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Lampedusa. Towards the Museum of Trust and Dialogue for the Mediterranean

A first concrete expression of the project “Museum of Trust and Dialogue for the Mediterranean” has been realized in Lampedusa, through an exhibition of artworks belonging to the Mediterranean culture, coming from important Italian and international museums.

Culture represents an essential element to spread the values of tolerance, dialogue and mutual understanding. With this aim, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the Region of Sicily and the Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa have subscribed a Promotion Agreement on the 26th of May 2016, from which the project Towards the Museum of Trust and Dialogue for the Mediterranean has started.

The project, with the technical and organisational support of the Directorate-General of Museums, aims to realise initiatives able to involve the main Mediterranean cultural institutions through shared actions, proposing Lampedusa as a cultural reference point in the international sphere.

The Exhibition

Inaugurated on the 3rd of June 2016 by the President of the Republic and the Major of Lampedusa and Linosa, the exhibition will take place in the Museo archeologico delle Pelagie until the 3rd of October 2016 (from 6.00 to 11.00 pm; full entrance ticket € 10, reduced-price ticket € 5, residents € 3).

Many masterpieces will be on display: a painting from the Uffizi by Caravaggio which shows a sleeping Cupid and several important evidences of the ancient Sicilian and Chartaginian art, compared to forms of Islamic and Christian art and to the tragic current news, represented by the objects found in the sea after the recent shipwrecks.

The exhibition path recreates the millennial history of the Mediterranean sea, with its extraordinary and multiform cultural expressions, but also with its tragedies. A message of tolerance and a call for dialogue are coming from Lampedusa and its community, recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of their generosity, humanity and welcoming culture.

Amorino dormiente (Sleeping Cupid) by Caravaggio

The painting, usually on display at the Galleria Palatina, has been in Florence since 1667, when it was purchased by Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici. The Sleeping Cupid was painted in 1608 in Malta, where Caravaggio arrived asking for asylum. The painting returns now to an island in the middle of the Mediterranea sea, not far from where it was created, and it reminds us the pose of Aylan, the child who died on a Turkish beach following a shipwreck, whose imagine is impressed in the collective memory as a terrible portrait of the migratory flood victims.

Sites and partners

The Region of Sicily made possible this initiative putting in charge the Municipal district for the management of the Museo archeologico regionale delle Pelagie and other cultural places belonging to the Regional properties, in order to constitute a first attempt of the “Dialogue and trust museums” network.

Together with MiBACT, many other partners are involved, which have loaned many of the artworks on display: the Gallerie degli Uffizi, the Bardo National Museum of Tunis, the MuCEM – Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée of Marseille, the Museo Storico Navale della Marina Militare and the Museo Correr of Venice, the Museo Pelagalli “Mille voci mille suoni” of Bologna, the Biblioteca Panizzi of Reggio Emilia, the Museo delle Trame Mediterranee of Gibellina, the Museo diocesano of Agrigento, the museums Abatellis e Salinas of Palermo, the Fondazione Sicilia – Villa Zito of Palermo.

The project is promoted by Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa with the support of First Social Life, a “not profit” association which also curated the project of the Uffizi exhibition at Casal di Principe; Comitato 3 ottobre, a “not profit” association which takes its name from the day in 2013, when 368 migrants died during a shipwreck near the island of Lampedusa; Giovanni e Francesca Falcone Foundation.