The final "official" part of the proceedings is over. Gifts have been presented to dignitaries. Long speeches have been delivered, translated and applauded. Official delegations from various countries involved in this week's Cassino commemorations have been lead through Legato. It's been a long week, and it's still only Wednesday here.
The New Zealand Embassy put on a nibbles-and-drinks reception on Monday night, at which most of the artists said their goodbyes and travelled on to sightseeing further south.
The exhibition, however, is still a work in progress. Paintings are still arriving, hanging issues are being tweaked, and updated price lists and artist details have been delivered to the venue. Everyone left here is quietly exhausted.
I have many more films to make, but this post will have to serve while the web-watchers are waiting for video. I'm the odd observer here; the one that makes the coffee, cleans the towels, buys toilet paper for the venue. I'm also a video journalist rather than an artist, and as I've talked to the participants I've gained an overall view of what's been happening.
Opinions, predictably for a large group, are divided. Some love where they've been placed, others are not as happy. Some are motivated solely by the promotion of peace, others are understandably desperate to sell to cover the costs of the trip. Some are glad and grateful to be here, others are home-sick, travel-sick or simply sick of Italian food.
There's a lot of culture shock, in both directions. It's not just the language, it's the way things happen here. We're in Southern Italy, where people don't drink without food, where tradesmen don't always turn up when they say they will. Some cultural mores are easy to adapt to: Italians flirt constantly and everyone enjoys the game of making each other feel wanted and happy. Artists have been adopted by various local families and over-fed with attention and regional food. But local political ructions impacted on the opening night, with the Italian invitations going out late and with the wrong time on them.
The good news is that the exhibition is busy despite this. The works are hung in the Italian way, with names and prices in a folder on the desk rather than by the art. People frequenting the cafe next door are spreading the word, and regular fixtures within the exhibition room and adjacent library means the eyeball count for the days so far is pretty good. It doesn't really matter if artists are focussed on profit or peace, both aims are served well by a busy exhibition with an impressive visual impact.
As for those still spending hours on the phone to customs or manning the exhibition, the view with the most impact is the inside of their eyelids...