"With My Own Eyes" Highlights Human Rights and Marginalized Communities

The Holy See Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale aims to refocus our attention on reality, echoing Pope Francis' call to "With My Own Eyes." The Pavilion, set within the Giudecca Women's Prison, emphasizes the transformative power of art in the lives of inmates, highlighting their journey towards embracing universal values. This unique project, unprecedented in the Biennale's history, underscores the significance of directly engaging with the marginalized, fostering a culture of encounter.

Titled "With My Own Eyes," the Pavilion revolves around the theme of human rights and marginalized communities, inviting viewers to see beyond social barriers and recognize shared humanity. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça emphasized the importance of witnessing reality firsthand, echoing Pope Francis' emphasis on the need to confront and reimagine the world around us.

The upcoming visit of Pope Francis to the Pavilion signifies a historic moment, symbolizing the Church's commitment to dialogue with the arts and culture. By choosing the Women's Prison as its venue, the Holy See Pavilion intentionally redirects attention to overlooked spaces, prompting reflection on social, cultural, and spiritual coexistence.

Through artistic expression, inmates are empowered to rebuild their lives, as highlighted by Giovanni Russo from the Italian Ministry of Justice. The involvement of detainees as protagonists in this project not only connects them with universal values but also instills confidence and solidarity.

Furthermore, the Pavilion's location within a former convent, now serving as a prison, adds historical depth to its message of rediscovering dignity. Curators Dr. Racine and Dr. Parisi emphasized the significance of incorporating spontaneous contributions from inmates, enriching the venue with diverse perspectives.

Intesa Sanpaolo's support underscores the importance of integrating art into societal discourse, aligning with the Pavilion's mission to turn our eyes back to reality. This collaborative effort transcends mere philanthropy, reflecting a collective endeavor to promote cultural awareness and social transformation.

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