By Jesper STORGAARD JENSEN
ROM - "Welcome to Shanghai". Thus reads the graffiti on a wall in Rome's Tor Marancia district, in the south of the city, about one and a half kilometers as the crow flies from the Coliseum. Immediately, the combination Shanghai Rome no sense, and the explanation I get first on one of the area's cafes where I fall into conversation with Franco Romani, one of the neighborhood's elderly residents: "In time immemorial consisted Tor Marancia of a grouping of low houses that was near Marana river. during the winter, went often overflowed its banks, and many families suffered under water in their homes. A wit was therefore to name the neighborhood after Shanghai, one of the cities in the world that supposedly most affected of floods. we older residents still call each other 'sciangaini'. it's a quiet neighborhood. or rather it was. for the new murals we constantly visit ... by people from within the city of tourists and of the press "says Romani.
Tor Marancia has never been known for something special. None attractive parks, no fascinating fountains, no special cultural institutions. Nothing. The neighborhood was built in the early 1930s in an area that at the time most of all had the character of rural swamp. Supposedly, the many low buildings beaten up in just two months, and as a fascist party in the period from 1924 to 1932 rev a large number of buildings down in Rome's center to make room for the central Via dei Fori Imperiali, many of the residents who had leave their homes, moved to Tor Marancia. This urban planning carefully, without doubt and botched, however, led to that area only persuade date to hold firm in nearly two decades. In 1948, the neighborhood was so tattered and socially disadvantaged, the authorities simply decided to raze the whole thing to the ground. Instead, it listed a number of apartment buildings, many of which to this day still rented by the Municipality of Rome and occupied by low-income families with municipal subsidies.
Today, some 70 years later, represents the area's 20,000 residents a somewhat mixed anthropological bag - unemployed, middle class with social ambitions, petty bourgeois, a little micro crime in the corners as well as a handful of people under house arrest. And still no attractions. For decades, Tor Marancia lain passport itself in anonymous silence. Right up until last spring, when Welcome to Shanghai graffiti was joined by a Chinese-like mural with the same inscription, performed by the internationally acclaimed Chinese graffiti artist and murmaler Caratoes.But it was not the only one for the entire 21 14-meter-high and ten-meter-wide murkunstværker this spring has seen the light in Tor Marancia. They have been made known, handpicked street artists from France, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal, USA and UK. Together, their works project "Big City Life Tor Marancia", Rome's first open-air museum, open 24 hours a day, year round.
"Tor Marancia could pretty much have lain and passport itself forever. But we chose this area after careful anthropological, økonomsike and urban studies, and I would actually say that this project has been particularly needed to put an end to the area's historical immobility, "says Stefano Antonelli. He calls himself the Urban Curator and holds 999Contemporary - cultural association, cultural gallery and organizer of street art projects.
PROJECT has been under way for eighteen months, and in trying to find the right place in Rome has Antonelli collaboration with three universities - Kiev University faculty for semiology, Chicago University faculty of sociology and Roma Tre University urban planning faculty.
Antonelli points out that street art is very different from graffiti. Usually trying graffiti painters not to please anyone, on the contrary. Murmalerne the other hand, artists who are often out in a byforskønnelsesmission. Thus, also in Tor Marancia, which from the beginning has been conducting a dialogue between the artists and the residents.
"From idea to execution has taken many steps place. First we got the municipality in the project, so we found a private sponsor who has been fundamental. So we started with the selection of the artists who have all performed their art without payment. Each of the selected artists sent three sketches that were shown and discussed with the residents of the selected block where all the wall paintings is total. But street artists have also listened to residents' personal stories and inspired by these. It has obviously increased the residents følelsesmaessige involvement in the project, "says Antonelli.
One of these personal stories have been immortalized by Seth, known French street artist. In his work Il Bambino Redentore (Baby Jesus), is a boy climbed up on a self-drawn ladder and looking towards the horizon. The work recounts the boy Luca, who lived in that property. During a football game at age 14, he was taken ill and died the next day.
Rome førstw open air museum is not only an art project for art's sake, as Stefano Antonelli explains, "Our goal was quite clear that the residents of this area can be described as 'lighter socially deprived', should have some benefits of the project not only in terms of beautification but eventually also economic benefits ".
The optics have the residents now formed Cultural Association Rude, deals exclusively with the new museum. The association sells among other t-shirts with print of the wall paintings, posters and covers for mobile phones, and in the first months sales have been around 15,000 euros per month. Part of these funds are among others used to rehabilitate the area's courtyards.
The project has long resonated far beyond both the quarter and Italy's borders. "The other day I had to guide a group of professors from a university in Paris. They would see three things in Rome: the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums and Tor Marancia. Several travel agencies have now also deployed Tor Marancia in their cultural offerings, and I have also seen that Ryanair and Easy Jet now mentions Tor Marancia in advertisements for their Rome destination, "says Antonelli.
It is estimated that the museum since its official opening in March 2015 had about 40,000 visitors.
The project's last brush stroke has not been made yet. It will take place towards the end of July when the famous Portuguese street artist Vhils and the Italian Eron both contribute two works.