There are places in the world that are so small and quiet that they are almost unknown by the rest of the world. Santa Croce di Magliano is one of those places; it’s a small town in the hills of Southern Italy where life flows quietly. However, it has always been vibrant with art, music and theatre. In that small, quiet environment lived and worked Antonio Giordano, an exponent of the transavantgarde movement (painter, sculptor and photographer) who unfortunately passed away in 2013. To continue on in his artistically experimental footsteps, PAG (Premio Antonio Giordano) was founded. According to its curator-Marianna Giordano: “PAG is an urban art festival aimed at promoting all forms of visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, architecture)”.
PAG is promoting visual art in the urban space – says Marianna- and is considered the privileged place for the discussion and the knowledge exchange regarding art. The contest this summer is at its third edition and is organized by “ACAG” (Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano)-a cultural association founded in memory of the artist. It is also supported by the town council of Santa Croce di Magliano. “The selection of the most suitable spaces (such as abandoned buildings and the most significant places of the urban centre) and the art direction are managed by ACAG; special attention is paid to the selection of artists, namely their artistic language which differ in terms of culture and formation, but also in terms of painting techniques. Participant artists come from the urban art scene at national and international levels.”
The festival has reached the goal of moving the street art to the local population and vice versa, with the citizens helping out from providing the necessary equipment for working at height on large walls to inviting the artist who is painting in for lunch to get out of the heat.
In collaboration with the local high school, the ACAG association has involved students to design and paint public benches to stimulate the recovery process and artistic reconstruction of urban space. They also encouraged students and young inhabitants to participate in a three days’ workshop on poster art with Guerrila Spam.
In the next edition of the festival, street art definitely will have an important place but the association would like to start the experimentation of urban sculpture to strengthen their cultural proposal.
The use of artistic languages to reassess the urban space promotes citizen’s interest (especially amongst young people) and could contribute to the emergence of local collectives and artists, or simply help out the need for expression of youth by giving them an opportunity, a language and a space.
After all, that’s one of the challenges that Marianna and her association, directly or indirectly, have set themselves. She says: “we could have used artistic expositions by building galleries, but like that we would have talked to insiders only. By using the urban space, harmonizing artistic projects and languages to selected areas, we are talking to everyone, insiders, fans and inhabitants. Because art is of all and for all”.
Written by Vera Caruso