Palermo Procession
Installation: 4 banners, 2 monitors, 150 portraits, oil on paper
Dimension determined by the space
Installation view at Chiesa SS. Euno e Giuliano, Palermo as part of Manifest12
Photo Francesco Bellina

Palermo Procession
Public performance within the framework of MANIFESTA12, Palermo
Photo by Andrea Samona’

“Art can instigate small changes, when it starts with respect and moderation,” said Marinella Senatore, an Italian artist who assembles public performances based on gestures of protest. On Manifesta’s opening weekend, her “Palermo Procession” saw 300 participants including children, dancers, majorettes, and marginalized groups like prostitutes and mentally ill people, gathering at City Hall.

They marched, sang, and danced behind blind residents of the city that Ms. Senatore chose as parade leaders, snaking through the historical center for four hours, picking up hundreds of Manifesta visitors, tourists and rogue performers along the way. It was joyous and loud and empowering. “At the moment, the biggest issue, politically, is to learn how to stay together,” Ms. Senatore said. “The participants say we changed the city that night.”

The performance and the exhibition as a whole honor Palermo’s multilayered history, its problems and its potential. But they also remind us that coexistence can be celebrated, and needn’t be feared.

by Kimberly Bradley from The New York Times