When communication breaks down, a camera can sometimes be used to come to a better understanding. Monia is an ongoing project by Italian photographer Giovanni Cocco (b. 1973) which explores the photographer’s relationship with his sister Monia, who was born with a traumatic brain injury.
Cocco describes having a sister with a disability as a crucial and unique experience, and the act of portraying her is a means to explore the communication they share as siblings, made of family codes, exchanged looks, familiar games and silence. As a brother, the artist is constantly asking himself questions about Monia, about her needs, her thoughts and how their relationship has changed as they grew up.
The series outlines Monia’s world with a painstaking use of darkness, light, colour and shapes, resulting in an engaging journey through the complex but loving relationship where this indefinite communication takes place. The photographer’s personal involvement is evident, and gives the viewer a sense of closeness to his sister, together with the feeling of how far away she really is.