For this 12th year, the directors of our 24 member museums have turned to Emilio Isgrò for the guide image.
Prayer for Europe, the image specially created by the artist for the Day of Contemporary Art, shows an erased Europe that extends its boundaries outside the European Union to embrace the countries lining the Mediterranean. Executed in March 2016, before the recent referendum confirming Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the image is a reflection on the divisions – geographical, political, cultural – that now, more than ever, fuel the nationalistic sentiments and drives that history hoped to have erased. Isgrò explains, “My Prayer for Europe is not about suggesting fear and dismay over Europe, but instead to offer the chance for engagement with those who, on every coast of the Mediterranean, ask the land of three monotheistic religions to place its ‘human face’ over the horrible mask of a world too conditioned by war and conflict. No one can deceive themselves that art alone can change the universe, but it is certainly up to artists and ants, meaning the most fragile creatures, to express the dark force that can change despair into hope. This is why art must be free from ideological and market-based conditioning: to reacquire the credibility lost in the eyes of those who are truly needy …. It is when we start to pray together – artists and ants, religious, miscreants and laypeople – that prayer finally becomes effective. And the heavens are moved.”