CATANIA – As part of an event for the city of Catania and the Emergence Festival in summer 2015, several artists brought a creative edge to a cluster of silos in the city’s port district. For Street Art Silos, the artists were invited to look to the myths and legends of Sicily for inspiration.
On his silo, Milan-based artist Bo130 retold the Sicilian folktale of Colapesce (“Cola the Fish”): Colapesce, the son of a fisherman, makes a deep dive and discovers that all of Sicily rests on three underwater pillars. One of the pillars shows cracks, so he chooses to stay underwater to hold up the column and, in turn, the island.
In Bo130’s interpretation, Colapesce begins to notice that Sicily is getting heavier and heavier; returning to the surface, he sees an influx of desperate immigrants from the East, and learns that many have lost their lives on the journey. Colapesce shares their sorrow and warns them that, as Bo130 puts it, “Sicily and the Western World is not the promised land…but actually the cause of all their problems!” Bo130’s work invites understanding of the plight of refugees and reflects, he says, “an urge to give real help to those who live in problem areas of the planet.”
Interesni Kazki (AEC and WAONE) of Ukraine created Triskelion e la fuga di Ulisse da Polifemo (“Triskelion and Ulysses escaping from Polyphemus”), a painting inspired by the Odyssey of Homer which took place in Sicily (once a part of the ancient Greek world).
Cans, the contribution by Catania native Vlady, depicts three cans atop one another, a site specific painting meant to be rich in context. Says the artist, “the city’s harbour is full of goods and containers and these are just cans of nonsense items (‘ego Soup,’ ‘mermaid meat’ etc).”
Spanish artist Okuda painted La bella di Bellini (the beauty of Bellini), as a nod to famed Catania composer Vincenzo Bellini. The artist photographed a statue dedicated to the composer, and transformed his image into a surreal, colorful representation. Next to Okuda’s work, Spanish artist Rosh 333‘s untitled piece depicts a massive eye and an erupting Etna volcano.
Milanese artist Microbo, originally from Catania, created Il moto perpetuo di Scilla e Cariddi (“the perpetual motion of Scilla & Cariddi”). Scilla and Cariddi are two human-like fantasy creatures that are supposed to live on the edges of Messina’s strait. Says the artist, “Two of the super powers of nature, air and water, show us the beauty and power of one of the breaths of our living Earth, as they play in a waltz of currents in the point of the Mediterranean between Sicily and Calabria.”
The only black and white piece, Danilo Bucchi‘s Minotaur takes inspiration from the mythology of the title. The Roman artist worked on the silo as he would with canvas, brushing a free hand outline.
Lucamoleonte of Rome painted a chestnut tree and medieval soldier in reference to the Sicilian legend, “Hundred Horse Chestnut.” Says fellow artist Vlady, “the legendary tree is still alive and believe to be one of the oldest in the world.” According to legend, the tree—located on the slope of Mount Etna and now estimated at 2,000-4,000 years old—sheltered the Queen of Aragon and a hundred knights.