A group of life models from Italian art schools and colleges decided on strike action this week, in protest at their pay and working conditions. And they did it by employing the ultimate weapon – keeping their clothes on, as they posed in imitation of various famous art works.
Apparently, being a life model isn’t anything like as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be. Model Antonella Migliorini told Italian newspaper La Stampa that it was ‘a difficult, cold job’ that required ‘imagination and great physical concentration’.
The models, who are backed by a trade union, want the colleges to beef up their pay packets and award more fixed contracts – currently less than 20% have this kind of security, while the rest have to make do with shift work.
Migliorini was quick to tear a strip off her employers. ‘Our work is not recognised’, she said. ‘We pose for eight hours a day and still the colleges treat us like teaching tools’. One day a gang of Japanese tourists even came in and started taking pictures, she revealed.
However all is not lost. According to The Times, education ministry official Nando Dalla Chiesa said he had agreed to meet the protesters, insisting: ‘We need to get to the bottom of this.’ (We can’t believe he actually said this, but we really hope so)
The protest is likely to receive good coverage from Toronto-based TV channel Naked News, which this week announced plans to begin broadcasting in Spanish, Italian and Korean (as well as English and Japanese).
It just goes to show – labour disputes are the same everywhere, when you get down to it.