Laura E. Ruberto

Laura E. Ruberto is a professor in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at Berkeley City College. She has published widely on Italian and Italian American film, material culture, and cultural theories of diaspora and transnational migration. This article is part of a larger study on the creative work of Italian POWs in the United States. In 2020, Ruberto won a Homsher Grant from the Wyoming State Historical Society for research on Enzo Tarquinio, the Italian-POW muralist.

When Enzo Tarquinio surrendered to U.S. Rangers in Sicily in 1943, he didn’t know he’d end up at Camp Douglas, Wyo. While other POWs worked at farms and ranches, Tarquinio and at least two fellow artist-prisoners painted murals in the officers’ club. Their subjects? Cowboys, Indians, wagon trains and mountain goats.