More than a photo frame

Memories can be easily forgotten. Tangible items are long lasting.

The Italian prisoners of war used paint, handkerchiefs, board, thread, wood and metal to create tangible items as a way of recording their time as a prisoner of war.

Anselmo Franchi from Tesogno (Parma) crafted his memories in wood.

At first glance you will see the obvious: a photo frame in the shape of Australia.

But this is more than a photo frame: it is a record of Anselmo’s journey.

Photo frame made by Anselmo Franchi (photo courtesy of Roberto Pardini)

The crest and crown motif – Crest representing the House of Savoia, the Kingdom of Italy

The date palms, minaret, and sand dunes – Libya, Anselmo was captured at Port Bardia Libya

The three-funnel ship – the Queen Mary which transported Anselmo from Egypt to Australia

The kangaroo – Australia

F A – Franchi Anselmo

While the photo frame represents the past, with the inclusion of a photo of Anselmo’s wife, it also represented the ‘present’ and the ‘future’.

Stand for Photo Frame (photo courtesy of Roberto Pardini)

Roberto Pardini, Anselmo’s son-in-law, shares further details, “Anselmo was very proud of his work, since, as you can imagine, the tools to make it were not many. He used an axe to bring the wood to the desired thickness and with a piece of blade from a table knife he made the bas-relief. Anselmo used the map of Australia on the 1941 YMCA Christmas card as a pattern for the frame.”

Front cover of Anselmo’s 1941 Christmas Card from YMCA (photo courtesy of Roberto Pardini)

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