The intention of this work is to reconstruct a human, artistic and cultural account of Francesco Perilli through the broadest documentation available. In particular his activity as a painter is chronologically traced through catalogues, books, newspapers and journals. It is believed that, in so doing, the most careful and reliable biographical reconstruction possible has been achieved. Particular reference is made to the events tied to his “Symbol of Multiculturalism” monument located in Toronto, Sarajevo, Changchun and East London.
The painter’s words cited here are taken from the book by Domenico Guzzi and Francesco Perilli “Che cos’è il Multiculturalismo?” (What is Multiculturalism?), Edizioni Martintype, Martinsicuro.
Naturally, to revisit the life and experiences of an artist with the utmost fidelity would require a period of time equal to that life itself; for this reason the “biography” that is presented here may be considered a reliable foundation on which to continue to provide further integrations.
Nereto (province of Teramo), Francesco Perilli, the son of Giulio Perilli and Ada Santori, is born on October 4. Giulio Perilli - Ada Santori. He learns the first rudiments of art from his cabinetmaker father. Self-taught because, he says: “[…]at our house we needed money, not books or schooling […]”.
Nereto - He frequents a “ceramics workshop”; as well as the studio of sculptor Giuseppe Marinucci of Ascoli. Also contributing to Perilli’s artistic and cultural development over the course of the years were important encounters and contacts with artists and intellectuals such as, among others, Giuseppe Marinucci, Salvatore Flavio Raiola, Tito Rubini, Giuseppe Rosato, Armando Troni, Eugenio Riccitelli, Aleardo Rubini, Carlo Levi, Dacia Maraini, Giacomo Manzu’, Ermanno Olmi, Nanni Loy, Carlo Lizzani, Renato Guttuso, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Marino Mazzacurati, Tono Zancanaro
Augusto Murer, Francesco Casorati Pavarolo, Pietro Annigoni, Tommaso Paloscia, Giordana Canti, Roberto Roversi, Jean Pierre Coin, Federico Zeri, Arturo Carlo Quintavalle, Vincenzo Centorame, Antonio Sorella, Wiliam Zola, Walter Belardi, Abba Danna, Vittorio Sgarbi, Carmine Siniscalco, Midhat Haracic, Carlo Fabrizio Carli, Domenico Guzzi, Costanzo Costantini, Sante de Pasquale, Plinio Perilli, Xu Huaiwu, Li Quoquing, Li Shu, Patrizia Raimondi, Otello Gnaccarini, Ector Ormando, Miloslav Hirisch, Ari Liberman, Maro Gemonat , Ivana Kucerova, Lesley Ann Foster, Daja Appavoo, and Alessandro Dal Lago.
San Benedetto del Tronto - “Galleria Larcara”- The Commune’s Award “Premio Città di San Benedetto del Tronto” (the work is granted distinction and awarded a prize).
Nereto - Pro-Loco group exhibition
Alba Adriatica - “Galleria Albauno”. His has his first one man show. In the catalogue, a text by Aleardo Rubini.
Nereto - “Galleria Gruppo 3”. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Eugenio Riccitelli.
Foggia - Galleria dell’Artista - “Premio Primavera” (he is awarded first prize).
Fermo - Palazzo Comunale, Sala dei Ritratti. In the catalogue, a text by Giuseppe Rosato.
Siena - Gallery “l’Antica Bottega di Siena”. “XXIII Exhibition of Contemporary Art”.
Rome - “Il Camino” Art Gallery. “International Exhibition of Contemporary Art”.
Paris - L’Accademie Europeienne des Arts Cultural assembly.
Montesilvano in Pescara - Serena Majestic Gallery. “I giovani e l’arte” (young artists award). He is awarded first prize and the A.A.S.T. (Independent Tourist Board) trophy of Montesilvano.
Santa Margherita Ligure - Imperial Palace Hotel - The Gallery Dell’Arco organizes the city’s exhibition “Rassegna Città di Santa Margherita Ligure” (he is awarded first prize).
Torre del Greco - “Galleria Il Buco”. Exhibition of international art.
Genova - Palazzo Doria. International award “Gran Premio Internazionale Genova-Vienna” (he is awarded the special prize).
Vienna - The Academy of Fine Arts. International award “Gran Premio Internazionale Genova-Vienna” (he is awarded the eighth special prize).
Nereto - Galleria Gruppo 3. In the catalogue, a text by Aleardo Rubini.
Rome - “Il Camino” Art Gallery. Exhibition of international art.
Bibliography: “Il Tempo d’Abruzzo”, May 20; “Il Mezzogiorno”, September 12; “Il Mezzogiorno”, December 20; “Nuovo Corriere Senese”, October 4; “La Nazione”, December.
Frascati - “Galleria Altair”. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Salvatore Flavio Raiola.
Florence - “Galleria Gonnelli”. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Tommaso Paloscia-Ovar (Portugal).
Museo Civico - International Art Exhibition. (One work remains on permanent display)
Soresina - Cultural Center, Permanent Art Exhibit, City of Soresina. “Second Art Biennial” (he is awarded second place)
Bibliography:“Il Tempo D’Abruzzo”, May 2.
Nereto - June 4, 1977. Francesco Perilli weds Gabriella Stintone. Francesco Perilli and Gabriella Stintone Perilli.
Francavilla - Palazzo Sirena. “Ribalta” (In the forefront) - “Four Abruzzi artists”. Representing the four Provinces of Abruzzi: Giancarlo Brindisi, Stefano Lustri, Giampietro Verna, Francesco Perilli. Perilli represents the Province of Teramo.
Bibliography: “Oggi e Domani”, June; “La Gazzetta di Pescara”, July.
Nereto - He illustrates Tito Rubini’s book “Semi Dispersi” (Scattered Seeds), Unigraf Edizioni.
Nereto - January. His son Daniele is born. Francesco, Daniele and Gabriella Perilli.
Vercelli - Commune of Crescentino “VI World Exhibition of Contemporary Art” – he is awarded the fourth absolute prize.
Nereto - Palazzo Comunale, Sala Allende. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Giuseppe Rosato. He is awarded the gold medal of the Commune of Nereto for artistic merit.
New York - Coliseum. He takes part in “Artexpo”.
Bibliography related to the New York Expo: “Il Progresso Italo Americano-Arte e spettacolo”, May 5.
New York - Coliseum. By invitation, he takes part in “Artexpo”.
Perilli recalls: “[…] In 1983 I had the opportunity to exhibit several of my works at the Coliseum in New York; from there, invited by friends, I visited Toronto […]”.
La Spezia - “3rd Biennial Art Exhibit of the City of La Spezia” (chosen artist).
Toronto - “Columbus Center”. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Giordana Canti.
Toronto - “Columbus Center”. He gives a talk on the topic of “Multiculturalism”.
In Perilli’s words: “[…] I am convinced that interculture, or the intercultural process, is none other than the reception and transmission by and among different cultures. It is born with man, and nourished by communication.
Pluriculture, in turn, is summed up in the coexistence among and by different cultures within a single territory – and the entire planet – though still, as I said, uneducated as to the concept of coexistence.
While Multiculturalism, as far as I’m concerned and as far as what I think it really is, is nothing more than the modern intellectual tendency (call it philosophical way of thinking, if you will) which, in dialogue and mutual respect, is aimed at pursuing the rights and dignity of man, new strategies for peaceful coexistence, not only among cultures but even among different religions, by preserving the identities of everyone, and defending life. That along with aspiring to avoid any form of homologation (that is always lying in wait and never desirable but that, unfortunately, already exists in many respects).
To that end, Multiculturalism, by analyzing the syncretistic derivation of the encounter between different cultures, can be said to be involved in the intercultural phenomenon, leading its assumptions to more advanced conclusions.
Have I not been sufficiently clear?
I will try to explain myself better, saying that Multiculturalism is not only positive, but it is a means of developing interreligious dialogue and peaceful collaboration among men of different ancestries and convictions. And that because its own objective is in fact aimed at overcoming all hatred, both long-standing and nascent. In other words: Multiculturalism is conceived as contrary to every racist attitude and fanatical fundamentalism; it stands against every act of terrorism; it is opposed to any evidence, great or small, of overt struggle between individuals, from violence to conflict to genocide; it is adverse, in short, to any supremacy of one over the other that can lead appallingly, as has sometimes and even recently occurred, to the moral indecency of ethnic purging. Multiculturalism is also contrary – I repeat – to every homologation and egotism, political as well as economic and, in a broad sense, cultural.
Hence it follows, evidently, that those cultural identities which are, in their innermost depths, in opposition to what has been illustrated, are anti-multicultural par excellence, representing, today obviously, the most serious problem, hopefully surmountable through example and dialogue.
These are themes that I have been reflecting upon for almost twenty years and more. I have always thought of Multiculturalism as a kind of human and cultural Renaissance. As a new ethical duty, even, that will lead us all to being nondenominational citizens of the world, thoroughly united in an effort to to construct and merit a new one […]”.
Bibliography related to the New York Artexpo:“Il Progresso Italo Americano - Arte e spettacolo”, Philadelphia April 25.
Rai Corporation of New York, interview by Gianfranco Norelli broadcast in the United States and on Tg1 in Italy.
Toronto - He meets numerous intellectuals and instructors from the University of Toronto with whom he begins to exchange ideas on the subject of Multiculturalism. With them, moreover, he takes part in debates and gives lectures. Finally, he encounters a number of Canadian multiethnic associations.
The National Congress of Italian Canadians commissions from him a “Multiculturalism Medal” to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II of England on the occasion of her visit to Canada.
Back in Italy, he works on numerous sketches for the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”.
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” : Canada. “La Gazzetta Italo Canadese”, November 16.
Interview on M.T.V. of Toronto by Angelo Persichilli. “Toronto Star”, October 1, 1997.
Nereto. He completes the Multiculturalism Monument.
Toronto - The monument “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is inaugurated.
Perilli recalls: “[…] The idea evolved, naturally, through several designs that I was working on in Canada at that time. And since I found myself absorbed in such reflections, it was natural that I would try to imagine a form-emblem that, at the beginning, wasn’t even supposed to be a monument but, more simply, a kind of logo for my paper. In one of the meetings with a Minister – I seem to think he was actually the minister of Multiculturalism – I paused to explain the meaning of that image. It was the Minister himself – assuming I remember well – who suggested to me that I not only put in writing more extensively what I had told him verbally, but that I include one of the designs; he went on to further suggest that I ‘[…] propose it to the Canadian Government as a monument […]’..
Remembering, today, what happened, it would seem that it was all linear and simple. In reality it was not that way.
After many ups and downs, in fact, they actually came to the conclusion that they couldn’t use it. Not indeed because the idea was not appealing and did not find consensus, but because the Canadian Government, speaking through Secretary of State Goldfingher, made me aware that it could not deal directly with an artist, and a guest on top of that. In short, these were matters to be discussed by institutional delegations. However, specifically because it seemed that it would be opportune to realize the idea of a Symbol of Multiculturalism, it was he himself who advised me to formulate a proposal to the Italian Government, within the framework of the cultural exchange agreements between the two countries, signed at the time by Amintore Fanfani.
Which I did as soon as possible. The project, nevertheless, became lost in the ministerial cabinets of Susanna Agnelli. And in Canada, meanwhile, there was a change in Government.
After some time, to my surprise, I received a phone call from a representative of the Italian Community in Toronto, with whom I had also had occasion to speak before my return to Italy. He informed me that the National Congress of Italian Canadians had decided to take on the initiative. It was a conclusion that could not please me more, giving me great enthusiasm. […]
It was that year in which the Congress of Italian Canadians decided to present Toronto with the monument as a gift, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 150th year of the city’s founding. Thus the Italian-Canadian deputy, and chief supporter of the initiative, Laureano Leone, came to Italy to draw up the contract.
While the same Congress commissioned from me a medal, with my multiculturalist Symbol, to be presented as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II of England on the occasion of her visit to Toronto […] I conceived the monument to be cast in bronze, and, stylistically, in a postmodern vein. It represents a man who, at the center of the globe, joins two meridians; while the remaining meridians are held aloft by doves, a peace symbol in themselves. Moreover, the doves are symbolically meant to represent the cultural vitality of the people who, with the man, construct a new world, under the banner of dialogue and mutual respect […] My work, to be sure, was not in support of the postmodern and, furthermore, it was not the only work that I experimentally conceived in such a way. During that period, in fact, I produced several paintings – not many, to be truthful – in which I attributed to the figures fragments of drapery of the classical period. They were compositions that, in any case, were meant to overturn rational contexts by reviving classical details and particulars, that I nevertheless specifically reintroduced in decidedly irrational contexts […]”.
Vatican City - Francesco Perilli was received to illustrate the multicultural project by monseigneur Raffaele Farina of the “Papal Cultural Council”.
Perilli recollects: “[….] I have already indicated how enthusiastic I was when, in 1985, I returned to Canada. Because of this I asked to be received by a representative of the “Papal Cultural Council”.
The Undersecretary of that Council received me, Monseigneur Raffaele Farina, and I showed him designs of my work, as well as illustrating to him my idea – summarized in several written notes – concerning the multicultural theme.
‘When did you conceive the monument?’, he asked me. ‘At the end of the Seventies, beginning of the Eighties. But I think that the concept that the sculpture expresses and embodies has always been in my mind; except that I had never thought of becoming involved with it so directly before’, I answered.
‘Prophetic. This is the philosophy of the Pope’, he said. To round off our talk, some time later he wrote to me that the Papal Council ‘[…] finds the idea of further elaborating and diffusing what you have already expressed in an incisive, effective way, in the esteemed sculpture that constitutes the Monument to “multiculturalism” in the city of Toronto, entirely sound and to be encouraged […]’.”
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” : “Corriere Canadese”, July, front page and p. 5. “Maclean’s”, July. RAI, TG2 1 pm.
Nereto. Perilli establishes the “Center for Studies on Multiculturalism”. He recalls: “[…] I had occasion to present my Symbol to the President of the Republic, Sandro Pertini, to whom I gave one of the sketches.
That same year and still on the crest of optimism, I, along with several intellectuals of Abruzzi, had the idea of establishing a “Center for Multiculturalism Studies”, in which conferences and round tables were organized around this new thematic.
Obviously amid the skepticism of many […]”.
San Benedetto del Tronto - “Galleria Open Art”. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Giorgio Ruggeri.
Roseto degli Abruzzi - Villa comunale gallery. Group show. In the catalogue, a text by Claudia Ricci.
Nereto - The monument “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is inaugurated.
Perilli explains: “[…] Central to the entire compositional axis, the human figure symbolically represents the universality of man. It is not by accident that I imagined such a figure completely deprived of features and hair, in order to avoid any characterization that might identify him with a specific race or ethnic group. Just as the effort that he is making is intended to unite the forces that innervate the world, implying that man’s task is to heal and reunite that which man himself has played such a role in dividing. The sphere as well – in my intentions, at least – expresses the totality of the relationship between man and the globality of nature that accommodates him. The symbolism of the circle – evident in the solar cult of primitive peoples as well as in certain modern religions, in myths as in dreams and in the mandalas of Tibetan monks, from the spherical notions of the early astronomers to the conception of city-planning – represents none other than the essential aspect of life, its overall, definitive globality.
Likewise, the eight meridians, held aloft by eight doves, also have a precise symbolic significance: they indicate, in fact, the four cardinal points, and the intermediary directions present in the compass rose. I wanted to literally signify that all cultures from all over the planet contribute to the edification of the world […]”.
Pescara. He meets Federico Zeri. Perilli recounts: “[…] I had of course read several books and articles of his, and I had also read some articles about him; just as I had happened to hear him in television interviews and certain programs that he did for RAI, that, being interesting and naturally about culture, were broadcast late at night. From what I read and heard, I was led to believe that the results of that postmodern parenthesis of mine might in some way arouse his curiosity.
There was another problem. I didn’t know how to contact him, or where he lived. By accident, one day, I happened to see the news that he would come to Abruzzi to preside over the “Flaiano Award”. It seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. I therefore assembled some photographs of those works of mine, and went to the Award ceremony. When it was over, queuing up with the others, I went up to the stage to greet him. And, though my heart was pounding, I asked him if it would be possible to make an appointment, for a talk. ‘About what?’, he replied, frowning.
I said I was a painter, and in a somewhat different tone Zeri said: ‘Contemporary art does not interest me’. I was quite disappointed and, clutching the photos in my hands, had no choice but to turn away. When I had started off toward home, however, at a certain point I had a sudden thought. When would I ever – I said to myself – happen to have such an occasion again? It was the impetus that made me retrace my steps.
Everyone was already out of the Theatre. A small crowd surrounded Zeri, who was waiting for his driver. I made my way through but, when I was close to the point of shaking his hand once more, I lacked the courage to speak to him again. Nevertheless I had the presence of mind, at that moment, to show the photographs to the person who was accompanying him, who I only later learned was his RAI director.
‘You are with the Professor?’, I asked. ‘Yes, why?’, he replied. ‘I would like to show him these photos’, I said. The man took them, and began to study them carefully. Zeri, who was a step away, said: ‘What is it now?’ ‘Look at these photos’, his friend said to him. Zeri took them and looked at them. ‘Curious, these things,
who are you? … really interesting’, he said to me. Then, handing them back to me: ‘Call me in January, and I’ll come and see them’.
‘He’s not joking, is he?’, I asked his companion. ‘Zeri never jokes about these things; do as he told you and congratulations, because to arouse the curiosity of a man like him with art, and especially in these circumstances, is truly no small thing, believe me’. He gave me the address and telephone number. […] ‘Who’s calling?’, Zeri began, personally answering the phone. ‘Good afternoon, Professor, it’s Perilli’. ‘Perilli who?’, he replied. ‘Professor, we met in Pescara, at the Flaiano Awards; I showed you some photographs of paintings representing classical drapery in irrational contexts… you told me to call you at this time, remember?’ ‘Oh, yes. However, don’t call me at this hour, it disturbs me. Call me back tomorrow around seven in the morning. I will let you know when you can come’.” And so I did. Our acquaintance grew deeper over the years.
And today, for example, it is with gratitude that I recall how he intervened personally in support of my paintings with a number of Italian gallery owners, until I landed in Rome at Carmine Siniscalco’s “Studio S”. Zeri was always very interested in what I did and what I said. And even when I stopped painting in the genre that enabled me to get to know him, his curiosity toward my work did not diminish. ‘[…] I think highly of you as an artist, but I also like your way of thinking […]’, he would say to me. Later, he would also write that he was ‘[…] very pleased about the successful show in Rome, and the other positive events that followed it.
I would say, from all evidence, that you have by now taken off toward national and, I predict, international heights […]’.”
Alba Adriatica. Perilli’s “Monumento ai caduti” (Monument to the Fallen) is inaugurated.
Bologna - Bologna Francesco Perilli meets art critic Giorgio Ruggeri in his studio on Via dei Poeti.
Ascoli Piceno - Sala Mercatori, Palazzo Comunale. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Giorgio Ruggeri, “Oltre l’estetica”, Beyond Aesthetics (dedicated to graphic works).
Ripatransone - Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. Group show of artists from the Abruzzo-Marche. Osvaldo Rossi, curator. The work is on permanent loan to the Pinacoteca.
New York - Artexpo. Edigell Expostions, a division of Edgel Comunications.
Rome - The Symbol of Multiculturalism is chosen as the cover of the book: “La Società Multiculturale in Italia” (The Multicultural Society in Italy), Massimo Girelli, ed., published by the Prime Minister’s Office, Information and Publishing Department, and printed by the State Printing Office.
Bibliography: “La ReRepubblica-Il Venerdì”, May 17; “AdnKronos”, May 28; “Il Centro”, October 16; “Il Centro”, June 4; “Il Messaggero delle Marche”, June 6.
Pratola Peligna - Palazzo Comunale. “Arte Abruzzo”.
Nereto - He organizes the Conference “Problemi Multiculturali tra le due Europe” (Multicultural Problems between the Two Europes), during which he states: “[…] I have commended the work which I have somewhat emphatically called “Multicultural Flag” to Monseigneur Tommaso Mariucci, the speaker who officially represented the Vatican, as well as to Mr. Abba Danna, the speaker on the muslim and African religion from Chad, as well as to every other speaker and authority present […]”.
Rome - “Studio S” Contemporary Art. “L’orrore del vuoto” (The Horror of the Void), one man show. In the catalogue, texts by Carlo Fabrizio Carli and Giorgio Ruggeri. Una lunga storia (A Long Story), 1993, mixed media, 32x24 inches
Parma - He meets Arturo Carlo Quintavalle.
Alexandria, Egypt. Musèe des Beaux-Arts of Alexandria. “XIII Biennial of Alexandria” - Pour les Arts des Pays Mediterranes.
Sulmona - Palazzo dell’Annunziata. He is invited to the “Sulmona Awards”. (Awarded the silver prize). The work is in the permanent collection of the “Museo Civico di Arte Moderna”, the municipal modern art museum.
Cairo - “Akhenaton Centre of the Arts”. One man show “Vernincisioni” (painted engravings). In the catalogue, texts by Carmine Siniscalco and Mhoammed Rezk.
Nereto - Perilli’s “Monumento a Ferdinando Ranalli” (Monument to Ferdinando Ranalli) is inaugurated.
Bologna. “Galleria Ariete”. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Domenico Guzzi.
Rome - “Studio S” Contemporary Art. Invited to the exhibition “Opera Ultima” (Recent Work).
Dusseldorf - Internationaler Justmarkt. “Art Multiple”.
Cologne - Kolon Messe. “International Art Exhibition”.
Bibliography: “La Repubblica Giorno & Notte”, Bologna, April 6; “Il Resto del Carlino”, April 6.
Bologna - “Galleria Ariete”. “Cromatica” (Chromatics). Group show.
Dusseldorf - Internationaler Justmarkt. “Art Multiple”.
Atlanta - “Archer Locke Gallery” - Group exhibition.
New York - “New York’s Outsider Fair”. With the “Archer Locke Gallery” of Atlanta.
Atlanta - One of his paintings is housed permanently in the exhibition space of the “Coca Cola Company”.
Naples - “Galleria Il Diagramma 32”. One man show. “Vertigini e memorie” (Giddiness and Memories). In the catalogue, texts by Carlo Fabrizio Carli and Costanzo Costantini.
Geneva - “Galleria d’Arte”. “L’Arcade Chausse coqs”.
Rome - He illustrates a book by Sante De Pasquale, “Specularità Inversa” (Inverse Specularity), Edizioni Fermenti.
Sarajevo. The monument “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is inaugurated.
Perilli recounts: “[…] In 1997 the Abruzzo Region – and I must emphasize the humanity of all its political forces – approved a provision to finance the monument Symbol of Multiculturalism intended for Sarajevo. Where it was placed in the very heart of that tormented city. On the occasion of the inaugural ceremony – the international press and the Bosnian press gave it ample coverage naturally – at which the major Bosnian authorites were present along with an official delegation from my Region, the Governor of Sarajevo conferred honorary citizenship upon me. […] But as sometimes happens, good intentions come up against unforeseeable and unanticipated facts of reality. You know that, even given all of its symbolic meanings, the centrality of the monument pivots on a figure. Furthermore I have explained the reasons why that figure has no somatic features. It was for these very reasons of universality that I conceived it as nude. Which, if you think about it, could also correspond to the idea of Nuda veritas.
You are equally well aware, however, that Islamic culture does not allow anthropomorphic representation. Just imagine if, besides depicting the image of a man, you add the fact that he has no clothes.
Well. These were the reasons that led a fringe group of fundamentalists to protest vividly and zealously. I was actually accused of “idolatry” (I have newspapers here that are evidence of it).
To begin with that group symbolically covered the sculture’s genitals; it then threatened to tear it down and destroy it. Threats that for a long time led the authorities of Sarajevo to have the monument guarded, night and day, by the police. Meanwhile Paul Watson, in the pages of the “Los Angeles Times”, observed that the Symbol, created with the aim of celebrating tolerance, was paradoxically in danger of reopening old wounds as a result of intolerance. As you may imagine, this was not part of my intent […]”.
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” in Bosnia: “Oslobodene- Ponedjeljak”, July 14; “Dnevni Avaz” “Sarajevski Kanton”, July 15; “Sarajevo, Utorak” , July 15.
“Oslobodenje-Utorak- Sarajevska Hronika”, July 15. Bibliography: “Il Tempo d’Abruzzo”, May 4; “Il Centro” “Aquilone“, August 13.
1998 - Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”: U.S.A: “Los Angeles Times”, December 11; Bosnia: “Oslobodenie - Ponedjak”, September 21; “Sarajevo Wikipedia, the free enciclopedia”, culture.
Bibliography: “Il Messaggero d’Abruzzo”, September 27; “Il Messaggero”, September 27; “Il Centro - Cultura & Società”, September 26; “Il Messaggero d’Abruzzo”, September 28; “La Repubblica delle donne”. Rai Art’è Nazionale feature report by Netta Vespignani-
Rome - “Studio S” Contemporary Art. One man show. “Kouros Kore”. In the catalogue, a text by Domenico Guzzi.
Offida - Museo Civico. One man show. In the catalogue, a text by Plinio Perilli.
Giulianova - Museo dello Splendore, Sala Trevisan. “Tracciati d’Arte in Abruzzo” (Traces of Art in Abruzzo). Carlo Fabrizio Carli, curator.
Ancona - Mole Vanvitelliana. He is invited to the “Marche Awards”. Biennial of Contemporary Art. The work is in the permanent collection of the Ancona Museum of Contemporary Art.
Rome - He illustrates a book by Sante De Pasquale, “Contingente libero” (Free Contingent), Fermenti Editore.
Toronto - July. The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is on the cover of “Ulysses Travel Guide”, 2nd edition. Perilli begins talks with Chinese authorities to install the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” in that country.
Perilli says: “[…] I have always had a strong attraction for three-dimensionality. So much so that even the paintings that I have been doing for the last few years are animated not only by shapes and color, but by depths that actually seem sculpturesque to me […]”.
Bibliography: “Italia”, May 9-10; “Il Centro”, September 28;“ Il Secolo d’Italia”, May 25; “Abruzzo nel Mondo”, April-May; “Archivio”, November.
Rome - Church of Saint Rita. “ARGAM” (Modern Art Galleries Association of Rome).
Cairo - Gazira Art Center Museum. “Paralleli generazioni tecniche e tendenze” (Parallels Technical Generations and Trends). In the catalogue, texts by Carmine Siniscalco and Mhoammed Rezk.
Toronto - The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is on the cover of: “The World within a City”, Urban Capestri.
Sarajevo - Perilli states: “[…] the importance that the Symbol has assumed for that city is confirmed to me by the fact that the Bosnian Encyclopedia has published it as its own cultural emblem […]”.
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”: “Corriere Canadese”, June. “News Italia Press”, December 14. “Al –Aharam- Arts”, Egypt, October 25-31.
Hong Kong. The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is on the cover of: Series Towery- Publishing Inc. (printed in Hong Kong).
Toronto - The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is published in: “Yellow Pages”, Telus Superpages, City of Toronto.
Peking/Beijing - “First Biennial of Modern Art” (chosen, invited artist).
(Due to an epidemic, the exhibition was cancelled, as was the painter’s one man show at the Italian Cultural Institute) Changchun. The monument “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is inaugurated in the Chinese People’s Republic.
Perilli recalls: “[…] As far as China is concerned, it all began in 1999, when I sent a dossier of documents to Mr. Lì Guoquing, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Chinese People’s Republic in Italy. In that situation I ventured to propose the realization of the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” – rather than a monument, which fundamentally it is, I like to continue to call it a symbol – in a representative city of that country, to represent the entire Asian Continent. I requested, and was granted, a meeting in Rome during which Mr. Lì Guoquing expressed to me his own personal interest, and pledged to facilitate the initiative.
After several months a phone call from his Office informed me that the Minister of Culture had also been informed and that, indeed, he had shown a sincere interest in the project, and considered it feasible provided that the proposal were to come to him through institutional channels. […] By this time I knew what steps to take.
I therefore hastened to communicate the news to the Mayor of my city, asking whether the Administration might be willing to support the initiative. To make a long story short… Not only the Commune of Nereto, but the Province of Teramo, the Val Vibrata Union of Communes and the Abruzzese Regional Government also became involved. Thus it happened that in the early months of 2000, the Commune of Nereto received an official communication from the Mayor of the City of Chang Chun, Mister Li Shu, who in the name of and ‘[…] on behalf of the municipal government, that I represent, confirm the recognition of the monument as a symbol of ‘multiculturalism’, a monument that will be created by Francesco Perilli and displayed permanently in Changchun […]’. He furthermore declared himself to be honored to accept the work, all of whose symbolic significances he shared and acknowledged. […]In August 2002, with the sponsorship of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the presence of Chinese and Italian authorities, the third example of the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” was inaugurated, in a very central square of the great city of Changchun.
On that occasion I received a letter from Gianfranco Fini, Vice President of the Council of Ministers, in which, among other things, he wrote that “[…] with the creation of the third replica of the Symbol of Multiculturalism for the city of Chang Chun the realization of your original plan continues to move ahead.
I am very pleased that your initiative continues to meet with interest and success and that soon all the Continents will be ideally united by a work of art with a precise symbolic significance […]”.
Likewise, some time after the inauguration, the Deputy Director of the Changchun Municipal Foreign Affairs Office wrote to me, ‘[…] Your sculpture is found in the center of our city now and for all times. A few days after the inaugural ceremony, our Foreign Minister Tang Jaxuan expressed a very positive opinion of the event […] A well-known newspaper World Affaire Pictorial (under the direction of the Foreign Ministry) published a full-page report of the event, which will be sent throughout the world […]’. And, in fact, I received messages from every nation, among them even Russia […]”.
Milan - The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is published in the book: Piero Angela, “Viaggio nella Scienza” (Scientific Journey), Mondadori.
Milan - The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is published in the book: Richard Dawkins, “L’Arcobaleno della Vita” (original title: Unweaving the Rainbow), introduction by Piero Angela, Oscar Mondadori, 2002.
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”: China: “World Affaire Pictorial”, Journal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese People’s Republic; “Changchun Daili”, front page, October 24; “China Life”, front page, October 24.
Bibliography: “L’ Oracolo”, Pescara, January 1.
San Remo - Villa Ormond. “Immagini e colori del lavoro” (Working Images and Colors). Vincenzo Centorame, curator.
Bibliography: “Abruzzo Italia-International Magazine of Italian Life”, August 27.
St’Art/Strasbourg - Des di Parc, Strasbourg/Wacken - “Foire d’Art contemporain”
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”: “Toronto Life”, September 16. “Toronto Star, Ho Anderson”, April 21.
Bibliography: “Il Centro – Cultura & Società”, April 28; “Il Messaggero”, Cultura & Spettacoli, July 31; “Il Centro”, November 28.
Ghent - Foire d’Art. Internationale “Lineart Gent-Belgium”.
Teramo - The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is inaugurated in the rotunda of Porta Madonna on the occasion of the creation of the twin cities of Teramo-Prague.
Perilli conceives the idea of installing the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” in Jerusalem. He meets with Nemer Hammad, Head of the Palestinian Delegation in Italy.
He recalls: “[…] Just as with Sarajevo, where right in the middle of the war I began to weave my web to bring the idea of modern multicultural thinking to that country, so I attempted, and am attempting, to do in Jerusalem. I therefore had the same proposal sent to the Israel and Palestinian dilpomatic delegations in Italy: to install the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” right there in Jerusalem, precisely on the Israel-Palestinian border.
Mr. Nemer Hammad, Head of the Palestinian Delegation in Italy, wanted to meet with me to learn more and after a long discussion, and before giving me a response, he waited to hear from the National Palestinian Authority. […] This is Nemer Hammad’s letter. ‘[…] In reference to our meeting in Rome on May 17, 2005, you presented to us the idea of installing the Symbol of ‘multiculturalism’ in the place that divides the Palestinian people and the Israeli people.
During the aforementioned meeting we studied the copious documentation related to the installations you have done in various parts of the world. After having carefully read the commendable significance that acceptance of the Symbol involves, text that we fully agree with, and after having heard from the National Palestinian Authority, it is our pleasure to inform you that we enthusiastically support the initiative.
We therefore believe that, if the same support were to come from Israeli authorities as well, such an initiative could help seal a desirable acceleration of the peace process for the good of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, that would affect all the peoples of the Middle East. […]’. As for the Israelis, I am still waiting to hear from them. On that front, however, it is all somewhat more complicated, since the Embassy tells me that not even they know to whom the request and related documentation should be forwarded.
I have been advised, among other things, to address my request directly to the Mayor of Jerusalem. I confess, however, that I have not yet had the time or opportunity to do so. You see, this is a painter’s studio, not a ministry; I don’t have secretaries and, what’s more, I don’t know the languages. Believe me, for me it is very difficult to move all this forward, even though by now I am clearly aware that is is unquestionably important […]”.
Bibliography related to the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”: Kennet Kidd, “Toronto Star”, The City Public Art. Cover Story”, June 26 ; South Africa: East London, “This Week’s Edition”, June 2; East London, “This Week’s Edition”, September 1.
Bibliography: “Goodmorning”, August-September.
Rome-Nereto. Francesco Perilli and Domenico Guzzi publish a book they have co-authored entitled “Che cos’è il Multiculturalismo?” (What is Multiculturalism?), Edizioni Martintype, Martinsicuro.
Guzzi writes in the preface: “[…] I have the impression that it may indeed be necessary to give an explanation about the ‘whys and wherefores’ of this curious publication on the reasons for Multiculturalism (curious especially in that it is the work of a painter and an art critic who apparently should have no reason to). Nevertheless, since Francesco Perilli is a painter and sculptor, I think it would be more useful for these introductory pages to be not an actual commentary on the assumptions of a finished work (that anyone who wishes may read, possibly drawing some benefit from it, even if nothing more than information), but on an interior journey, for the last decade at least, toward an aesthetically creative stance.
While it is necessary – this indeed, anticipating those who may want to point a finger at him, perhaps asserting the extraneity of an artist to problems of such a nature – to state that the pages that follow are not intended to be (although in their own way and a posteriori in any case, they might also end up being considered as such) either a philosophical treatise, or a sociological or any other kind of treatise, conceived on scientific foundations. It is rather an ensemble of deliberations, on quite a broad span of themes (everything which, even in the polemics of the daily paper, is included in existentiality), not certainly without valence for certain problematic aspects, on the part of an artist who, for a long time and yet as an artist, has been formulating, not hypotheses of a speculative nature, but meditations of a “more contained nature on the bond of Multiculturalism”, as he himself would say, not without a certain self-satisfied complacency. Multiculturalism about whose significance, and in extreme synthesis, he says: ‘[…]
as far as I’m concerned and as far as what I think it really is, Multiculturalism is nothing more than the modern intellectual tendency (call it philosophical way of thinking, if you will) which, in dialogue and mutual respect, is aimed at pursuing the rights and dignity of man, new strategies for peaceful coexistence, not only among cultures but even among different religions, by preserving the identities of everyone, and defending life. That along with aspiring to avoid any form of homologation (that is always lying in wait and never desirable but that, unfortunately, already exists in many respects). To that end, Multiculturalism, by analyzing the syncretistic derivation of the encounter between different cultures, can be said to be involved in the intercultural phenomenon, leading its assumptions to more advanced conclusions. […]’
Considerations, moreover, from which a monumental work of his was born at the beginning of the Eighties (testimony to a long, articulated thought process), that, in successive replicas and subsequent times, was installed first in Canada, then in China, Italy and Bosnia, and that, soon, also found a place in South Africa and Australia. Similarly, Perilli has sound reasons to think that there may be one in Jerusalem as well, on the exact border between Palestine and Israel. Disinterestedly dreaming, he goes on to say, ‘[…] it may stand to become an emblem in each of the five Continents […]’.
Multiculturalism on whose principles, in reality – even though many have intervened, and are intervening, to try to clarify its logic, with theses that are often in mutual contradiction – there would seem to be no detailed, much less convergent information, as indicated. And this is the reason (besides wanting to stress the sense of a long interview) for that question mark that follows the title. What would seem certain, above all else, however is that – as Massimo Cacciari wrote recently – Multiculturalism is no less than ‘[…] a destiny. Ours […]’.”
Nereto - He begins the “cycle” of paintings “Fossili ibridi” (Hybrid Fossils).
Bologna - “Galleria Gnaccarini”. One man show. “Fossili ibridi” (Hybrid Fossils). In the catalogue, a text by Domenico Guzzi.
Karlsruhe - Art Karlsruhe - International Trade Fair Modern Art.
Buffalo city (East London) (South Africa). The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is inaugurated in December.
Perilli says: «[…] East London, the city where Nelson Mandela was born. And there’s more. Something I find distinctly moving. My Symbol, in South Africa, has a significant variation: Mandela himself states: “We might have our differences, but we are one people with a common destiny in our rich variety of culture, race and tradition” (Nelson Mandela).
City of Mthartha - A “minimal” version of the “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is in the permanent collection of the “Nelson Mandela National Museum”.
Milan - The “Symbol of Multiculturalism” is published on the cover of the book “Free World: America, Europe and the Surprising Future of the West”, by Timothy Garton Ash.
Random House. Italian edition: Oscar Saggi Mondadori, 2002.
Bibliography: RAI 3 TG Region, documentary interview. Italian News-Daily Dispatch, December 15.
Nereto. He prepares a new cycle of works entitled “Reperti dal Futuro” (Evidence of the Future).
Venice. He meets with Philip Rilands, director of the “Peggy Guggehneim Museum” in Venice, who subsequently sends him this letter: “Your art is strong, original, heartfelt, and I wish you well. The decision to become an artist is terrible and courageous: because each day one’s soul and existence are exposed to the judgment of strangers, who often are thoughtless individuals of unfeeling cruelty toward those who are sensitive. And artists are among the most sensitive. […]
We will examine in detail your material from the catalogues and documents given to us and those that we have in our archives. Please keep me informed of developments regarding your interesting work.”
Martinsicuro. He completes the Obelisk dedicated to the Fallen.
Giulianova. He completes the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”.
Assisi. He completes the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”.
Corropoli. Ancient Abbey
In the presence of the delegations from the Embassies of Canada, Bosnia Herzegovina, the People’s Republic of China and South Africa, Alessandro Dal Lago, Dean of the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Genoa, presents the book “Cos’è il Multiculturalismo?” (What is Multiculturalism?”) by Domenico Guzzi and Francesco Perilli.
L’Aquila. Sixteenth-century Castle. Museo Nazionale d’Arte Moderna.
Anthological show. The exhibition is sponsored by the Abruzzo Regione. In the catalogue, texts by Domenico Guzzi.
Los Angeles. Watts Towers Arts Center - Exhibition of Neutralism’s works.
Los Angeles. Installation of the “Symbol of Multiculturalism”.