STREET ART IN PALERMO
Thinking about street art in Sicily, we immediately think of Palermo. Many civilisations have colonised the city of Palermo. Multiculturalism and respect for diversity have coexisted here in a standard routine. Where there is an exchange, there is beauty. Art has a natural habitat in this city. We can find Arab-Norman traces and Serpotta stuccos. Street art also has found very fertile ground. Strolling around any corner of Palermo, we can admire beautiful murals. From the streets of the Centre to the markets of Ballarò and Vucciria, from Kalsa to Zisa and Borgo Vecchio, let’s try to discover some of the most remarkable works.
We start in the Albergheria district, near the Ballarò market. Here you will find some of the city’s most impressive artworks. The first is the giant mural Viva Santa Rosalia by Igor Scalisi Palminteri. The Saint is smiling, almost proud of her city. Among the narrow streets, we come across FIDES by Andrea Buglisi. We see a hummingbird lifting an enormous rock with its tiny wings. The work symbolises the determination to complete what seemed to be impossible tasks, as art can do. In the same district, Crazyone has created a stencil of Franco Franchi. In the heart of the historic Ballarò market, we find the mural of Saint Benedict the Moor, a work by Igor Scalisi Palminteri. The Saint was the co-patron of Santa Rosalia, and, in the artwork, he protects a redeveloped square. The football pitch has become a symbol of cultural integration.
Let’s move on to the Cala quarter, where we admire the mural dedicated to Falcone and Borsellino. It is one of the most famous contemporary mural paintings. The artists Rosk & Loste created the work of art to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the judges’ deaths. Proceeding to Piazza Marina, we find another tribute to Falcone. Tvboy has portrayed the magistrate with a spray can in his hand while writing, “it is time to move on“. His message is also the title of the work.
From the Marina, we move to the multi-ethnic Kalsa district. We admire the murals by artists Basik, Rosk & Loste, Camilla Falsini and Mbre Fats. In Via Dello Spasimo, we can see the peaceful gaze of a young non-European woman. A halo appears behind her head. The work is entitled Bakitha and is by Rosk and Loste. It bears witness to Palermo’s identity, integration and cultural syncretism. Another work in Via Dello Spasimo is by Camilla Falsini and depicts Federico II as a child. This representation is a tribute to the king, who represented inclusion and curiosity. We arrive in Piazza Magione to admire the mural Dream of Pope Sergius I by Sten & Lex. It is a reinterpretation of the homonymous painting by the Flemish painter Rogier van der Wyde.
Let’s move away from the Kalsa and get to Molo Sant’Erasmo. Igor Scalisi Palminteri has represented the protector of sailors. Saint Erasmus wears a life jacket and holds two branches in his hand as he looks out to sea. The Saint observes those who cross the sea even in adverse conditions.
Let’s go to the Danisinni district, at the centre edge. In the past, the neighbourhood was in a degraded situation, but it rose again and mended the social fabric. In 2017 Rambla Papireto was born. It is a redevelopment project in artistic key; today, it has become a permanent presidium. The redevelopment project began with an educational farm and street artworks. The murals represents the images of San Francesco, Rosa Balistreri and Letizia Battaglia (the latter “two Sicilian women who are examples of creative power”) by Giambaccio.
Speaking of urban redevelopment, we must visit the Cantieri Culturali della Zisa, a former industrial area with 23 warehouses. This cultural area is full of murals and hosts theatre, concerts and movie events.
We arrive at the last stop in town: Borgo Vecchio. A homonymous project involved children and young people in creative painting workshops. Internationally renowned artists (Ema Jones, Aris, Alleg) participated in the laboratories. Among colourful octopuses and giant footballs, urban regeneration seems like child’s play.
If you fancy a trip out of town and want to discover street artworks outside the city of Palermo, pass through Mezzojuso, and you will see pieces by Alleg and Poki. The village is known as “the gateway to the Madonie Mountains“, where you can admire thirty murals. Some of the most impressive works include Ozmo’s gigantic Santa Rosalia pop, Italy upside down by Bros, Ivan’s street poems and Sam3’s delicate images of clothes blowing in the wind.
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