Giuliana Conte


Massacre Series (Massacre I, Massacre II, and Massacre III)








Chlorophyll print on banana leaf

Credits: Courtesy of the artist

Italian artist Guiliana Conte’s Massacre series presents silhouettes of male and female bodies in various positions floating on the surface of banana leaves. Already yellow, the leaves are evidence of the passage of time. This series was created by the artist during an artistic residency at the Centro de Arte La Regenta, in the Canary Islands, one of the most important banana-growing enclaves since the end of the 19th century. The work establishes connections between European and American banana crops, positioning the Canary Islands as a key location in the fruit’s commercialization circuit. As in Latin America, in the Canary Islands, a foreign company monopolized the production of fruit for European consumption. Elder & Fyffes, an English company, began exporting bananas on a large scale to England in the 1880s. In the photographic series Massacre, Conte refers to the workers’ riots that took place in the early twentieth century against the banana companies, both in the Canary Islands and in Latin America. In particular, the work resonates with the infamous “Banana Massacre” that occurred in Colombia in 1928. The piece is made of waste banana plant leaves with silhouettes printed using chlorophyll. Using this type of artistic technique promotes sustainability and respect for nature. The artist intentionally does not stabilize the chemical reaction of the print so that the images disappear after some time. The photographic record of the intervention on the plant survives as a kind of metaphotography.