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Gravesend artist relives childhood earthquake through charity painting

PUBLISHED: 09:46 26 May 2011

Gino with his paintings

Gino with his paintings

Archant

»Inspired by the devastation in New Zealand and Japan at the start of the year, an artist who himself narrowly escaped death in an earthquake 31 years ago, has produced a painting which is going up for charity auction.

Gino Napoliello, 40, was living with his parents and two brothers in Irpinia, Southern Italy, when an earthquake measuring 6.89 on the Richter scale struck on November 23, 1980, killing almost 3,000 people.

Mr Napoliello, who moved to the UK 15 years ago, recalled: “It was 7.30 in the evening. I had just come back from the grandma’s.

“I was lucky that she did not let me stay late. If I had come back later I would have been walking through the town centre where most of the people died.

“We were in our third-floor flat. The lights flickered then all of a sudden it happened.

“Afterwards, there was devastation – the block of flats next door was flattened, squashed like a plate.” Memories of this lucky escape were brought home to the painter by the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.

He then began work on his surreal painting, named simply Earthquake 23-11-1980, which is on sale at The Riva Bar, on Gravesend pier, alongside 12 other pieces of artwork.

Mr Napoliello has used symbolism such as the red tile colouring for blood, and the jagged lines running across the canvas, which on a seismograph would mean an earthquake but on a life support machine would mean life.

All profits from the painting will go to the British Red Cross.

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