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Friday 19 January 2024


On Friday, January 19, opens the exhibition “Creature di Sabbia” (Creatures of Sand), the concluding chapter of the eponymous and intricate artistic project aiming at promoting gender equality, address violated rights, and empower women from the Mediterranean region, twelve years after the Arab Springs.

Creature di Sabbia is funded by the Puglia Region Welfare Department, with state resources from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies. It is part of the Puglia Social Capital 3.0 initiative. The project is promoted by the Agenzia per il Patrimonio Culturale Euromediterraneo, in collaboration with Associazione Positivo Diretto, the Polo Bibliomusela di Lecce, the Municipality of Lecce, and the N.O.I Salento Association.
It began its activities last May with a unique and intense artist residency focused on gender equality and violated women’s rights, twelve years after the Arab Spring. The residency aimed to raise awareness and provide artistic and social education on human rights through art.

The project involved four artists of Arab and Middle Eastern origin who reside in Italy for study or work, along with peers from similar backgrounds, culture, and religion, residing in Lecce and actively engaged in intercultural mediation. The group delved into intense exploration and creative processes, addressing themes of oppression and violence against women through various forms of expression: narrative, painting, design, photography, cinema, and visual arts. Sociological, anthropological, and social stimuli enriched their experience.

As a culmination of this journey, the four young artists—two Iranians, one Tunisian, and one Moroccan—are now the protagonists of a unique exhibition that unveils their personal experiences and previously uncharted artistic universes to the public.

According to the curators of the exhibition, Andrea Laudisa and Alice Caracciolo, the sand creature from Ben Jelloun’s novel, which serves as the inspiration for this project, is a mutable, malleable being capable of redefining itself and resisting external pressures with tenacious strength. It was thus easy to observe a strong symbolic convergence between the novel’s character and the four artists showcased in the exhibition: Tunisian artist Rafika Ferchichi, Moroccan artist Salma Hilmi, and Iranian artists Khathereh Safajoo and Mehrnoosh Roshanaei. Over the course of approximately six months, guided by internationally renowned experts and project curators, the artists formalized or perfected four works they were already working on. Through a plurality of expressive languages, the artists engaged in a process of rediscovering their roots and confronted the perceptual boundaries of cultural differences by speaking a universal language.

The exhibition, which can be visited free of charge from January 19 to February 9, takes visitors on a deeply immersive and emotionally impactful journey. It features video and sound installations, as well as a variety of references through multimedia play and personal stories that resonate with each viewer. One of the installations prominently displays a verse from the Quran: “God created human beings from a single soul”. This powerful appeal to unity against gender-based violence underscores that every individual, regardless of gender, is an essential part of the same universal soul.

Opening and closing hours:

  • Monday to Sunday
  • 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM





Agenzia per il Patrimonio Culturale Euromediterraneo
Agenzia per il Patrimonio Culturale

Phone +39 0832.682552-554
fax +39 0832.682553
E-mail: info@agenziaeuromed.it
PEC: agenziaeuromed@pec.it
Skype: agenzia.euromed

Administrative Office
Ex Conservatorio Sant'Anna
Via G. Libertini, 1
73100 Lecce - ITALY


C.F.93069360753 Lecce 03/06/2003 - P.IVA 03774820751 Lecce 17/02/2004
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