The Folk Sculpture of Detroit’s Silvio Barile

John Cicala, Mount Saint Mary College

Silvio Barile immigrated to Detroit from his native village of Ausonia (Campania) in the early 1950s. As a self-styled philosopher, moralist, and artist, Barile has definite beliefs about life in America which he expresses through large cement sculptures he crafts and places in the gardens around his pizzeria and home.  These works feature family members, Ausonia landmarks, Roman and Italian historical figures, and Detroit and American pop cultural icons.  Folklorist John Cicala will discuss Barile’s decorated and painted creations and the ways in which the artist negotiates his conservative contadino values within contemporary urban America.