«People say Gibellina contains more dissonance than harmony…They’re right, it’s done on purpose. Because what we wanted to create was an open grid. Ten, twenty or forty years aren’t enough to build a town. Building a town takes centuries».
In the centre of Sicily, in the Trapani area, there is one of the largest open air contemporary art museums in the world: Gibellina, a new town full of amazing artworks. It is this unique atmosphere that will host the Gibellina PhotoRoad- International Open Air Photography Festival.
On 14th January 1968 a violent earthquake hit the Belìce Valley, in Western Sicily. Gibellina was knocked down. Aid arrived very late, and the reconstruction also brought a great deal of suffering: the survivors lived in shacks for years. Many people migrated far from Sicily and from its ruins.
After the earthquake the mayor of Gibellina, Ludovico Corrao, a unique and visionary personality, was joined by a group of artists and intellectuals, amongst whom Leonardo Sciascia, in calling for the town to be rebuilt through art. Among the artists who helped were Alberto Burri, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Pietro Consagra, Renato Guttuso, Mario Schifano, Joseph Beuys and Carla Accardi. Thus the extraordinary experiment of Gibellina began. From a natural and human catastrophe. And from the cathartic energy of art and culture.
Nowadays Gibellina is one of the largest open air, contemporary art museums in the world. Alberto Burri’s “Grande Cretto” covers the ruins of the old city and is a huge open air land art masterpiece known worldwide. It was recently completed in 2015, and now reaches 90.000 sq.m. Gibellina Nuova, far 15 kilometers from the old city, is constellated by many important architectural and outdoor sculptural works.