Italians are passionate about many things in life – football, fine foods, family – and are renowned for their superb contributions to the world of opera and architecture.
However, a lesser-known passion in Italian culture is their love of illustration and comics.
The Fraternity Club has embraced this love of art by putting Italy’s finest illustrators on display, hosting the 16th Comics Exhibition for the first time during May/June.
The annual exhibition, which has already drawn strong interest, has seen previous contest winners and finalists become established professionals worldwide.
The director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney, Lillo Guarneri, recently visited Wollongong to open the exhibition.
Mr Guarneri, who only moved to Australia three years ago from Italy, said it was important to bring the meaningful exhibition to Wollongong.
“Our mission is to promote culture and language. We (Italians) are known for our opera and architecture, but we are also famous for our comics,” he said.
As part of the opening, cultural representatives from St Mary Star of the Sea College in Wollongong and the Catholic Education Office Diocese of Wollongong were on hand to commend and recognise the exhibition in the Illawarra.
The Frat’s director, Luca Ferrari, said he was encouraged to add a splash of colour to the club.
“We are privileged to have such a powerful exhibition of comic illustrations on show in our club,” he said.
“The comic industry is very strong in Italy and Australia, and I encourage people to come along and view the works.”
Mr Ferrari also holds a high position in the region, representing the Italian Government in Wollongong as Honorary vice-consul to Italy.
The exhibition features words and images, graffiti, illustrations and comics.
It is called the Lucca Project contest and is a national competition open to aspiring comic book authors, and is organised by Lucca Comics & Games.