arts

'Drowning hands' guerrilla artwork protests Italy's hard line on migrants

Updated 7th February 2019
"The 'drowning hands' installation, placed in front of the town hall in Pescara, Italy.
Credit: courtesy Rete Oltre il Ponte
'Drowning hands' guerrilla artwork protests Italy's hard line on migrants
Written by Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN
A crowd of hands reaching desperately to the sky, like those of people drowning.
This is the striking art installation created in the Italian coastal city of Pescara by a local network of charities and NGOs that work to integrate migrants, in protest at Italy's hardline Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini.
The hands are a reminder of the migrants and refugees who died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The hands are a reminder of the migrants and refugees who died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Credit: courtesy Rete Oltre il Ponte
The drowning hands are a stark reminder of those migrants and refugees who died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, according to Rete Oltre il Ponte, the network behind the installation.
In 2018, an estimated 2,275 people died or went missing while trying to reach Europe's southern shores, according to the UNHCR.
Salvini, who is planning to visit the city Thursday, spearheaded a series of anti-immigration policies since becoming Interior Minister last year. These include refusing to give permission to ships carrying rescued migrants to dock in Italy and a decree abolishing Italy's "humanitarian protection" for migrants who don't meet the country's strict asylum criteria or are waiting for a response to their application, and made it easier to expel them.
The installation was created by Rete Oltre il Ponte, a local network of charities and NGOs.
The installation was created by Rete Oltre il Ponte, a local network of charities and NGOs. Credit: courtesy Rete Oltre il Ponte
Rete Oltre il Ponte told CNN that the artwork, which has been placed without official permission in the city's main square, in front of the town hall, is intended to remind Salvini "that the lives of the people are close to our hearts and we want nobody to die at sea anymore."
This is the second time "drowning hands" have been installed in protest at Salvini. Earlier this week, police removed a similar installation in Atri, in the Abruzzo region, La Repubblica reported.