“Already after the first edition this summer I couldn’t wait for the next to come!” This is how M., a young asylum seeker, comments the preparations for the second edition of “Arte Migrante” that was held on the first Sunday of January in Modica. Already in August the event had delighted the migrants living in the shelter of the territory so they wouldn’t want to miss it this time, infecting with their enthusiasm also their companions.
The evenings are organized by a constantly increasing group of artists, citizens and students of Modica, bringing a project to life in Sicily that started in Emilia Romagna.
Actually, “Arte Migrante” is a group founded in September 2012 in Bologna on the initiative of a young anthropology student, Tommaso Carturan, and friends he met in the city, united by their wish to generate social inclusion through art. Getting support from a priest that provided them some venues, the group started with hosting meetings every Wednesday evening where people with a different background and social status gathered by the “excuse” of art. Every evening is characterized by a common dinner, where everyone brings something, but especially by the possibility for everyone to express and dabble themselves in their own preferred way by singing, dancing, acting, playing music, reading or simply presenting themselves in an atmosphere of a community festival.
Among the participants are many migrants and people without a permanent residence, intercepted by the group in the dormitories and shelters of the city. Given time, the group grows and extends its activities, also providing free laboratories accessible for everyone, with the goal to make it possible for people with economic difficulties to have access to art, but not only. According to the Bolognese spirit, for some foreign students it seemed only natural to spread the project also in Sicily, organizing some evenings in Palermo and Modica. An experience that started from the bottom, encouraging the migrants and the operators of the shelters next to the city, spreading amongst groups of volunteers and citizens and finally reaching local artists and those who were passing through. About hundred people came to Domus Petri in Modica where the last event was held, to make music, dance, look around, applaud, but most of all, to get to know other people and make friends in a different and hospital context, where everybody had the possibility to present themselves and listen to others. Giving space to free expression, some improvised songs with djembe, cajon, guitars and wind instruments, other artists sang or did some acting, others could simply talk to coevals that have difficulties to meet people in the isolated context in which they spend the greatest part of their days. “Arte Migrante” wants to promote the interaction with and participation in the social life of those who are systematically excluded and don’t see having a future in our country. “I enjoyed being there, because I met many people, even if I had to talk in Italian! But most of all, I finally could make music”, says A., on his way back to the shelter. “The most beautiful thing for me, however, was walking through Modica with people that were like friends and see the way people looked at me had changed”.
By Lucia Borghi
Borderline Sicilia Onlus
Translation: Julia Telfser