Cathy Sharples

Leader Of The Carnival

Cathy Sharples work often concerns itself with documenting decline. Previous projects have included an intimate portrayal of her elderly aunt, and the portrait series Extended Family which examined the cultural identity offered by membership of local groups and clubs. For her graduation project she has turned her attention to the small town of her grandmother’s birth, and a family of subsistence farmers. Drawing on influences such as Sanguinetti’s On the Sixth Day, the work is intended to be far more than a straightforward portrayal of Italian rural life.

The Leader of the Carnival documents a fragile existence. Antonio Senes lives in the small Sardinian hill town of Bonorva. A lifetime ago he led the annual horse parades at Carnivale, now he leads his family through turbulent times. Life revolves around the family smallholding, where the dance of life and death is played out daily. It is a fraction of the size it was in Antonio’s youth, the decline of the farm appearing to mirror his own failing health. As head of the family, Antonio’s influence is palpable, but it remains unclear whether the latest generation of the family will continue his legacy.

The submitted images form part of a larger series and book.




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