Lares Familiares


Family relationships are the first ones we are confronted with and the domestic dimension is our starting point for that adventure called life. The meaning of our existence is therefore inherent in those relationships and places. In the Roman world, the lares were divinities who assured protection and luck for the families to whom they belonged. They were given an honoured place at the heart of the house, in a special shrine, the lararium. This practice bears more than a passing relationship with the neighbourhood and familial kiosks, the votive shrines in the old quarters of Naples. The aim of this work it is not only to examine the fascinating link between these traditions, but to actually bring them together, and in essence demolish the centuries in between. History and culture are alternative, positive values that can heal the wounds created by the camorra or by difficult lives.
The lares of the Museum collection I chose, languishing in the Museum storerooms, and as wounded or forgotten as the people with whom I paired them, become three-dimensional photographic objects temporarely placed in shirines of the Quartieri Spagnoli, Rione Sanità, Forcella and Mercato.
I also created contemporary lararia, so that the two traditions could be experienced side by side, as well as the memories of the people commemorated in the shrines.
In a further act of connectivity, the contemporary lares, which sat briefly in the shrines of Old Naples, have been given to the guardians of the kiosks. Hopefully, they will remain permanently in the selected shrines and bring their own bona fortuna directly from ancient Rome. This final performative action has been recorded by a video.

from 21/03/2019 to 30/04/2019
Sonia Lenzi is based in Bologna and in London. Her artistic practice has an interdisciplinary approach and involves interrelated themes, concerning identity and memories of people and places. She uses photography to recreate social relationships through signs, symbols, and gestures. She graduated firstly in Philosophy at the University in Bologna, then from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna with a degree in Painting, later graduating in Law and specializing in Administrative Sciences. She is part of Donne Fotografe - Italian Women Photographers' Association. She has exhibited in Italy and abroad and her works are in a number of collections. Her photographic project It Could Have Been Me (2015) commemorating the 35th Anniversary of the Bologna Station massacre, was shown in Bologna at the High Speed Train Station, Family Archaeologies (2015), an exploration of her family home, was shown in London (2015), Lares Familiares at the Archaeological Museum in Naples (2016) and in Ferrara (2017), Take Me To Live With You” in Bologna (Art City 2017).
Sonia Lenzi
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