Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sicily Exhibition Tours America

Sicily is often referred to as a crossroad. Indeed it is a place where geographically and culturally civilizations met and melded in ways that continue to this day to influence scholarly debates on ethnic identity in antiquity. It is not surprising therefore that Sicily’s Department of Cultural Heritage contains “Sicilian Identity” as part of its title and mandate.

Sicily was critically important not only to the naval powers of ancient Rome and Carthage, but also to Hellenistic Greek expansion and colonization. Punic and Greek settlers left traces of their magnificent cultures throughout the island.

World-famous among the archaeological treasures of western Sicily is a sublime statue of a charioteer, known simply as the “Youth of Mozia”. 

My own fascination with this statue spans decades and it has become for me the symbol of my homeland—not just of Sicily, but specifically of the area near Lo Stagnone lagoon where I was born and the nearby island of Mozia .

Imagine then my reaction earlier this summer at the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu, in seeing the Youth of Mozia standing serenely at the center of the exhibition room as if in greeting. My experience was akin to seeing a beloved relative in an unexpected and far-away land!  

The Youth of Mozia is currently in the United States as part of an extraordinary exhibition, Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome, which brings together antiquities from Sicily and Western Europe to tell a story of Classical and Hellenistic Sicily during a tumultuous period of political and social upheaval between 480 BC and 212BC. 

This unique exhibition was made possible by the Regional Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity and the J. Paul Getty Museum, and represents a continuation of an important cultural and scholarly dialogue between the United States and Italy. Having finished its tour at the Getty Villa, it has now gone to the Cleveland Museum of Art and will continue to Palermo, Sicily, in 2014.  

If you have an opportunity to view this exhibition, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed and it’s worth the trip to Cleveland or even Palermo! If not, I suggest taking a look at the accompanying catalogue published by The J. Paul Getty Museum of the same title, beautifully photographed, with essays by notable Sicilian, European and American scholars and introductions by exhibition curators Claire Lyons and Michael Bennett.   This work is an important new addition to our collective knowledge of Sicily and I know you will treasure as much as I do.  

Until next time,
Ciao a presto!

1 comment:

  1. Sicily is really a best place for holidays and one of the most historic regions of Europe. Thanks for sharing about it.
    Sicily tours