Life in Borgia - the fortune teller, from the portfolio 'An Odyssey'
24 Sep 1946 -
The series 'An Odyssey' consists of 20 woodcuts and title page. An edition of 10 was printed by Jenny Pollack in 1989 and hand-coloured by the artist. The gallery has an artist's proof set before hand-colouring. 'The Odyssey' recounts the experiences of the artist's parents, Guiseppe (1909-86) and Teresa Zofrea née Garigliono (1905-75). Guiseppe migrated to Australia without his family in 1949, and was not to see them until they joined him in Sydney in 1956. 'Life in Borgia - the fortune teller' is based on the artist's memories of carnival time in his home town.
"Every year a man playing a piano accordion would come to town with a boy who wore a cape and carried a little green parrot in a cage. Below the floor of the cage was a drawer full of playing cards. The music of the accordion would rouse up the women and children from their houses - the men would be out in the fields, far from the scene - and the women would pay to have their fortunes told. The little lime-green parrot would crawl along its perch taking sideways steps in a calculating kind of way, and then it would lean over and reach into the drawer. It would pick out a card with its beak, and the woman's fate would be written there. The card my father's mother drew just before his birth, to be a totem or coat-of-arms, was the horseman setting out on a mysterious journey - the Traveller". (Sally McInerney, 'The journeyman, a story of migrant life, a series of woodcuts by Salvatore Zofrea', Sydney: Picador, 1992)
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998
woodcut, black ink on white Arches paper
42.0 x 47.5 cm blockmark; 56.9 x 66.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "ZOFREA". Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 1 exhibition
Australian prints from the Gallery's collection (1998-1999), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Nov 1998–07 Feb 1999