The Paladins Revived in the Children’s Hospital

The project ‘La rinascita dei Palladini’, the artistic remodelling of the entrance hall and passageways of the Children’s hospital G. Di Cristina, achieved with the fundamental support of Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale, was presented on the 25th of November 2019 in the presence of the Chairman of Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale, Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele Ambassador to Palermo CulturE nel Mondo, the General Director of ARNAS Roberto Colletti, the Director of U.O.C. Staff Salvatore Caronia and doctor Maria Lucia Furnari.The catalogue of the exhibition of artworks by Ida Saitta, curated by professor Giuseppe Ussani d’Escobar, was also presented.

On the occasion, the new staging of the permanent exhibition in the Children’s hospital G. Di Cristina was formally opened, and the ceremony for the donation of seventeen works by the artist Ida Saitta was held.  The project was  created through a partnership between ARNAS Civico Di Cristina Benefratelli and Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale, which has always been engaged in the fields of Health, Scientific Research, Welfare, Education, Art and Culture, and in the first six months has contributed to the improvement of the reception of the children and their parents by creating a more comfortable environment, nursing areas (lacking to date) and supporting promotional material.

The project enjoyed the patronage of the City of Palermo – Department of Culture.

The catalogue ‘La Rinascita dei Paladini’ contains institutional and curatorial texts, replicas of preparatory drawings and artworks on wood, which during an onsite workshop held in August were replicated on fireproof material and object of the artist’s intervention.

Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele, who requested the project, declared, “I am delighted to personally present this project that aims to make the hospital environments more comfortable and pleasant.  Indeed this has always been my primary objective, so much so that I have already met it in Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.  I am certain that in Palermo the ‘Sicilian Paladin’s heroic and chivalrous message and bright colours will bring comfort and cheer to the hospital’s young patients and their families.  The artist’s strong tie to the history of Sicily and the Mediterranean region is tangible in Ida Saitta’s poetics.  The Paladins and Puppets are the expression of the epic sprit which, from the medieval Chanson de geste to the great poems by Boiardo and Ariosto, inspired entire literary, musical, figurative and, in particular, puppet theatre traditions.

Saitta’s works, characterised by the typical colours of the Sicilian Cart and her original distinguishing mark, recount with great stylistic knowledge the working class’s reading grid of reality in the Sicilian imaginary between the ninetieth and twentieth centuries, a reference model for everyday actions and behaviour: ‘i Palladini armati (the armed Paladins)’.  This is why the project I strongly desired to implement in a children’s healthcare facility of excellence in Palermo is a feast for the eyes as well as a real historical-anthropological document of the traditional Sicilian culture.”

This ambitious refurbishment project, coordinated by the Associazione Mediterraneum, specifically by Stefania Giacchino and Roberta Navarra, has been specially designed for the Children’s Hospital and aims to build a large infrastructure with the contribution of the language of art and contemporaneity in accordance with the connection to the history of the city, in a place at the edge of the Arab-Norman itinerary.

The entrance hall and several nursing areas have been arranged.  Such areas, spread between the ground and the third floors, are furnished and artistically finished with works belonging to Ida Saitta’s Paladins cycle.  The artist’s works follow one another in the exhibition, which becomes kind of story where each work represents a journey in which the linearity of her brushstrokes blends with the richness of the forms, media and colours of the traditional Sicilian puppet show.  The stories are mixed with legends where Love and Good always triumph over evil.