Students at Pisa’s Russoli art school created a collage for an exhibition comprising photos of immigrants on boats that create the face of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the Northern League (Lega Nord). This piece of art has become very controversial and has caused disagreement between the art school and members of Salvini’s party.
The Northern League mayor of nearby Cascina, Susanna Ceccardi, voiced her strong disapproval of the collage, expressing her disagreement. She requested the artwork to be removed from the show.
Ceccardi critiqued the artists’ interpretation and stated statistics about the deaths of immigrants, pointing out that migrant deaths at sea have decreased since Salvini has become minister. Although Ceccardi said the collage is a “beautiful work of art,” she also said that it is a “squalid provocation” and is communicating false information. She expresses her party is on good relations with the art school, but is very disappointed with this act.
Serena Bevilacqua, one of the artists that contributed to the work, responded to Ceccardi’s view. She explained that the students were assigned to create a piece of art on the theme of water and that people can interpret this specific collage in different ways.
Despite the mayor’s disapproval, the subject of this piece of art himself did not seemed to be bothered by it. Salvini tweeted “Evviva l’arte, evviva Pisa! #portichiusi #mentiaperte.” This translates to “Long live the art, hurray Pisa! #portsclosed #openminds.” (sierra case)