"This is our neighborhood, not your museum" - graffito in the Quadraro neighborhood where this photo was taken.
This is an image that tells a great story, just not one that fits with the narrative I normally want to tell. Most of my photos are used to promote the University's Italian Campus on Facebook. In the image are students who study at the campus during their on-site Street Art course. This image doesn't feature any of the street art, and you can barely see any of the students or understand that this is a class. It doesn't tell the story of how fun and enriching it is to study something unconventional in a new place, so it doesn't make the cut for Facebook.
Instead it tells the story of feeling like the 'other'. In this case the students are the outsiders who are coming to a low income neighborhood to study the art there, and these locals are investigating them to see what they're intentions are. It's one of the more complicated aspects of street art; whether the people living in these neighborhoods agree with the message of the art and whether they want the extra attention that it can bring. That's a little bit heavy of a message to send out on a facebook that's supposed to promote a campus. That's also not what draws me to the image.
I'm drawn to it, because after living in Italy for a year and a half I still feel like the 'other'. I still notice people - like the ones in the image - trying to understand me with their glares as I walk by. Trying to understand me at a glance. I don't look Italian and never will. I'll never blend in here. I'll always be the 'other' here and that's one of the things that pushes me deeper into the culture to understand it, because I'll never be a part of it.