Antonio Pacitti was born in Cassino, Italy in 1924. When he was three, his father’s anti-fascist activities forced the family to flee to Glasgow, where Antonio grew up in severe poverty. After gaining the Gold Medal for Drawing as a schoolboy, he was awarded a scholarship to the Glasgow School of Art, and later studied at the Slade in London. Through his powerfully expressive art, in which he experimented with different media and subjects, Pacitti explored the joy and the suffering of the human condition.
Antonio Pacitti is celebrated by the global Charter for Compassion for his contribution to our understanding of war. His late work included a series of monotypes depicting displacement, violence and imprisonment, fuelled by his distress at the suffering of civilians during the Iraq war. The Guantanamo drawings have appeared in various exhibitions and publications, including Guantanamo, a collection of poems and drawings produced in collaboration with his wife Diane Pacitti. When Pacitti’s images of war and displacement featured in the exhibition In an Occupied Land at Glasgow University Memorial Chapel, it was an item on the BBC Scotland television news. Click on the Charter for Compassion button on the home page for more information.
One of Antonio Pacitti’s drawings is in the British Museum collection. His solo exhibitions included Paintings, Drawings and Ceramics at the Accademia Italiana.
In 1999, he was an invited artist at the Malta Biennale and received the award for Graphics and Watercolours. His ceramics have been auctioned at Bonham’s and Christies and exhibited alongside Henry Moore prints at the Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, and at Pallant House. Commissions included sculptures at the Church of St. Thomas More, Patcham, and at All Saints, West Dulwich. Source of Life, the booklet recording the 2007-8 exhibition of spiritual and political art at All Saints, West Dulwich, which unfolded during the artist’s final illness, is available from Diane Pacitti.
Diane Pacitti has reserved a selection of Antonio Pacitti’s works to show in projects concerned with social justice, spirituality or identity. In exhibitions in Scotland, England and Italy, these works have exemplified a different kind of artistic provenance.