“A Sicilian Mother”
Ragusa, Italy: new murals by Australian artist Guido van Helten commissioned for AVIS Nazionale (Blood Donation Centre) with facilitation by FestiWall.
“The work experiments with the classical iconography of Charity, a reference to the AVIS Ragusa and the highest statistical ranking of blood donation in Europe.
In its classical representation, Charity is depicted in sculpture and painting with a mother nursing a child extended to a foreign presence, a person in need or helping another’s child. The earliest example of this idea in western iconography is the image of the Mother with two children, found in Sicily in the statue of The Goddess Ibla (Dea Ibla) 550BC with later references in the Baroque style seen in Carravaggio, Lorenzo Bartolini, the roman charity story and Peter Paul Rubens of the Flemish tradition.
Sicily has a rich culture of mixed mediterranean influence from Arab to Norman, Greek, Hispanic and Italian. Sicily now faces the humanitarian choice as a first point of refuge for migrants arriving from the African coast. The Sicilian mother ties together the classical with the present day necessity of open handed aid.”
Guido van Helten