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26 Sep 2019

Anglicans find "Eldorato" in Genova

 

The Church of the Holy Ghost in Genova is one of several local churches of different traditions which are supporting the "Eldorato Project" devised by Florentine artist Giovanni De Gara as a way of illustrating the response of the Churches in Italy to the migrant crisis.  The Revd Tony Dickinson, Anglican Chaplain in Genova, tells us about this project:

The Anglican and Protestant churches of Genoa and the Catholic church of San Torpete are all involved in the Eldorato project.  We are aware that our Christian faith invites us to build bridges and not to erect barriers. These artistic installations underline the importance of welcome, by contrast with every gesture of hatred and rejection.

Eldorato is a project that talks about the illusion of this millennium: the idea of a land of gold, where there is wealth and a future. A distant land of which little is known and about which we imagine marvellous things; a land hidden from our view just over the horizon.

The project, which has been devised and produced by the artist Giovanni De Gara (b. Florence, 1977), consists of a series of site-specific installations which use life-saving objects as their raw material: the isothermal blankets normally used for first aid in case of accidents and natural disasters, which have entered the collective imagination as the "migrants' garb".

The aim of the project is to promote a profound reflection on the theme of hospitality toward each individual, without distinction of origin, gender or creed, and to give a sign of warmth and salvation beginning with the contemplation of a gold sheet that shines not through the value of its metal, but through the beauty and simplicity of its message.

 

Genova-Eldorato-1-Sep19

 

In the week 23rd-29th September the installations can be seen in the entrances of the following church locations:

  • Anglican Church (Piazza Marsala 3),
  • The Evangelical Baptist Church (Via Ettore Vernazza 16)
  • The Luther Room of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Via Assarotti 21A)
  • The Waldensian Churches of Via Assarotti (Via Assarotti 21) and Sampierdarena (Via Urbano Rela 1 / A).
  • There is a further installation in the entrance of the church of San Torpete (Piazza S. Giorgio).

The Revd Tony adds:

“The Anglican congregation in Genova consists almost entirely of migrants, whether from the UK or from other parts of the world, including a large contingent of Nigerians who have arrived in recent years via Libya and Lampedusa.  The church operates a small-scale food- and clothing-bank and church members, including the chaplain, are regularly engaged in advocacy and support for the recent migrants. 

The other churches which are supporting this project also have significant numbers of migrants in their congregations to whom they offer appropriate support.  The Waldensians in particular are closely involved in the "Humanitarian Corridors" initiative, supporting refugees from the Middle East. The Catholic Archdiocese of Genova has also been generous in making its premises available to those responsible locally for the settlement of migrants who have survived the dangerous sea-crossing to Lampedusa.”

 

Genova-Eldorato-2-Sep19

 

Photographs:

The pictures with this article of the golden doors at the Church of the Holy Ghost, and of Signore De Gara (in the white T-shirt) and his team, are copyright © A.W. Dickinson.  They are reproduced here with grateful thanks.