torture of a twenty-eight year old, who is about to die, leaving a small child (her closing words are “your unhappy mother”) is the sweetness of a woman and the pride of a warrior fighting for freedom and mother’s far sightedness, one who has understood how equality comes through education and culture. These are the only things that can permit women to carry weight and have a role, even a public one, equal to that of men.
In reality, the Resistance was the revival of the female sex, for the first time they found themselves fighting side by side with men. On this occasion, let us not forget that after the execution of INES NEGRI and CLELIA CORRADINI IN August, 1944, in the official bulletin of “Noi Donne” di Savona (Us women of Savona) an organization “Gruppi di difesa della donna” (a group to defend women) it was proclaimed that from that moment on women would enter the Partisan formation, taking active part in the guerrillia.
Logically – even though not automatically – as a consequence of this participation was the acknowledgement of the active and passive right to take part in the election, up until that moment the possibility of voting a representative or being elected was excluded.
And therefore, notwithstanding the perplexity of the lay state, amongst which – even though it is sad to say – Benedetto Croce, who even though was one of the few to take a clear position, with scorn and sarcasm, against the fascist abomination of racism and anti-Semitism. He was amongst those who put forward doubts about the autonomous capability of expression of the female sex. The Bonomi Government upon De Gasperi and Togliatti’s proposal (respectively a Christian Democrat and a Communist) to experiment that in every political formation, were to be present, longanimous exponents), on 2nd February, 1945 came to light the The Decree of Representative Luogotenziale No. 23 for “the expansion to women for the Right to Vote”.
The “first time” for women to vote was in the institutional referendum of 2nd June 1946. I like to think that the Republic is the daughter of a Female Vote.
On the same occasion Italian citizens (12,998.131 women and 11,949.056 men represented 89,01% of the population with the right to vote. They also elected the components of the Constituency Assembly that had to draw up the Constitutional Charta.
The members of the said assembly were 556, only 21 of which were women, by these was elected the “Commissione dei 75” Commission of 75, entrusted to draw up the Constitution. Of this commission 5 women took part, of which it is our duty to remember their names: Nilde IOTTI (who became the President of the House of Representatives), Angela GOTELLI, Maria FEDERICI, Lina MERLIN (who gave her name to the Law of 1958 with which was a decree to close the so called “houses of tolerance” where legal prostitution was practiced, and women there were considered “class B” citizens. ) and Teresa NOCE (who was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1948, she proposed that which became “Tutele fisica ed economica delle lavoratici madri” (physical and economical care of working mothers) in 1950. And it is the basis of the following legislation on women labour.
We must remember that up until that moment a woman was subject to rights, but not as such, only as far as her social and family function, as a carrier of good public morality and welfare and of the unity of the family, subject first to the father and then to the husband on every occasion, subject to sacrifice on the altar of masculine pride, tongue of the scale, the only term was to strengthen the rules of morality and she was under the heel of two ideologies, these were in many ways different but individually united in considering her inferior to man: that of the Fascists and that of the Catholic Church.
To convince ourselves of this, it is sufficient to observe how, while until the reform of 1996 (Law Number 66, 15th February) the crimes on the subject of rape were classified as crimes against public morality, public welfare and good behaviour, a classification that underlined the preoccupation of the legislator to assure “the legal good and public morality against manifestations of acts of libido”, considering the abovementioned “irritating”, in truth – it was regarded that these crimes could have been committed “also on people who are not willing, for example on nuns and brides” , the fascist regime (for which it was possible to create an icon countrywoman, pure and virtuous, was the occasion not to be missed) it had taken up a veneration for a poor 11 year-old child, Maria GORETTI, then elevated on the altars in 1950, this child had not hesitated to get herself killed to save her virginity. Therefore, marrying the thesis of “purity”, as if it were an indispensable virtue (but only for women!).
On this subject there are two tragic notes: the first is that during her autopsy it was discovered that young Maria was malnourished, severely underweight and had symptoms of malaria at an advanced stage. The second is that in 1953 TOGLIATTI proposed her as a model for the way of life for young communists who took part in F.G.C.I.
The Republic Constitution clears away every difference in the 3rd article and declares that “all citizens have the same social dignity and are equal under the law with no distinction between sex, race, language, religion, public opinion, personal and social condition”.
The written list of possible positions and discrimination is not casual, (as the constitution legislator paid careful attention and did not write things that cannot be proposed, even lexically as does the present ordinary legislator), but setting up the same in a sort of official list that reminds us of past errors and horrors: so sex and race have first position, and it would be a good idea to remember these moments when civil rights are still discussed and when a part of the population look out only for their own rights and do not recognise the rights of others.
Equality in front of the law independently of sex or race and to decline in a series of added regulations that regard the aspects of life of their fellow members both in the public and private sectors, and in particular in art.29 according to which “marriage is ordained on the moral and lawful equality of the spouses” (underlined spouses and not husband and wife!); in art. 37, that has recognised women’s labour “the same rights and …. The same wages that are rightfully theirs” to workers and the art.51, that has established that “all citizens of both sexes can enter public office and the elective under equal conditions”.
If the Republic’s Charta a is firm in its recognition of equality between sexes, the ordinary legislator has been very slow and often reticent on this subject: in this case, until 1963 women who could not practice jurisdictional competence (that is – according to what a high magistrate declared in 1957 – a woman is “fatuous, inconsistent, superficial, emotional, passionate, impulsive, stubborn, she is rather nice, always approximate, almost always illogical and so not suitable to evaluate objectively, serenely, wisely, in the right way for crime and delinquents”, words that are surprisingly similar to those used to justify the lack of concession of support for women, whose peculiar characteristics are being emotional, generator of turmoil in the affairs of the State), until 1957 (year date of the reform of the right of the family) the husband was “head of the family” and until 1976 sexual violence was not considered a crime if committed on the wife by the husband.
On the contrary it is useless to hide the sad truth, the emancipation of women and their increasing visibility has corresponded and corresponds to the unacceptable increase in masculine violence: it is evident that those who have enjoyed a position of power for millennia find it difficult to surrender with ease.
I would like to end this brief intervention on a positive note: I mentioned a short time ago that until 1976 the magistracy did not recognise the sexual violence between husband and wife: Well, in 2013 the legislator has individuated in the relationship of spouses or of common law partners a worsening, especially in acts of violence, has finally recognised the complete right to dispose the willingness of our bodies for sexual ends.
This is also a milestone or if you prefer a fundamental step on the long way towards the realisation of the Constitution, a way in which that small team of women, elected for the first time has ploughed the fundamental way. I am convinced that we must be worthy of our companions, these older sisters and to others who sacrificed everything, even their lives for the supreme good of freedom.
Dott.ssa Fiorenza Giorgi, Magistrato Ufficio Penale, Genova
Translated from Italian by Eirian Mair Owen