JUNE 18 – S.O.S.- Save Our Souls is a socially powerful installation assembled from hundreds of life jackets collected from the many thousands left on the shores of Lesbos Island by arriving migrants. Designed by Achilleas Souras, a sixteen-year-old boy of Greek origin living in Barcelona, the artwork consists of an haven igloo-shaped and it will be presented simultaneously at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro and at El Born Centre Cultural in Barcelona, on the World Refugee Day 2017, celebrated by the United Nations.
The Saatchi Gallery in London and MoMA in New York has dedicated a video installation to the project which has been displayed also in Milan at Salone del Mobile. “Art transcends barriers and languages, providing a safe space for creating interactions and exchanging ideas”, the artist Souras said, “the refugee crisis was simply a set of numbers on the news, but when I picked up a jacket, it stopped being just material…When you hold the jacket in your hand and you smell the sea, you look at things through a different prism and you realize that every jacket represents a human life.”
The preparation of the structure, which will be exhibited from 20th to 25th of June, will be held during a workshop involving unaccompanied minor migrants from the Zero-Save The Children Civic Center and with the contribution of a group of Italian children of the same age of the refugees. The workshop was made possible by a Social cohesion initiative, created to foster, through art, opportunities to meet and exchange, and to use museums as a place of sharing experiences and dialogue between different cultures.
At the show handmade products will be also exhibited, with the UNHCR patronage, thanks to RefugeeScART, a humanitarian project which aims to support refugees arriving in Italy in search of protection. RefugeeScART has arranged a craft workshop involving fifteen refugees who design and create objects and jewelry using entirely waste material. Since 2015, MAXXI has been hosting the project and the products are sold at the museum’s bookshop, with the entire revenues given to the refugees.
(@onuitalia, 19th June 2017)