Near / far, an exhibition for 50 years of the Unesco Convention

ROME – A man observing his land, among the vertical terraces where onions are grown in Argapura, Indonesia. The marvel of the historic Mosque of the city of Bagerhat, Bangladesh, in the morning, when he seems to be reflected in the water. The candle of Our Lady of Nazareth in the city of Belém, Brazil. Resilience in the eyes of two red-haired girls, on dad’s shoulders, in Baffa, Pakistan. And then Rome with the procession that parades in front of the Colosseum for the 31st anniversary of the independence of Ukraine, in the days of the invasion of the Russian army. The Near / Far exhibition, scheduled in Rome from 28 October to 27 November for the 50th anniversary of the Unesco Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, is a journey to discover the cultural and natural heritage of immigration in Italy. between Palazzo delle Esposizioni and four Libraries in Rome: l’Europea in Piazza Fiume, Ennio Flaiano in Tufello, Pier Paolo Pasolini in Spinaceto, Enzo Tortora in Testaccio.

“The exhibition was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Convention, but this is not a moment that lends itself to great celebrations with two warring Unesco countries and the armed forces in Ukraine”, says the president of the Italian National Commission, Franco Bernabè. “Unesco – he recalls – was established by international agreement in 1945, immediately after the Second World War, so that culture, science and beauty remind us not to fall into the same error”. In addition to the Convention for the cultural and natural heritage of 1972, “in 2003 – he continues – the Convention for the intangible heritage was also born and in 2005 for the multiplicity of cultures, so as to safeguard the heritage in its entirety”. Therefore, the celebrations initially planned in Florence had been canceled, for the 50 / o “we thought, in the country with several sites, to tell the contribution of different cultures” that arrive “with migrations in Italy”. “The exhibition – anticipates the president of the Palaexpo Special Company, Marco Delogu – will shoot on many other occasions. Yesterday the Ukrainian ambassador saw it and was moved in front of the wall of photos of the country of him”. In all, over 400 shots in the various locations, made by photographers from countries with the greatest migratory flow to Italy, who have told through images the cultural and natural heritage of their territory of origin. A dialogue with the institutional photographs of Unesco sites that runs along the thread of five macro themes: human settlements and peoples’ movements; spirituality; parties, celebrations, crafts, food and artistic expressions; the natural environment, geo and bio diversity; and portraits.

“The Mediterranean has only 2% of the world’s waters, but it is surrounded by a multiplicity of different peoples, cultures, sciences – comments the director of the CNR Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Salvatore Capasso – Among the emergencies, migrations are a fundamental element, but more than emergencies for me they are opportunities. Countries, economies, develop because people move, from one territory to another, from one sector to another “. Not surprisingly, “the most developed countries today, from the USA to Australia, are like this because they have also received the contribution of the Italians. In Italy then – he concludes – in 10 years we have lost 400,000 new born. Migration is a necessary element “. To accompany the exhibition, there is also a calendar of meetings and insights.

Near / far, an exhibition for 50 years of the Unesco Convention – ViaggiArt