A huge crowd in one of the most important cradles of Italian culture – the Library of the Minister of Culture of Italy -, in the heart of Rome, gathered to admire a new form of art: art made with recycled plastic, created by a group of African refugees thanks to the project Refugee ScART of the Spiral Foundation. The exhibit was not out of place among precious ancient books and contemporary artworks of some of our most beloved artists, such as Piero D’Orazio and Toti Scialoja.
Admiring the contemporary art in such an evocative venue was only one part of an unforgettable evening: people arrived in scores to listen to the words of such giants of literature and art like Erri De Luca and Marisa Dalai Emiliani, who spoke about the importance of what we witnessed in that library, in a way that charmed the audience and yet was understandable to all, both the sophisticated art&culture officials and the new artists, the refugees who are still struggling to deepen their knowledge of the Italian language.
De Luca has been a steadfast supporter of the Refugee ScART project since he first met its founder, Marichia Simcik Arese. He started his talk by proclaiming “Sono un fiancheggiatore!”, term used in the ‘70s in Italy when revolutionary organizations (illegal) survived also thanks to the collaboration of people who shared the reasons of their fight, if not their methods, defined fiancheggiatori, accomplices.
“I am a fiancheggiatore of this subversive movement, which is Refugee ScART. Subversive in the present meaning of the word: it subvert the order of this obnoxious waste of our era, plastic. The worst of our wastes, the most difficult to dispose of and to recycle. Refugee ScART overthrows the destiny of this waste, transforming it into useful handmade objects, into art.”
Marisa, the professor every student wishes to (and should have the right to) have, added: “Refugee ScART, through vision, creativity, design capability and skilled work, perform a miracle: they transform the curse of plastic, the impossibility to dispose of it, into useful items of daily use or valuable objets d’art, following the same path which made famous many contemporary informal artists, who expressed their creativity collecting scraps from dumps.”