Colour sketch of Leopoldo Mascioli
This colour sketch of Leopoldo (Leo) Mascioli was created by fellow internee Vincenzo Poggi in Petawawa Internment Camp. The lower left hand of the drawing features a note to Mascioli as follows, "all. Eg. Leo Mascioli, con stima." It is followed by the artist's signature and the date the sketch was created, August 1940.
Leo Mascioli traveled to the United States at the age of 10. He was accompanied by a distant relative and landed in Boston where he worked as a shoeshine and a newsboy before finding employment in local restaurants. At the age of 19, Mascioli overheard an employment agent extolling the opportunities and adventures one could have in Canada. He traveled to Canada where he took a six-month contract working for a steel company in Sydney, NS. Leo soon took to working at various mines and slowly making his way to Timmins, ON. In 1911, he opened a general store in that town. A few years later Leo began building hotels and movie theatres in various towns in northern Ontario. On 10 June 1940, Leo Mascioli and his brother Antonio were arrested by the RCMP and accused of involvement in fascist organizations in both Timmins and Italy. Mascioli was 64 years old at the time and had been a citizen (a naturalized British subject) since 1921.
Vincenzo Poggi was an artist. In 1929, Poggi arrived in Montreal for a six-month contract to work for Guido Nincheri’s (also interned) stained glass studio in Montreal. At the end of his contract, Poggi decided to stay in Canada. He continued to work for Nincheri until 1940, when he was interned. Poggi began his artistic career as a portrait painter, but he found it nerve-racking to paint while trying to maintain a conversation with the sitter. He eventually switched to stained glass windows. Poggi created a number of paintings and sketches of fellow internees and of the camp while he was interned, many of which are now housed at the Canadian War Museum. He also taught his fellow internees to paint during his internment. Fellow internees and artists Guido Nincheri and Guido Casini did charcoal sketches of fellow internees while interned at Camp Petawawa.