Home News Pope visits prison art exhibition, first at Venice Biennale

Pope visits prison art exhibition, first at Venice Biennale


Helicopter landing at Vatican-deployed women’s prison Venice Biennale At an international art exhibition, Pope Francis on Sunday told the women imprisoned there that they “have a special place in my heart.”

“Thank you,” one woman shouted. Others applauded.

A number of women worked with the artists to create works for the exhibition, which hang throughout the prison and are titled “Use my eyes.” Francis, the first pope to briefly visit the Venice Biennale, said it was “fundamental” for the prison system to “provide detainees with the tools and space to grow humanly, spiritually, culturally and professionally, creating the conditions for their growth” . Healthy reintegration into society. “

“Not to isolate dignity, but to offer new possibilities,” Francis said to applause.

For decades, the countries participating in the Biennale—— The world’s major new art showcase — have used an abandoned church, a former brewery, a water bus and various other venues to display their art, but this is the first time a prison has been chosen.

Bruno Racine, director of both Venice Pinault Collection locations and co-curator of the Vatican pavilion, said in an interview that this made the project “more complex and more difficult to implement.” But he added that the setting was consistent with Francis’ message of inclusion for marginalized people.

The Vatican project has been enthusiastically received by the public, but it has not been without controversy. Some critics have raised ethical questions About the intersection of powerful institutions like the Vatican and the Biennale with the limited autonomy of incarcerated women. Others believe the Vatican is complicit in staging the exhibition in a penal system where overcrowding remains a problem. Serious Problem.

Others have asked the pope to ask for clemency or at least a reduced sentence for women imprisoned for violent responses to domestic violence.

“I don’t think the Vatican has any power to have any influence on Italian justice,” Mr. Racine said of the idea.

While the Vatican has yet to respond publicly to the criticism, Francis has been outspoken about domestic violence. Talk about 2021 The high number of domestic violence cases against women is “bordering on the evil”.

He has also been an outspoken advocate for prison reform, denouncing prison overcrowding and often meeting with inmates during his travels.

On Sunday, Francis said prisons were “a harsh reality where problems such as overcrowding, lack of facilities and resources, and violence bring great suffering.” But he said prisons could also become a “harsh reality through mutuality.” A place that enhances the dignity of people by respecting and nurturing talents and abilities that may lie dormant or imprisoned by the vicissitudes of life”.

Pope describes his artistic vision to artists he summoned The Sistine Chapel last yearCardinal José Tolentino de Mendoza, the Vatican’s cultural chief, said earlier this year that they were told to “think of the poor and make sure that art reaches the peripheries.” “The world needs artists,” Francis told artists involved in a Vatican project on Sunday.

Racine and Chiara Parisi, curators at the Center Pompidou Metz in France, selected several artists to work with incarcerated women to create works scattered throughout the prison.

One of them, a 1965 silkscreen with the word “Hope” written on it, was hung on the door of the prison cafeteria. About a quarter of the more than 80 prisoners who agreed to serve as tour guides for the show were in the cafeteria on the first day. I met a tourist once. This silkscreen print was created by artist Corita Kent, a former nun and social justice activist who died in 1986.

Lebanese artist Simone Fattal transcribes poems and reflections from imprisoned women on lava slabs in a brick corridor: “I thought I was going to suffocate.” “I think about my family often.” “I am very sad.”

Another room contains small stylized paintings by French artist Claire Tabouret, which were based on family photos the women gave her.

Visitors can only get a brief glimpse into prison life, but during the tour, a short film directed by Marco Perego and starring his wife, actress Zoe Saldana, shows the interior in bleak black and white. The conditions: shared rooms, shared showers, little privacy. . Mr. Racine said both prisoners and professional actresses acted in the film.

This is the third time that the Vatican has participated in the Biennale: in 2013 and 2015, the Vatican participated in the Biennale several times, and this is one of its main venues. For the 2018 Architecture Biennale, the Vatican has built a series of churches, “For believers and unbelievers alike,” that’s still ok be visited.

On Sunday, the pope greeted the inmates of the Giudecca prison alone in the inner courtyard. Some people gave him flowers, and some people pushed envelopes and notes into his hands.

Giovanni Russo, director of the prison administration department at the Italian Ministry of Justice, told reporters at a Vatican news conference in March that women participating in the program were entitled to unspecified benefits. He said that while the Vatican pavilion was unique, almost all of Italy’s 190 prisons had some type of “arts program” involving more than 20,000 volunteers.

Visitors to the pavilion must make reservations in advance, and times fill up quickly.

This isn’t the first time inmates at the prison have been involved in a large-scale art project. Two years ago, French artist Pauline Curnier Jardin collaborated with prisoners on a film and painted a large common room where the women would meet with visitors twice a week. Second-rate. The walls are now a muted purple and decorated with stylized foliage and figures that the inmates designed during a series of workshops with artists.

Mr. Racine said the artwork in “With My Eyes” will be removed after the biennale closes in November. But Ms. Cornel Jardine’s soothing supplement will remain.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here