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The Italian Cultural Centre unveiled its first post-lockdown exhibition titled “Absent-Present” in New Delhi.

The exhibition began earlier this month on November 3 and will continue until December 10. Displayed in the open space of the porch of the Culture Centre building, it is open to the general public from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Public access, granted on request, is restricted to no more than two visitors at a time or up to four visitors from the same household.

The show presents the work of nine leading Italian photographers alongside that of Delhi-born and -based photographer Parul Sharma. The original Italian project titled “Piazze (In)visible” (Invisible Piazzas) included 21 photographs of 21 Italian piazzas during the lockdown that was imposed in Italy earlier this year, accompanied by short essays written by famous Italian writers.

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These images and texts capture the beauty of the country through its main squares that lay empty during the national emergency. For the exhibition at the Italian culture Centre in New Delhi, nine out of the 21 photographs have been put on display. “Piazze (In)visibili” is an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, conceived and curated by the photographer Marco Delogu, former director of the Italian Culture Centre in London.

The Indian-American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri has written the essay accompanying one of the photographs, taken by Flavio Scollo of the Piazza Santa Maria located in Rome’s famous Trastevere neighborhood.

The show presents the work of nine leading Italian photographers. Pinterest

Lahiri, who moved to Rome in 2011 and started writing exclusively in Italian, has already published two books in her new adopted language: In altre parole and Dove mi trovo. Another photograph, taken by Margherita Nuti of the Piazza delle Carceri in Prato, is displayed next to an essay by Sandro Veronesi, two-time winner of the prestigious Italian literary prize Premio Strega.

The exhibition also displays Parul Sharma’s haunting tableau of black-and-white images of Delhi’s timeless architecture, photographed a week after the lockdown was imposed in Delhi in late March 2020. These images of desolate imperial boulevards, deserted markets, dystopian vistas, and abandoned regal roads are part of her book Dialects of Silence published by Roli Books.

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Andrea Baldi, the director of the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, said, “We all went through this unbelievable experience called lockdown. It was a frightening and unpleasant experience for most of us, devoid of any human contact or sensory experience. But some, like me, had the privilege, sometimes the courage, to make their way through desolate cities. Among the photographers who shot for us the magic and dreamlike allure of these architectural edifices in their full glory.”

Photographer Parul Sharma said, “It is a great honor that my black-and-white photographs of Delhi during lockdown are displayed alongside the work of some of Italy’s leading photographers. Both our countries share a deep common architectural heritage linked to our great pasts.” (IANS)


Photo by Rob Pumphrey on Unsplash

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When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

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