On Tuesday 16 May,2023, at 6.00 p.m., at the conference room of the ex Conservatorio S. Anna, Via Libertini, 1 in Lecce, a launch event was held for the presentation of the project "Creature di Sabbia", financed by the Apulia Region - Department of Welfare, on the Puglia Capitale sociale 3.0 call.
The conference was attended by:
Senator Adriana Poli Bortone: President of the Agenzia per il Patrimonio Culturale Euromediterraneo;
Ettore Bambi: Scientific Coordinator of the project;
Andrea Laudisa: Head and curator of the Artist Residence -Associazione Positivo Diretto;
Fabia Anna Cicirillo: Councillor for Education, Culture and Cultural Heritage Municipality of Lecce;
Silvia Miglietta: Councillor for Active Labour Policies, Equal Opportunities, Civil Rights of Lecce;
Brizia Minerva: Polo Bibliomuseale of the Province of Lecce.
The fulcrum of the project is an Artist's Residence on gender equality and women's violated rights, twelve years after the Arab Spring. From 23 to 27 May 2023, it will unfold through a dense programme of workshops and moments of dialectical and experiential confrontation with professors, critics and art experts. They will take place between the "S. Castromediano" Museum and the ex Convitto Palmieri - Biblioteca “N. Bernardini.
Alongside the activities of the artist residency, a rich calendar of cultural events and multidisciplinary collateral meetings open to the public.
The protagonist is a group of four female artists of Arab Muslim origin and culture - students of Fine Arts Academies - and four young women of similar nationality and religion, active in the field of intercultural mediation. The four artists selected from among those who responded to the Call sent to all the Italian Fine Arts Academies and Faculties of Arts and Performing Arts are: Mehrnoosh Roshanaei, Iranian, student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Rafika Ferchichi, Tunisian, enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bari, Salma Hilmi, Moroccan, and Khatereh Safajoo, Iranian, both from the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts in Turin.
The young artists will be guests of the residence together with four female students and cultural workers, who are also of Arab culture, such as the Afghan sisters Asyra Amani and Latifa Amani, trainees in the framework of the S.A.I. Union 3 Hospitality Project of Cooperativa Rinascita, or Salento Muslims, such as the intercultural mediator Nunzia Bushra Todaro, resident in Lecce and all engaged in social studies and mediation activities with Arab culture, also thanks to the local Islamic community that is a partner in the project. They are joined by Maryam Barak, already winner of a university scholarship within the Culture Builds the Future project, promoted by the Emmanuel Foundation and today Social Media Moderator at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), who lives and works in Rome.
During the Artist Residency, coordinated by Andrea Laudisa and Alice Caracciolo, the participants will have the opportunity to put their artistic idea or project to the test, verify it and compare it with teachers, experts and Italian mediators.
The lecturers involved in the training course are: Beatrice Bambi, designer; Luca Bandirali, film critic, senior researcher in cinema, photography, television at the DAMS of the University of Salento; Takoua Ben Mohamed, graphic artist, journalist, illustrator, cartoonist; Valentina D'Andrea, set designer and illustrator; Valeria Carlini, spokesperson and communication manager - Italian Council of Refugees, Rome; Laleh Davoudi, intercultural mediator; Rossana Gaddi, communication designer, researcher at the Department of Architecture, University of Chieti-Pescara; Imam Saifeddine Maaroufi, founder of the Noi Salento Association, lecturer in Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence at the Higher Institute of Islamic Studies in Sesto san Giovanni; Raffaella Massacesi, professor of communication design at the University of Chieti-Pescara; Paolo Pisanelli, director, photographer, screenwriter; I Giorgia Salicandro, journalist and writer; Irene Strazzeri, associate professor of Sociology of Globalisation at the University of Salento; Donatella Tanzariello, immigration lawyer. .
During the residency, the young women will be joined for two mornings (May 23 and 27), by groups of students from the Art Institutes of the province of Lecce (I.I.S.S. E. Vanoni of Nardò, IISS Don Tonino Bello - Nino Della Notte .- Tricase-Alessano, IISS E. Giannelli of Parabita, Liceo Artistico e Coreutico Ciardo Pellegrino of Lecce, Liceo Colonna of Galatina), chosen by the principalThe work developed during the residency will be the starting point for the students to create works that in the fall, will be the protagonists of a final Exhibition, also embellished with works by some established Arab artists. These will be photographic, pictorial, drawing, design and graphic projects, tending to visual arts that will be confronted during the residency with teachers and experts of national importance but will be enriched with intercultural stimuli of a sociological, anthropological, social nature, before being produced
The work developed during the residency will be the starting point for the students to create works that in the fall, will be the protagonists of a dedicated Exhibition, which will also display works by some established Arab women artists.
The main objective of the project is to bring to fruition a process of both artistic and social awareness and education on human rights that is fundamental not only for the eight participants but for a significant representation of the Salento youth community, who will have the opportunity to grasp the value of art outside of conventional cultural venues, to reflect on the "Arab Springs" and the role that culture played in those uprisings, the so-called "Jasmine Revolution" centered on music, poems, and graffiti. And they will have confirmation that art and culture are the most effective tools for defeating behavioral patterns of oppression established over centuries.
The title of the project, CREATURE DI SABBIA, derives from Tahar Ben Jelloum's novel (The Sand Child), which tells the vicissitudes of a woman who throughout her life, for various reasons related to a strongly patriarchal society, pretends to be a man and intends, in this particular historical moment, to promote gender equality and the empowerment of Mediterranean women, through a combined path of promotion and dissemination of art as an inclusive tool, which helps to soothe and heal even the deepest wounds of the soul.