The Museum of Cultures of Milan opens to the public starting from Friday 13 May 2022 the anthropological exhibition “ La Voce delle Ombre. African presences in the art of northern Italy ” , one of the first exhibitions in Italy on the subject.
The exhibition, curated by the scientific staff of Mudec , investigates the ways of the artistic representation of men and women originating from the African continent in northern Italy between the 16th and 19th centuries , and is part of the broader research project begun with the rearrangement of the permanent collection of the museum.
The exhibition is configured as a first attempt to identify different ways of depicting the other, revealing canons and clichés of this type of images and trying to give these figures an identity through the recovery of their human events and the role they played in the society of the time. Through the exhibition of works of various kinds, coming from important public and private institutions, it will therefore be possible to reflect on the perception and representation of otherness , distinguishing historical characters from mythical ones, stereotypes from real people.
By combining the documentary evidence , also consisting of the works themselves present in the exhibition, with the studies of the scientific committee (widely documented in the catalog published by Silvana Editoriale) it was possible to understand the variability of the occasions in which people of African origin arrived in Northern Italy - in prevalence through the Mediterranean route - and with purposes - mostly domestic servitude - also linked to extra-economic reasons and social prestige.
The exhibition itinerary is located in the Focus Rooms of the museum and unfolds in sections , focusing on the different ways of representing black people.
The exhibition (curated by the Origoni Steiner studio) is configured through an evocative black / white chromatic dualism and minimal graphic elements, which help to underline the weight of the black figures within each work, accompanying the visitor in reading the works on display.