Interview: Luisella Romeo in conversation with Rhiarna Dhaliwal and Ibiye Camp

In June, I sat down with Ibiye Camp, a London-based artist and designer, and Luisella Romeo, a Venice native and registered city guide, to discuss the role and representation of black people in Venetian society and architecture.

Ibiye’s and my initial research on the objectification of black bodies as depicted across Venetian buildings led us to discovering the article Blackamoors in paintings, sculptures and jewels of Venice by Luisella Romeo. It delves into the historical roots of “blackamoors” and their role in Renaissance Venice, as well as dissects the historical context and presence of “blackamoors” in the decorations of the Doge Giovanni Pesaro’s tomb, which was the focal point of our research.

The tomb of Doge Giovanni Pesaro in the Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, 1669. Photo by Rhiarna Dhaliwal, July 2021.

In this conversation, Ibiye Camp and myself use Luisella Romeo’s article as a starting point for a broader discussion about the Venice’s rich history of global trade and commerce, its role in slave trade between Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North Africa, and the artistic and historical context of the tomb of Giovanni Pesaro.

Luisella was born and raised in Venice and graduated from the University in Venice Ca’ Foscari in Foreign Languages and Literature. She has a background in Art History and Venice history and passionately writes for her SeeVenice blog that explores Venice history through a cultural lens.

For more information on Luisella Romeo, please check out:

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Rhiarna Dhaliwal is a British-Indian Architectural designer, researcher and educator whose work investigates environmental and political systems that affect the future of landscapes and ecosystems.

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