Naima Morelli

Reflections on my 2014

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Twenty-fourteen has been a year of cementing for me. I recovered for my crazy mindset according to which I should have pick a new country to live in every year. These last twelve months have been much quieter, with small scattered events versus the glaring adventures in Indonesia or Australia of the past few years. But after you do your research, there is also the part where the research comes into being, and that’s what happened in 2014. This year was meant to see the harvest.

I’ve been writing for magazines since 2008, and for English magazines since 2012, but this year I feel I took it to a new level, increasing the number of articles published and types of magazines I’m freelancing for. This year I’ve published twenty-one articles in total, five in Italian and sixteen in English, which is a great achievement for me, considering that I have split my time also with other projects. I’m happy to have started a steady collaboration with Trouble Magazine, who is publishing the English version of all my interviews from my Indonesian and Australian reportages.

This year I’ve also curated an exhibition of two Australian artists at Galleria 291est, a screening of Indonesian artists at Villa Ada Festival and I gave my contribution to the great SHOUT! exhibition of Indonesian contemporary art at MACRO. Plus, I started working as press agent for an artist I greatly admire. I participated in two talks, one about Australia at the Art Academy and one about Indonesian art at the Sapienza Università di Roma – man it was good fun! I made a lot of new friends in the process, and that’s awesome!

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Geographically, I travelled every two weeks back and forth from Rome to Sorrento. It was crazy if I think about it, but it worked out for the time being. I went to London and Turin for the first time and to Milan two times. Until few weeks ago I lived in a total indecision about where to move next, but on the other hand I developed a rock-solid routine that enabled me to work steadily every day (Sunday included) in the face on uncertainty.

I also did a few mistakes, and learned from my errors. I don’t have any shame to admit it and I’m proud of the way I dealt with them. There has been short moments of desperation, sure, but for the most part I acknowledge the comicality of the situation.

For example, one particular day an artist whose exhibition I was supposed to curate changed his mind and ditched the entire project. My boyfriend offered himself to substitute him and I said it was not the case, inadvertently offending him. I was already exasperated enough to listen to his burst of wounded man ego, so I decided to split up. Since I was living at his place, he immediately kicked me out on the curb.
That day I also decided to not sign with the publisher I was running after from a year, not finding him trustworthy. In the span of one day went from having an upcoming exhibition, a boyfriend, a house and a publisher to having none of them.

All that, instead of putting me down, made me hilarious.
Some of these situations were stagnant and I was happy to take control and do something about them. Some others were recoverable. I think what made me happy is that things were quickly unfolding, and I loved the adrenaline rush.

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But I wasn’t so carefree all the time. Another recent example: in the span of three weeks I did Sorrento-Turin–Rome-Sorrento-Milan-Rome-Sorrento-Rome-Sorrento, all that while preparing and realizing interviews, visiting exhibition to review, waiting to hear from artists whose exhibition I had to curate, meeting clients, writing articles on the train not to miss deadlines, hanging out with coachsurfers, constantly worrying about the people working on the graphics, layout and distribution of my book and try to publish it within 2014. All that not having solved the situation with my boyfriend, not having decided where to live yet and having also to prepare my talk at the Sapienza. It was a lot to deal with, but I made it.

I also didn’t manage to publish my book about Indonesian contemporary art in 2014 as I wished.
I spent the best part of the year waiting around for my publisher, screaming with my friends in frustration: “This fucking book was ready one year ago, why in the world I have to wait so much time!” This year though opened my eyes on the wreckage of the entire publishing industry in Italy.

Thanks to this bad experience and my research for alternatives, now I know better. As I said I decided to not sign the contract with my publisher – I decided to own it and get rid of the middle man as much as I could. The publishing industry has changed, and I’ve to be resilient. I promise I will write more about the journey for the publication of Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia after his publication, which will be in January. A nice way to start the year, I’d say!

What else I have in store for next year? Well, I forgot to mention that in all this swirl of events I’ve also managed to write my second book. That is a huge deal for me, because it’s written in English. Even if I’m now almost exclusively writing articles in English, just one year ago I felt unsure to write an entire book in my second language. My way of writing in English is very different from my style in Italian, but I think I have been able to deliver on that stylistic challenge. And as everything that pushes you out of your comfort zone, I learned a great deal.

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In 2015 I will stably move to Rome – at least until June – before planning my next move. I feel I’ve to re-conquer the Eternal City with my own forces before figuring out what to do next. That way I’ll be able to prove my strengths, my relationships and create opportunities for the future. I’m also working towards a new residency in Asia.

I know I have come a long way. I’ve never wasted a minute, and that because I was always passionate with creating stuff; when you have the passion you never waste time. Three years ago I was realizing graphic novels, making watercolours exhibition and running a fashion blog. That was beautiful and I loved it – I’m still doing it in smaller doses – but now I’ve chosen a path where it’s no more my characters to live adventures, it’s myself. As the Scorpions used to sing: “Make it real not fantasy”.

If you are curious to see my year in images, hop on my fashion blog Gioco di Donne