ART RESIDENCY
RIABITARE CON L'ARTE, FOSSA, L'AQUILA

In 2011, a devastating earthquake destroyed a big part of the small villages of which L’Aquila in the province Abruzzo in Italy consists of. Ten years later, the people are still reconstructing their houses one by one. Ten years later, the people are still living in temporary houses on less than a kilometre away from their former houses. Each day, they look from down in the valley up to what used to be their village higher on the hill.

The passing of the time brings its own problems along. People are getting older, younger people are moving to the big cities to search opportunities, the villages are going to be more and more empty. Houses that are renovated again, stay empty because the people don’t want to move back alone. It takes a whole group to build a community, to create the feeling of a home.

The paradisal outlook of the landscape carries the burden of a lot of sadness from locals, who keep their spirits up high and their hearts warm. During the summer months, a local organisation invited thirteen artists, amongst which Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi, for a community building project, to organise participative artworks together with all the neighbours.

During the month of August, Mahmoud will organise two performances: "Love is Univers ALL" (on the 5th of August) and "The First Supper" (on the 10th of August):

Performance “Love is Univers ALL“ is part of the project that artist Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi started in July 2014 in Milano, in which he reflects on art and its social function, the event continued every year as an approach festival in the same neighbourhood (Viale Bligny 42 Milano) and expanded to several locations in Antwerpen (De Coninckplein, Sint-Paulusplaats, Terloplein). The “Love is Univers ALL” project is a site specific, participatory project. The painting of the hearts designed by Mahmoud invite the neighbourhood to paint and come together.

© Francesco Paolucci
© Francesco Paolucci

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© Francesco Paolucci
© Francesco Paolucci

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© Francesco Paolucci
© Francesco Paolucci

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The organization of "The First Supper" in Fossa, L'Aquila is inspired by the famous festival Sagra, where people bring food and eat it together. The ancient and warm local tradition has been affected by both the earthquake and the COVID and its restrictions. Tradition can come back to life, to give input to the festival to return to Fossa and its surroundings for all the next years.

"The First Supper" in Fossa tries to raise awareness and remember a strong local socio-cultural tradition and a heritage both for the inhabitants and for the neighbouring cities to continue to resume and move forward even with little or less public, to create a collective memory both within and by the community. "The First Supper" is a new beginning, a reconstruction of the traditional festival and trust within society.