“For Freedom”, Steve McCurry’s exhibition for Afghan women in Palermo | the Echo of the South

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PALERMO – “I will never retrace my steps”.
The lines of the Afghan activist Meena, murdered in 1987, echo in Parliament Square.
As well as the rhythm of rapper Sonita Alizadeh, who gives voice to the suffering of brides for sale.
A gigantic circle stands out on the façade of the Royal Palace of Palermo.
Symbol of equality, life, death and rebirth.
“For Freedom” was presented today, an authentic exhibition-denunciation that “nails” us to reflect on the social condition of women in Afghanistan, once again “caged” with the return of the Taliban.

The cry of denunciation was launched from the Royal Palace of Palermo, an emblem of spirituality and coexistence between peoples, which has always been a meeting point between East and West.

For Freedom, which will remain open until July 17, 2022, is a new authorial project resulting from the collaboration between the Federico II Foundation and Steve McCurry, the most famous photographer in the world of anthropological reportage.
The photographic narration of a drama in full swing through 49 images.
For forty years McCurry has been describing Afghanistan “witnessing Afghan women amid violence, misery, hopes”.

The exploration that McCurry offers in his photographic works underlies a complex observation of the world, a constant denunciation of human cruelty and selfishness, as well as the coexistence between free worlds on the one hand and unspeakable suffering on the other.

The attention is not directly catalyzed on the war, but on the dramatic consequences, documenting the state of inner discomfort and destruction of women, who have once again lost all right to study and social life.

“This exhibition – said the president of the Federico II Foundation, Gianfranco Miccichè – is the demonstration that the Palazzo is alive, aware of its roots but with an eye on the world.
The place of coexistence between peoples cannot ignore the violation of human rights, in this case the rights of Afghan women.
Steve McCurry’s artistic talent and fame constitute a non-violent weapon of penetration into the consciences that we had the duty to spread ”.

“The focal point of For Freedom – said Patrizia Monterosso, director general of the Federico II Foundation – is the violation of fundamental rights, inherent in war and oppression.
A moral outrage to Humanity, which for over a month we have been reliving atrociously in other contexts as well.
McCurry’s photographic art represents a space of freedom gained to denounce the violation of human rights ”.

The exhibition was conceived by the Federico II Foundation together with Steve McCurry.
The sequence of images conceptually follows the evolution of the conditions of Afghan women, who gradually end up caged also by the exhibition.
Thus the visitor is forced to enter physically and mentally among the photographs, catapulted into a microcosm from which it is impossible to escape without asking questions.
Even the aspects related to the exhibition, curated by the architect Stefano Biondo and discussed by the Foundation with the artist, therefore become fundamental elements of the narration of an art that is also a civil denunciation.

The vernissage is a real collective moment of denunciation: homage is paid to the Afghan activist Meena Keshwar Kamal, killed in 1987 for defending women’s rights.
The area in front of the Monumental Gate of Piazza del Parlamento will in fact be “sonorized” with the diffusion in “loop” of Meena’s poem, “Never again will I retrace my steps”, which was interpreted and recorded for the Federico II Foundation by actress Gisella Vitrano.
The verses will be interrupted only by the rhythm of the song “Brides on sale” by Sonita Alizadeh, the young Afghan rapper who gives voice to the anger of 27 million minors forced, like her, to get married.

Info on www.mostramccurryforfreedom.com

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