Mater Migrantes

Mater Migrantes (2018)
Paper on canvas, metallic and fluorescent colors, swarovski, silver and gold wire, dim. 136 x 107 cm

Created to reckon with an exodus that, while clearly present before our eyes, is nonetheless absent from common awareness in the entirety of its tragedy, Mater Migrantes is wholly permeated by the will to become prayer.

Its iconography deliberately references that of the Virgin of Mercy, the protective mother who gathers all men beneath her veil.

She is an African mother, regal and elegant like a queen, crowned by light and colour, slowly emerging from dark waters inhabited only by death, or perhaps by nothingness, and called upon to save men from the depths.

In Mater Migrantes, formal research and inner dialogue are elevated by a rigorously symmetrical composition: the orange life preserver that both crowns the woman and forms her hair is situated at the centre of the composition, referencing a tradition rooted in Byzantine art that in turn elicits the feelings of balance, harmony, and absolute calm that are needed to conjure up the idea of a voiceless humanity.

Conceived within a larger project dedicated to contemporary migrations and to the meaning that ideas such as freedom and dignity can have today, this work opens up a path of technical and conceptual experimentation that has only just begun.

Patrizia Gelli
Storica dell’Arte