Palermo Street Art.

I don’t know when humanity built the first wall; what I’m certain of, however, is that it mustn’t have been long before somebody drew on it. Street art has been found everywhere, from Aya Sofia in Istanbul to Pompeii: it’s only natural for it to be here, in Palermo.
Caravaggio’s Bacchus? Some rendition of Saint Sebastian? Rummaging through my brains yielded a big, fat blank.
These two, though, I recognise. They stood side by side on the same building and why not? Jesus, today, would be an environmentalist I think.
Perhaps not as much as in Naples, but Palermitan art has a certain fling with the after life, with death. The writing on the building on the right reads suos devorat alienos nutrit. “It devours its (sons) and feeds foreigners”. These are words inscribed at the feet of a statue of the Genius Loci, or personification, of the city. Palermo eats its own and feeds others. Apt.
e tutti quanti Gattopardi, sciacalli e pecore continueremo a crederci il sale della terra. The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s masterpiece, is a heavy tome, but not for its length. A dispirited look into the mummified Sicilian society at the time of Italy’s reunification, it’s packed with phrases that have elbowed their way into the nation’s psyche. Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com’è bisogna che tutto cambi. “If we want everything to stay as it is, everything must change” is perhaps the most famous. But here on this wall is another one: “We were leopards, lions. Jackals, hyenas will come after us, and then sheep will follow them. And all of us – leopards, jackals and sheep – will believe to be the salt of the earth”. Somebody had changed “leopards” with sanguisughe: “leeches”. Mr Hippo, instead, is asking people to raise their voices against racism.
“I do things”. “I see people”. The sole redeeming aspect of the intolerable 1978 film Ecce Bombo (a surefire way to get heartburn, like every other film from Nanni Moretti) is, in four words, the job description of today’s Instagram influencers.
Two Italians, two Palermitans of our not-so-distant past and a Palermitan, an Italian of today. The two men are Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino: judges, adversaries of Cosa Nostra, both blown up by the Corleonesi. The unnamed lady adorns the side of a council estate near La Kalsa and is the product of artists Rosk&Loste. In her I see the dynamism of this city that left me cautiously optimist about its future.
 
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19 Responses to Palermo Street Art.

  1. J.D. Riso says:

    Walls are meant to be adorned and Palermo does it beautifully, even the death/afterlife.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lexklein says:

    As someone who can’t even paint a decent image on a piece of paper comfortably on the table in front of me, I always admire and marvel at the art people manage to execute high up on rough walls, large-scale, in the elements, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. richandalice says:

    “If we want everything to stay as it is, everything must change” — Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the world-wide trend of street art. Thanks for this tour of Palermo’s.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bama says:

    Those are really cool and thought-provoking murals! I love how more and more cities embrace this kind of street art, as opposed to sterile and dull appearance some places prefer. From all that you included here, the one depicting the judges is my favorite. I always adore the courage and tenacity of those who dare to stand up against oppressors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Thanks Bama! Falcone & Borsellino are, indeed, major figures of modern-day Italy. Theirs is a great, although sad and often enraging, story (but it wouldn’t be an Italian story if it wasn’t such).

      Like

    • awtytravels says:

      Thanks Bama! Falcone & Borsellino are, indeed, major figures of modern-day Italy. Theirs is a great, although sad and often
      enraging, story (but it wouldn’t be an Italian story if it wasn’t such).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dalo 2013 says:

    Great opening line, and could not agree more… Street art is captivating for me because it is very free, an artist free-styling on the current mood of both the artist and the environment/mood of the day. Plus it is talent I lack, so it is even more intriguing. Great post ~

    Liked by 1 person

  7. equinoxio21 says:

    Nice post caro mío. Grazie.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Uuu, the last two are really nice. And I appreciate the explanation. Caro diario I saw years ago at the film festival in Ljubljana. I can’t say it was personally memorable but wasn’t he the critic darling.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an interesting collection of street art, Fabrizio. It says so much about a place.

    Liked by 1 person

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