closed Artsupp card What are we fighting for?

The show

Curated by Giuliana Altea, Antonella Camarda, Luca Cheri, Sergio Flore, Alessandro Floris, Elisa Lai, Cinzia Melis, Maria Luisa Pinna, Anna Pirisi, Barbara Puddu, Marta Satta, Carlo Spiga, Debora Tintis, Loretta Ziranu

Chicago, August 1968: on the occasion of the Democratic Convention for the presidential primary, a few months after the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, thousands of young people arrive in the city to demonstrate against the war in Vietnam. To contain the approximately 10,000 demonstrators, the authorities deploy 21,900 police, National Guard and army forces. The ensuing riots are followed across the country through the press, radio and television. Nivola, like millions of Americans, observes the clashes from a distance, remaining deeply disturbed, and entrusts his reactions to a dense series of drawings. The drawings, which reveal the artist's emotional involvement, range from quick sketches to carefully studied and composed scenes. The mediation of photography and video shooting clearly shines through in the shots, which sometimes directly shoot the most incisive images of the revolt. At the same time the strongly expressionist trait deforms the figures, formulating an implicit moral condemnation. The policemen lose all individual character to transform themselves into depersonalized emblems of blind violence; this effect is sometimes emphasized by the replacement of faces with collage fragments. The protesters, on the other hand, are shown as naive flower children, with a non-violent attitude.

The Chicago drawings capture the symbolic significance of the event, which is fixed in the American conscience as an image of the conflict between the idealist generation of baby-boomers and the brutal dullness of the system. The climate of '68 also pushes Nivola to focus on the political and social situation of Sardinia: the year ends on the island with demonstrations by shepherds, workers and students, united against the violence of the State and the inertia of the class manager. The following year the anti-militarist revolt of Pratobello against the establishment of an army training center in the countryside of Orgosolo marks the culmination of the non-violent protest of the citizens. In two posters published by Feltrinelli in 1969, Nivola comments with bitterness both the state repression and the sale of the territory for tourism purposes. It is the prelude to a stronger politicization of his art, which in the seventies will assume traits of independence sardism.

The title of the exhibition, What are we fighting for ?, takes up the lines of Country Joe's Vietnam Song, a song that symbolizes the anti-militarist protest of young Americans of '68. It is a question that the exhibition in turn addresses to visitors, and before that to the young people of 2018, with a series of interviews collected in Orani among the eighteen-year-old organizers of the Festa di San Daniele.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Via Gonare, 2 (Museo Nivola)
08026 Orani


More on the program

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Isidro Ferrer

Until 25 June 2023

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