Palermo’s Mayor, Leoluca Orlando, its Councillor for Culture, Andrea Cusumano, the President of the Fondazione Sicilia, Raffaele Bonsignore, along with Beatrice Merz, President of the Fondazione Merz in Turin are pleased to announce their reciprocal cooperation for a series of cultural initiatives. The first event deriving from this association will be the intervention of the Egyptian artist, Wael Shawky, winner of the first edition of the Mario Merz Prize, which will be held in Palermo, from 6 February to 3 March 2017.
The project, curated by Beatrice Merz and Laura Barreca, is part of the large programme of initiatives that has the Mediterranean as its theme and which will be taking place in the Sicilian capital throughout the month of February 2017.
Wael Shawky’s films will be presented within the picturesque area of the Monte di Pietà in the sixteenth-century Palazzo Branciforte, headquarters of the Fondazione Sicilia. It is here that Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo (2012) will be installed, while his newly-produced Al Arab Al Madfuna III (2015-16) will be visible in the seventeenth-century church of S.S. Euno e Giuliano, located in the Kalsa, right in the Arab heart of the historic centre of Palermo.
In addition, in collaboration with the Museo Archeologico Regionale “A. Salinas” of Palermo, the Fondazione Merz will launch the urban-scale project La Via di Merz, offering a point of encounter between the ancient and the contemporary, with the installation of works of art organised by the Fondazione Merz to be displayed both inside the Museo Salinas and along the road that leads from it to Palazzo Branciforte (via Bara all’Olivella), seat of the Fondazione Sicilia. The project will be inaugurated next February and will continue until December 2018 to coincide with Palermo Manifesta 12.
A relator of the historical events concerning the Crusades and the Arab poetic culture, Wael Shawky offers a narrative but non-Western point of view, and by analogy provides an alternative view of the complex contemporary geo-political situation which determines the equilibrium not only of the Mediterranean, but also of Europe and the entire world. This work finds its ideal location and a highly topical showcase in Palermo, a cultural and geographical centre that unites East and West.