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  2. English
  3. Vatican
  4. Images of black Pope spring up in Rome, an artist's work

Images of black Pope spring up in Rome, an artist's work

'Celestino VI' by Pep Marchegiani appears in various city areas

- ROMA, 04 GEN - An Italian artist has dotted Rome with images of a black pope in his fresh satirical attacks on the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church's ruling bodies.
    "Habemus Papam, nero!" ("We have a black Pope!") is the artistic cry launched in Rome by the innovative work of the artist Pep Marchegiani, who is part of a long tradition of satire against Popes and the Roman curia, with his image of a new African Pope (Celestine VI) over the famous statue of Pasquino, along the Tiber river in front of the Cupolone (St Peter's Dome).
    The image is scattered around in other iconic locations of the eternal city, for example at the feet of the statue of Giordano Bruno in Campo de' Fiori.
    Marchegiani, an artist who is not new to provocative art and to raising discussion around the role of contemporary art, wanted to bring to the heart of Christianity the story of the first African Pope in history. What inspired him was a dream, when then materialized in an effigy, an NFT and a website, E-pray which will sell sacred objects, authorized by the Holy Sea (the label is being registered) related to the figure of the new Pope: Celestine VI.
    "The idea of the performance - recounts the artist- comes from a dream, with the spiritual inheritance of Saint Peter's collected by Celestine VI, the first Pope to come from the area of Dar Gum'a, in Sudan. An African Pope, with a name that is evocative of the famous figure of Celestine V, remembered by Dante, the first Pope to renounce to the Papal seat. After him Pope Ratzinger, recently passed away, was the next to resign.
    Celestine VI, as his ideal predecessor represented by the hermit of the Great Refusal, is a Pope of the poor, a pure, essential Church evocative of its origins.
    The artist returns to Rome where he already held his first performance, by placing a hood over the statues at the Pincio, covering them with black plastic bags, denouncing the capital city's decadence. Pep Marchegiani, class of 1971, comes from Abruzzo. He usually works in the realm of contemporary art and is a fervent supporter of art without masters. In 2021 he signed a painting "Fat young nameless boy, but with a diaper" which became the first NFT in the world. The itinerary of Celestine VI will continue on to other cities.


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