DAAR - Sandi Hilal - Alessandro Petti
Towards a decolonization Agency, 2020
A project by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti (DAAR)
Photographic dossier by Luca Capuano
In 1940, the Fascist regime established the Body for the Colonization of the Sicilian Latifundium, following the model of the Body for the Colonization of Libya, and colonial buildings in Eritrea and Ethiopia. These territories were to be reclaimed, modernized and repopulated by the regime, as they were considered empty, underdeveloped and backward. To this end, the Body for the Colonization of the Sicilian Latifundium inaugurated eight villages, which remained unfinished. Today, most of these villages have fallen into ruin. However, what does not seem to be in ruins in Italy is colonial and Fascist rhetoric, culture and politics. Despite the fall of Fascism the de-fascistization of Italy unfortunately remains an unfinished process. This is one of the reasons why Italy has kept buildings, monuments, plaques and toponyms that celebrate the Fascist regime visible. Moreover, Italy – having lost its colonial possessions during the Second World War – has never undertaken a real process of decolonization.
In 2017, the nomination of Asmara, capital of Eritrea, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the Fascist and colonial buildings erected during the Italian occupation posed a series of fundamental questions for both former colonized people and colonizers: who has the right to preserve, reuse and restore Fascist colonial architecture?
The installation presented for the FUORI 2020 Art Quadriennale at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, home of the First International Exhibition of Colonial Art (1931) and other propaganda exhibitions by the regime, proposes a rethinking of the villages built by Fascism in Sicily starting from the nomination of Asmara as World Heritage Site. The installation is the first step towards a Decolonization Agency that will be made up of those who feel the urgency of questioning a vast historical, cultural and political heritage imbued with colonialism and Fascism, and thus begin a common path towards new decolonization and reparation practices.
Research: Emilio Distretti, Husam Abu Salem
Graphic design: Diego Segatto, Rosanna Lama