Domenico Pellegrino’s “boat of light” arrives at Riso

A boat of light, a lighthouse that lights up in the window and promises to ferry the city towards safer shores: “I’m The Island” is the sculpture by Domenico Pellegrino that has recently occupied the showcase of the Riso museum, open on the street .

On days when all the museums are closed, the exhibitions are closed, the archaeological sites no longer host visitors, it is necessary to strengthen the relationship between culture and citizens. Even through small attentions of beauty: it happens at Riso – Museum of modern and contemporary art where, last October, the Book Culture was inaugurated, the innovative museum bookshop concept, conceived by CoopCulture – which takes care of the additional services of the museum -, in line with those already open at the Salinas Museum and at the Zisa, at the Botanical Garden and at the cloister of Monreale.

A museum on the street, always open, showcases overlooking the city that ideally want to keep the link between the passer-by and Riso united – explains the director of the Museum, Luigi Biondo -. The colored and illuminated boat Domenico Pellegrino now peeps out of the transparent glass of the BookCulture. A work with a strong iconographic identity that wants to be a flag for indomitable warriors of light. We will be back soon ”.

A design space, candid, with impact, populated by art publications, catalogs, fiction and Sicilian crafts; already appreciated by visitors, who stopped curious in front of the huge windows overlooking the Cassaro. The idea seemed immediately fascinating: two large “eyes” ready to host works by Sicilian artists and creatives, for whom a call was being planned, a real “call to the arts” from which a merchandising line would also be born for the museum. But Covid stopped everything, and the two windows remained as the only virtual contact between the museum and the street. “The Rice BookCulture, like the others open in cultural sites, was a candidate for a creative hub, the visiting card of the museum that intrigues the visitor – says the director of CoopCulture, Letizia Casuccio -. While waiting to be able to welcome the public again, we present a symbolic work that makes us think of rebirth, of restarting ”.

For this reason it was decided to host I’m The Island, Domenico Pellegrino’s boat of light, already exhibited in the Bangladesh Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale of art in 2019. After having sailed through the streets and bridges, the boat of light had reached Palazzo Donà delle Rose; after two years, he arrives in Palermo. An installation that tastes of travel, path, search for knowledge, desire for life. And it unites distant peoples: Pellegrino has in fact worked on the model of the typical Bengali boats, boats in dark wood that glide on the mud of a country that is swallowed by the water; he collected and knotted a thread that leads him to Sicily, to the ancient Catanese Rodolico family, the shipwrights mentioned in the Malavoglia, to whom he entrusted the construction of the hull. The lights – a recognizable scenographic element in Pellegrino’s work – draw on Bengali decorations, borrowed from nature, rewritten and redesigned through Sicilian culture.