I was excited to find out that my entry has been selected among the five finalists to win the Medhelan International Cover Contest, a competition to design the cover of “Medhelan: La favolosa storia di una terra” an upcoming Italian graphic novel recounting the history of the city of Milan written by Silvio Da Rù, illustrated by Beniamino Delvecchio, and published by Star Comics. Along with the city’s human history, “Medhelan” (the Celtic name for Milan) focuses on the natural environment upon which the city is built, and the narrative perspective is that of the Great Forest of the Po valley.http://www.medhelangraphicnovel.it/e_home.htm
In addition to the great honour of having one’s image featured on the cover, the winner will receive a 1000 euro cash prize and a flight to Milan to attend the launch of the book, an event which will take place as part of the Expo Milano World’s Fair in June of this year.
Here is my proposed design, entitled “Duomo di pioppi” (Poplar Duomo). The “motivation statement” which I included with my submission appears below. You can check out the entries of the other four finalists here: http://www.ilgiorno.it/milano/expo-2015/concorso-graphic-novel-1.632106#1
The image represents a row of poplar trees at the edge of a river –a common sight along the banks of the Po River and its tributaries, including the many waterways that once flowed through what is now the metropolitan region of Milan. The rows of poplars are reflected in the water, where they form a reverse image of the façade of the Duomo cathedral, Milan’s most iconic structure. Also reflected in the water are the electric wires of the Milan tram system, which crisscross the modern Milanese’s view of the sky from street level.
On the right side of the image, along the riverbank, a wild boar has come to drink. The wild boar was the tribal totem of the Aedui, one of the original Celtic peoples who are said to have founded Milan, and a woolly wild boar sow (the scrofa milanuta) was an early symbol of the city. In the context of this image, the boar also stands as an embodiment of the primeval wilderness of the Po valley. Approaching on the left is a rider with a spear resting on his shoulder -a hunter with his sights on the drinking boar. The depicted encounter can therefore be seen as a condensed manifestation of humanity’s tendency towards the destruction of its natural environment.
Taken as a whole, this image of the “Poplar Duomo” recalls the forest, sacred to the Celts, on which Milan is built, and the linkages and disconnections between the modern-day city and its natural heritage.