A “Creative Europe” product on the flagpole of the municipal building in Palermo (Italy), a message for the Mediterranean migrants

First significant “usable” and wholly unexpected achievement of the project “Urban Layers, New Paths in Photography”, co-financed by “Creative Europe – Culture Sub-programme”, at the end of the artist residencies, which involved the Orestiadi Foundation in Gibellina and 6 young international artists selected through a public Call.

Indeed, one of the works produced has been exhibited and installed on the flagpole of Palazzo delle Aquile – the municipal building of Palermo (Sicily, Italy) – Thursday April 21, 2016 – and then on the municipal buildings of Castelvetrano, Santa Ninfa, Gibellina, Salemi and Partanna. On Tuesday April 26, it will be the turn of the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. The work is “State of emergency”, a project by Claudio Beorchia, an environmental installation which comes from the artist’s reflection about an evocative material of our times: the emergency thermal blanket, the silver and gold film given as a first aid tool to migrants arriving to the Italian and European coasts of the Mediterranean.

A simple context change of an effective everyday object amplifies its symbolic meaning so as to replace one of the symbols par excellence, the flag. Thus, “State of emergency” – in the double sense of “condition” and “nation” – claims, constitutes and implies, not only a denunciation, but also an assumption of responsibility by citizens and representative institutions, considering the political and social change which affects the European Union.

The Mayor of Palermo has also sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, to the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Junker and to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, praising “art that once again shows to be a step ahead of the policies and institutions, being sensitive and willing to raise awareness on the need for a total overhaul of national and international policies on migration”.

The other selected artists participating in the residencies in Gibellina have been: Federica Bardelli and Alex Piacentini, Angelica Dass, Simone Sapienza, Zamir Suleymanov, Stratis Vogiatzis. Their works will be exhibited in three urban festivals of contemporary photography, to be held in Malaga (Spain), Thessaloniki (Greece) and Lecce (Italy) from May to September 2016. Every festival will host, among other authors, a site specific installation by Adrian Paci.

Urban Layers aims to encourage a wide audience to foster cultural development through active participation using photography as a form of shared public art. The project partners are the Orestiadi Foundation, the Department of History, Society and Human Studies of the University of Salento in Lecce (Lead Partner), the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Cinisello Balsamo, GACMA Arte Contemporanea in Malaga, the Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki and the Institute of Mediterranean Cultures of the Province of Lecce with the collaboration of the Association Positivo Diretto. (picture Igor Petyx)


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