“Le storie di vita nel legno” or “The Stories of Life on Wood” brings together the worlds of music, art, architecture, and humanitarianism. Inspired by the 2016-17 theme of empathy and the international immigration crisis, Dr. Kim began work with two organizations: Cooperativa Selene and Periscope for Arts (Amie Weiss, Nicola Barbieri, founders) in Brescia during her sabbatical in Italy. Cooperativa Selene is a non-profit association that provides legal and housing services to young refugees seeking asylum in Italy from war-torn countries. Periscope for Arts is a non-profit arts society that brings together the worlds of poetry, literature, visual art, and music through concerts, presentations, lectures, and community events.
The project began in January of 2016 with a series of cultural exchange meetings and salons during which the refugees of Cooperativa Selene and the musicians of Periscope for Arts performed, sang, and danced for one another. The refugees (mainly of North African and Mid-Eastern decent) brought traditional folk music and dance as the musicians of Periscope brought classical, contemporary and American folk music to the salons.
Also inspired by the world of art and architecture, Dr. Kim commissioned an Italian architect to design a mural on which the refugees painted an abstract art piece to tell the story of their lives before fleeing to Italy. She then commissioned a Cornell composer, Can Bilir (currently pursuing his doctoral studies in the Department of Music) to compose three new works in honor of this collaboration and the immigration crisis. The final concert and presentation in Italy took place on July 25, 2016 and included a musical program featuring trios by Mozart, Corelli and three world premieres by Can Bilir, book-ended by traditional African music and dance performances all in front of the beautifully completed mural in Brescia, Italy.