Not only is the popular touristic destination celebrated in food festivals and fashion –with a Dolce&Gabbana’s collection dedicated to the Sicilian atmospheres–, but it has also become the protagonist of London artistic scene.
Indeed, for the first time in the UK, an exhibition will be dedicated to explore over 4,000 years of art, culture and history in Sicily.
The exhibition “Sicily: Culture and Conquest” will launch this April at the British Museum and will provide visitors with an insight into the architectural and artistic achievements of the notorious Italian island.
More than 200 objects will be brought together to shed light on the archaeological and cultural legacies of Sicily, an island that has been profoundly transformed through time by the different aspirations of the people who inhabited it.
The predominant focus of the exhibition will be on two eras: the arrivals of Greeks in the second half of the 7th century BC and the Norman rule in Sicily (AD 1100 – 1250).
Among the objects that will be displayed at the British Museum with regard to the period of Greek rule in Sicily, a brightly painted terracotta alter dating to about 500BC and a terracotta architectural sculpture of a Gorgon, the famous Greek monster. Also highlights of the exhibitions are the marble statues inspired by the Greek tradition and used to decorate major temples.
The history of Sicily will also be retraced through the exhibition of a bronze battering ram dating to the final battle that led Romans to conquer the island after a long series of wars, in March 241 BC.
Then, the exhibition will move forward to the period following the fall of the Romans, when the coexistence of Norman, Islamic and Byzantine cultures in Sicily fostered the development of a multicultural climate, expressed by artistic pieces such as Byzantine-style mosaics and marble and wooden Islamic-influenced architectural decorations.
“We are trying to show periods of history which we think the larger public does not really know about,” said Dirk Booms, co-curator of the exhibition. “Very few people know that the Normans went to Sicily in 1061, before they conquered England, and by 1091 the whole island is theirs.”
The objects that best represent the transformation of Sicily’s culture through history have been chosen by the British Museum in cooperation with the Sicilian Ministry of Culture.
The exhibition will also include events hosted by Sicilian lecturers and artists.
“This exhibition is part of a cultural cooperation between this prestigious museum and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of Sicily. We hope that we can continue on this path and therefore we are still open to and ready for new initiatives that will make our region known throughout the world for its outstanding cultural patrimony,” stated Carlo Vermiglio, the Minister of Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Region of Sicily.