Opening BAM Biennale Archipelago Mediterranean

Liu Bolin Memory Day

The heart of the Mediterranean Sea, crossroads of peoples and cultures, languages ​​and customs, speeches ​​and innovation. Palermo plays an essential role which is a must as long as each foreigner here is a citizen. Dialogue and discussion, integration and participation: in a city that have seen up many dominations, living side by side is quite normal. That should not be read as flattening but as wealth.

Wael Shawky Cabaret Crusades

 To tell the culture and the cultures of the Mare Nostrum, was born BAM, first Biennale Archipelago Mediterranean, promoted by the City Hall Department of Culture, held in Palermo from 10 February to 12 March. Spread over the entire city, including the historic center and decentralized places, including private foundations and public spaces, in close cooperation with local associations, foreign cultural centers, festivals, museums, artists, BAM “absorb” the many souls of those who here live, come, stop, start again, get in touch.

Wael Shawky Cabaret Crusades


A bridge between the Mediterranean Sea and the rest of the world, an archipelago of several islands: BAM is a festival of theater, music and visual arts dedicated to peoples and cultures of the countries bordering the sea, to promote and encourage public dialogue and, at the same time, enhancing and protecting the cultural and artistic heritage in their many forms. But, above all, the Biennale is ready to act as a privileged interlocutor for important international collaborations. It’s going to start strongly: already this first edition tightens a relationship with the Fondazione Merz in Turin and Imago Mundi – Luciano Benetton Collection.

Wael Shawky Cabaret Crusades

Next Friday (February 10) will be inaugurated the first date. Wael Shawky, an Egyptian artist, will performe “Sparkling Tips of Spears”, a project born from the encounter between the Fondazione Merz, Sicily Foundation and City of Palermo. Cantor of the historical events related to the Crusades and the Arab poetic culture (winner of the first edition of the Prize Mario Merz), Wael Shawky provides a non-Western narrative point of view. It will take place in two location, the church of SS. Euno and Giuliano, in Piazza Magione, the ancient church of “seggettieri or porters”, destroyed by bombing, just recovered, which shows an unknown crypt and an even more hidden, underground environment used for drying, and the old Monte di Pietà of Palazzo Branciforte. The collaboration with the Fondazione Merz will continue in the spring with “The Merz” way, another chapter, also in collaboration with the Archaeological Museum A. Salinas, which will result then in 2018, the year in which Palermo will be Italian Capital of Culture and will host Manifesta 12 .
“The Fondazione Merz plays today its role as a” powerhouse “of art through the meeting and participation – explains Beatrice Merz, head of the Merz Foundation of Turin -. I believe that the value of the initiatives that we are realising with the city of Palermo lies in the imaginative power of dialogue that breaks down boundaries and differences. ”
From February 18 in the pavilion ZAC of Cantieri alla Zisa will house new pieces of Imago Mundi project – Luciano Benetton Collection, dedicated to the Mare Nostrum. Imago Mundi is the non-profit contemporary art project promoted by Luciano Benetton: artists from around the world, established and emerging, are grappling with the same support, a canvas 10×12 cm; until now 20,000 artists from 120 countries, regions and peoples have been involved. In Palermo will be presented the collection dedicated to Sicily and Sicilian Identity. 19 February will be showed the documentary “Shame and Soul” by the british Giles Duley and syrian artist Semaan Khawam photographer, exiled in Lebanon.
“Art as an instrument of knowledge and dialogue between different cultures – said Luciano Benetton – This is the philosophy and goal of the project started to create connections: between different visions, different voices and poetic, even conflicting cultures. Line that is also the basis of the new Sicilian collection in which visual artists, musicians, designers, poets, architects build together a kaleidoscope of representative suggestions of the infinite facets of this island “.

Palermo with the Carta di Palermo 2015 has decided to recognise the human and cultural mobility, the memory of the past, the commitment of the present and the future of the project – said Mayor Leoluca Orlando -. Palermo, a migrant city in its physical facilities and urban styles, is also a migrant in its inhabitants and in lifestyles. Cultural capital because living image of harmony among diversity. Middle East and Europe, at the same time, Palermo was – in synthesis and symbolically – Mediterranean; is island in the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean as a multicultural / intercultural identity / syncretic place”. In this vision, Palermo rejects the definition of Euro-Mediterranean  “that evokes the European supremacy and resorts to the vision of Archipelago where the different islands are actually the same: Catalonia and Greece, Tunisia and Albania, Algeria and Lebanon, and Egypt Provence, Andalusia and Syria, Croatia and Sicily but also Barcelona and Athens, Tirana and Tunis, Algiers, Beirut, Marseille and Alexandria, Seville and Damascus, Zagreb and Palermo “.
“The Foundation Sicilia operates in synergy with local institutions – says Raffaele Bonsignore, President of Sicily Foundation, which collaborates with the Fondazione Merz and Imago Mundi – Luciano Benetton Collection – because we believe in the value of collaboration. “

Liu Bolin Blue Europe

From February 24, the Chinese photographer Liu Bolin propose his shots – strong and powerful – made in Mineo, where he gave life to his Migrants series. On display at the Cantieri alla Zisa works created in Catania, where the artist, through the accurate body painting of his assistants, literally melts into the background, until it is not seen, in this case between the boats of hope.

Domenico Pellegrino Making of Cosmonia Mediterranea

From February 26, Domenico Pellegrino illuminate the water of St Erasmus Marina with 22 different light islands, a true Mediterranean Cosmo, a fascinating virtual archipelago. A pop vision: the 22 countries of the Mediterranean become as many floating islands. Every evening at sunset, the “Cosmo-Mediterranean” will light up.

Domenico Pellegrino Making of Cosmonia Mediterranea

BAM is both a point of arrival, compared to a lot of work done to bring Palermo in the international spotlight on the cultural level – intervenes Councillor for Culture Andrea Cusumano – and a turning point, considering the ambitions of the city to become a major hub of dialogue between the cultures of the Mediterranean. A first edition of the Biennale Archipelago Mediterranean collaborations signs with cultural institutions such as the Benetton Foundation and the Merz Foundation and, at the same time strengthens the relationships between the City, the realities and associations. A full program with artists, theater companies, music, cinema and conferences, with the participation of important personalities of the European Mediterranean and Middle Eastern culture. To confirm that we are an Italian cultural capital, a role that we are going to officially play in 2018 “.
The four major events of art, then join three shows of THEATRE – February 21 “The Battle scenes” of the Lebanese Zouzak Company at the Teatro Biondo; February 24 “Jerusalem Cafe”,

Cafe Jerusalem

play by Paola Caridi & Radiodervish at Santa Cecilia and February 28 “invasions”

Then five concerts will be executed between Historical Archive, St. Matthias and Palazzo Branciforte. “Mediterranean Australis” is inspired by the living cultures of the Mare Nostrum, and creates a dialogue between the musicians and Sicilian texts now with Turkish sounds, now with Arabic hip-hop now with the African kora. The Sicilians Matilde Politi, Giuseppe Viola, Toto Nocera, Carmelo Graceffa, Simona Di Gregorio, Alessandro Librio, Giuseppe Guarrella join with representatives of the cultures of the Maghreb, black Africa or the Near East: Yousif Latif Jaralla, Said Benmsafer, Jali Diabate , Doudou Diuf.
Many films and documentaries, the cinema De Seta of Cantieri alla Zisa.


All events are free entry. The proceeds of the contribution of one euro for the visits to the ten places of the Streets of Treasures, will be used for the restoration project of a monumental peace of the city that will be chosen by the social people.

BAM | BIENNIAL MEDITERRANEAN ARCHIPELAGO, promoted by the Palermo City Hall Department of Culture of the City, was created in collaboration with the Fondazione Merz, Imago Mundi – Luciano Benetton Collection, Sicilia Foundation, Fabrica. With the contribution of Le Vie dei Tesori; Teatro Biondo; Brass Group Foundation; Music Conservatory Vincenzo Bellini; International Puppet Museum Antonio Pasqualino; Regional Film Library; Migrant Literature Festival; Sun Moon Doc Film Festival; The lower curve; Institut Français Palermo; Goethe-Institut Palermo; Haus Der Kunst Dusseldorf Palermo; Lumpen Association; Association Sudtitles; Museum of Castelbuono; the BAM artist


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