On the Move: Alternative Forms of Journeys through an Artistic Lens
December 3, 2020
NYU DC Dialogues and the John Brademas Center in partnership with the University of Palermo, Department of Law, and with the support of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington DC presented On the Move: Alternative Forms of Journeys through an Artistic Lens. The event explored the meaning of the word journey for the several people for whom the journey is the only way to protect their lives or to ensure a better future for their family. This event presented different forms of art that contribute to answering these questions, and was curated by Renato Miracco (art critic) and Mauro Testaverde (economist).
Program & Schedule
Setting the Stage & Introductions: During this session, the host(s) will introduce the event and share some thoughts on the historical links between different forms of art and the concept of “journey”.
Lynne P. Brown, NYU Brademas Center
Lynne P. Brown is the Executive Director of the John Brademas Center, where she works to develop the overall mission, messaging and strategic planning for the Center. Dr. Brown is also Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs. In that position, she is responsible for the University's interaction with government at all levels, outreach to the community, strategic communications, and university events. She oversees the offices of: Government and Community Affairs, Civic Engagement, University Events, Advertising and Publications, Web Communications, Media Production, and Public Affairs.
Carola Mamberto, Documentary Filmmaker and Acting Board President, Italian Cultural Society of Washington, DC
Carola Mamberto is a journalist and documentary filmmaker currently serving as Acting Board President of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington, DC. She has reported and produced films across four continents for leading international outlets, including PBS/FRONTLINE, the Wall Street Journal and L’Espresso. Her most recent film, "The Invisibles," captures the plight of undocumented migrant field workers stuck in unsanitary makeshift camps in Italy at the height of the Covid pandemic.
Established in 1953, the Italian Cultural Society of Washington D.C. (ICS) is a non-for-profit organization that promotes Italian language and culture, mainly through its Italian Language Program (ILP), founded in 1974 with contributions from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through its innovative course offerings, ICS teaches Italian language, art, culture and traditions. ICS also organizes summer camps for children and youth, and has its own Music School. Every month, ICS offers cultural events ranging from film and book presentations to concerts, lectures, art exhibitions, literary conversations and discussions on current affairs. Through its annual Gala, ICS celebrates Italian culture as well as the recipients of its prestigious Scholarship Awards. We work in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington, D.C. and with the Education Office of the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. Our members include Italians, Americans and supporters of Italian culture from around the world who live in the DC region. We have a growing database of over 5,000 individuals. The Italian Language Program of ICS has over 1,700 enrollments annually.
Renato Miracco, Scholar, Art Critic, and Curator
Renato Miracco is a scholar, art critic, and curator from Naples, Italy. Formerly the Cultural Attaché of the Italian Embassy in Washington, he is presently the member of the Board of Guarantors for the Italian Academy at Columbia University. He has curated numerous important exhibitions on Italian art worldwide and has published widely. Miracco was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for Cultural Achievements in 2018 and received a Green Card for Exceptional Ability, from President Obama.
Aldo Schiavello, University of Palermo
Aldo Schiavello is a Full professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Palermo. Ph.D in “Analytical philosophy and general theory of law” (University of Milan, 1997). LL.M in Legal Theory (from “European Academy of Legal Theory”, Bruxelles, 1993).
He is also Co-director of Diritto & Questioni pubbliche; assistant editor of Ragion Pratica; advisory board member of Ethics & Politics; and the Director of the Department of law.
Also is the Past Coordinator of Ph.D Programme in “HumanRights: Evolution, Protection and Limits”; the Past Vice-Director of The Department on Law, Society and Sport; Past Rector's delegate to Phd Programmes; and a Member of Società italiana di Filosofia del diritto and Italian Society for Law and Literature.
Mauro Testaverde, Economist
Mauro Testaverde is an Economist, whose work focuses on migration, forced displacement, and the interaction of education, human resource management, and labor market policies. Since 2012 Mauro has been part of World Bank teams providing technical and analytical assistance in the areas of labor policy and social protection systems. Before joining the World Bank, Mauro was part of the migration research team at the University of Southampton (U.K.) where he earned a PhD in Economics and an MA in Econometrics.
Session 1: Photography as a Vehicle for Creating Connections and Preserving Memories
- Virtual Photo Exhibition by Mohamed Keita & Remarks from the Artist
Mohamed Keita is a photographer born in the Ivory Coast. At the age of fourteen, he fled his country because of a civil war and started a three-year journey across Guinea, Mali, Algeria, Libya and Malta to finally arrive in Italy in 2010 at the age of seventeen. Welcomed into the refugee youth center Civico Zero in Rome, Mohamed learnt Italian, whilst working as a porter in a hotel. During his time at Civico Zero he discovered his innate vocation for photography and attended formal training courses at the Institute of Cinema and TV Roberto Rossellini. For Mohamed, photography is a means of sharing, not just the artistic form but also memories of the past, the present and moments of daily life in the city, as well as all the continuous changes that at times are imperceptible. Today, Mohamed lives and works in Rome where he helps the young photographers of Civico Zero. At the end of 2016, Mohamed developed the idea of organizing photographic workshops in Africa, starting in Mali, for children living in situations of hardship. As of today, Mohamed had developed a photography workshop in Bamako (Mali) and one in Nairobi (Kenya). Mohamed’s works have been displayed in several exhibitions around the world, including at the Biennale di Venezia (2019), Institut Français in Cracow , Poland (2017), Italian Cultural Institute in London, Edinburgh and New York (2016), Complesso Del Vittoriano, Roma (2014) and Camera dei Deputati, Roma (2012).
Session 2: Music to Communicate the Experience Lived During the Journey
- Performance by Chris Obehi
Chris Obehi (Warri, Nigeria, 1998) left his country in 2015 as a minor. His journey to Europe lasted 5 months during which he was imprisoned in Libya and finally crossed the Mediterranean on a boat. After arriving in Lampedusa and then in Palermo, he chose to live by dedicating himself to his big dream: that of making music. In Nigeria he played the piano and bass in church, gospel music. When he arrived in a community for minors in Palermo, he decided to resume his passion for music and to learn to play the guitar as a self-taught. He discovers Rosa Balistreri thanks to a suggestion from a musician friend, Francesco Riotta, who one night made him feel "Cu ti lu dissi". For Chris it was a shock: when he starts playing and singing Rosa Balistreri's songs in public, the people who listen to him, are very surprised by this African boy so in love with Sicilian music. A series of videos that went viral on social media brought him to the attention of the general public, such as an interview by Repubblica while Chris was busking or the video made by Palermo Festival in front of the murals of San Benedetto il Moro in Ballarò which was seen almost a million times. In 2020 he won the Rosa Balistreri and Alberto Favara awards and received the SIAE Young Author at Musica contro le Mafie plaque, with an award at Casa Sanremo during which he played his "Non siamo pesci". In the same period he signed his first record deal with 800A Records and made his first album with the production of Fabio Rizzo, "Obehi", which came out on March 20 and contains songs written in English, Italian, in his Esan dialect and in Sicilian, with a tribute to Rosa Balistreri.
Session 3: Beyond the Numbers: Putting the Spotlight of Refugees’ Lives via Documentaries
- Brief Introduction & Remarks from the Directors, Filippo Piscopo and Lorena Luciano
- Excerpts from IT WILL BE CHAOS, the 2019 Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary. Part road-movie and part intimate portrait of lives in transit, It Will Be Chaos unfolds between Italy and the Balkan corridor. The film features two refugee stories of human strength while capturing the escalating tension between newcomers and locals. The documentary intertwines the journey of Aregai, an Eritrean shipwreck survivor fleeing his country’s dictatorship, with the story of Wael, embarking on a life-threatening trip to bring his wife and children from Syria to Germany.
Lorena Luciano is a national Emmy® winner with a Law degree, Lorena tells urgent stories from a ground-level angle, directing films that speak to starkly different audiences. Her films, recipient of international Best Documentary and Best Directing Awards, have screened at the Venice Film Festival, the World Bank, the EU Parliament, a cultural makeshift in war-torn Yemen, and universities all over the world. With prestigious film grants from the Sundance Film Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, NYSCA, and Chicken & Egg Pictures, among others, Lorena’s work focuses on Social Justice, Human Rights, the Environment, and the Arts. She lives in NYC with her two children and her husband/film partner Filippo Piscopo.
Filippo Piscopo is an Emmy® Award winner director/cinematographer Filippo Piscopo intersects his true passion for storytelling with impactful camerawork. Inspired by content resonating with diverse audiences, Filippo has crafted engaging stories featured at film venues such as the Venice Film Festival, IDFA’s Central Pitch, and supported by the Sundance Institute. Granted the Social Justice Award by Amy Goodman, Filippo’s documentary work, often in collaboration with his wife and film partner Lorena Luciano, has opened to good reviews by mainstream media such as Variety and the New York Times and has been distributed globally.
- Brief Introduction & Remarks from the director, Gabriele Gravagna, and from the co-protagonist Dine Diallo
- Excerpts from IO SONO QUI, which translated means "I am here", is the voice of all those minors who arrive alone in Italy and want to start living, hoping, believing in their future again. This documentary by Gabriele Gravagna is about the story of Dine, Magassouba and Omar, three young men who for various reasons have been forced to abandon their home countries in search of a safe place to live. Io Sono Qui becomes a choral testimony of that trip that thousands of migrants are forced to undertake to escape from unimaginable situations.
Gabriele Gravagna was born in Palermo in 1986 and has lived in Rome since 2005. He is a director and author specialized in documentary and docu-fiction for cinema and television and has collaborated with important NGO’s (FAO, UNICEF, UNHCR, LAV, TELETHON, DIFFERENZA DONNA). “Io ono qui" (I am here) his first short documentary was presented at Roma Cine Fest in 2017 and has won international awards and was broadcasted in television. His short documentary “In The Ghost Town”, produced by RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana) and EBU (European Broadcasting Union) was nominated for the Prix Europa 2020.
Dine Diallo was born in Guinea and lives in Palermo, Italy. There he founded the association for social promotion Giocherenda (www.giocherenda.it) with other young people from different countries. He is a HIP ambassador for Philip Zimbardo's Heroic Imagination Project and, as president of Giocherenda, he collaborates with Marina Warner for the Stories in Transit project. He is co-protagonist of Gabriele Gravagna’s documentary film "Io sono qui" (2017).
Session 4: Saving Lives from Deadly Journeys: The Work of Saving Humans USA
- Saving Humans USA is the 501(c)(3) American nonprofit sister-organization of Mediterranea Saving Humans, the Italian NGO operating the ship Mare Jonio in the search and rescue of migrants in the central Mediterranean. Its mission is to save and aid migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in distress, and raise public awareness about their situation. A team from Saving Humans USA will briefly share information about the activities carried out by their organization in the last two years.
Francesco Memoli is the president of Saving Humans USA. He was born in Naples, Italy and lived in Madrid, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a mechanical engineer and industry executive expert on hydrogen-based sustainable technologies. Francesco has been news correspondent from Spain for Italian radio stations and newspapers. He moved to the United States in 2008 and now lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.
- The DC-based Italian choreographer Mimmo Miccolis centers his pieces on the mix between art and various social issues. In this piece, Miccolis brings to the stage a representation of the journey through dance movements.
Mimmo Miccolis, born in Italy, is a neoclassical and contemporary teacher and choreographer at The Washington Ballet. Nominated “Italian excellence in dance” at the Gala 2019 of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington (ICS), Miccolis was the winner of the “Outstanding Choreographer Award” at the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) Finals 2015 in New York City, at the Indianapolis International Ballet Competition 2017 and at the YAGP Pittsburgh Semifinals 2016. In 2011, he was also a recipient of the BBC Performing Arts Fund in London, UK. In the last years several of his choreographic creations received awards in dance competitions across Europe and the US.
Q&A Session: Moderated by Alessandra Sciurba
- Audience members will have the opportunity to learn more about the work of the guest artists. The host will connect from the multiethnic social enterprise Moltivolti in Palermo, Italy
Alessandra Sciurba is a researcher in philosophy of law and co-founder of the CLEDU (Legal Clinic for Human Rights) at the University of Palermo. She has published several papers and books on the issue of migration and has been consultant for The Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Alessandra has been widely active in NGOs involved in human rights protection, and she participated in Search and Rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea.