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Raiders & Dreamers.
An exhibition by Mario Guarino.
March 2024 / May 2024

By Marzo 29, 2024No Comments3 min read
© Mario Guarino

Born from the Unlock brand concept, UnlockART is a collective space serving as a hub for the local creatives as well as a cocktail bar and restaurant for the wider community of East London. Our mission is to showcase international artists, with a focus on our flourishing local community. The space will periodically host a wide variety of specially selected and curated multidisciplinary projects in the field of Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Design.
We are thrilled of inaugurating this exciting new season with a specially curated selection of portraits by Mario Guarino, a Napoli born photographer who has been living and working in London for the past two decades.

The exhibition showcases two of Mario Guarino’s works: I Am Gomorrah (Naples,Italy 2008) and Dreamers (London, UK 2014) for the firs t time grouped together in a project aimed at highlighting the common ground from which both series of portraits stems: an inward journey in the lives and personalities of people striving to escape or rather overcome their adverse circumstances from different starting points.
I am Gomorrah is a photography project designed and executed in collaboration with film Director Guido Lombardi and Producer Gaetano di Vaio that portrays some of the original cast of the movie Gomorrah (by Matteo Garrone, 2008) where the actors (cast from the inmates of infamous Neapolitan penitentiary Poggioreale) were invited to sit for a series of portraits shot during one to one conversations with the Photographer. During the conversations Mario aimed at shooting his subject at what he thought was the emotional peaks of the accounts of their own life of crime, punishment and redemption.
Fast forward a few years Mario turns hi s lens onto a group of boxers t raining at the Pedro Club i n Clapton, East London founded by Super Middleweight British and European champion CBE James Cook who has devoted his life after the boxing years in setting up and running a gym that would take young people off the streets by giving them training and mentoring and a social hub where to congregate and develop their physical and mental skills.

Dreamers features athletes of all ages (and their mentor) during a typical training session, a brutal routine of intensive physical exercises aimed at conditioning not just the physical body but the mind as well in developing discipline and resilience to face life challenges both inside and outside of a boxing ring.
The title “Dreamers” may induce some viewers in thinking that it ’s referred to the subjects as the dreamers of a future of glory and success but instead, perhaps covertly, alludes at that peculiar dreaming state of mind a boxer goes into when experiencing extreme stress and fatigue where his mind gradually turns inward to confront the first enemy of any fighter : the mind that postulates limits and erects barriers to any attempt of overcoming adverse conditions outside one’s comfort zone.
Perhaps it’s worth to note that af ter the project Mario joined the “Dreamers” for about 5 years in pursuing that very same state of mind.