The four-year transdisciplinary project that denounces the island's problems and contradictions was inaugurated on June 21 in Favara. A review to trigger change

On June 21st, "We have everything, we lack the rest!" was inaugurated, the four-year transdisciplinary project of Farm Cultural Park dedicated to Sicily, an exhibition spread across time and space that starts from Favara and crosses Mazzarino, the countryside of Butera, Catania, Aragona and Gela.

A maxi event that involves about fifty artists, photographers, architects, designers, set designers, video makers, social entrepreneurs, quantum physicists and Sicilian jurists. An opportunity for denunciation and political reflection on Sicily, to shed light on the contradictions and problems of the island, such as the flight of young people, migratory flows and reception, unfinished works, obtuse bureaucracy, climate change, stereotypes linked to the mafia, the devastating Sicilian beauty and the sense of incompleteness and decline that local inhabitants have been experiencing for decades.

An exhibition that aims to trigger change, with concrete initiatives, many of which have already been activated on a national scale.

Andrea Bartoli, who in 2010 with his wife Florinda Saieva from Paris returned to Favara and created Farm Cultural Park, talks about the event and how a forgotten territory can be redeemed by leveraging culture.

How did this mega quadrennial event come about?

Andrea Bartoli, of Farm Cultural Park: “It was born from the desire to deal with Sicily, with a call for local artists. In recent years we have carried out many initiatives but never totally focused on the island.

The phrase that gives the title to the project is a quote from Pino Caruso, an actor and writer from Palermo, who, speaking of Sicily, said: “We have everything, all we need is the rest”, a bit like the manifesto of our region, which is overflowing with beauty, history, culture, humanity, hospitality, but where there is always something that doesn’t work and leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

The event is not intended to be a retrospective of the Sicilian artistic panorama, but an opportunity to denounce the problems and contradictions of our territory and activate change.

With art we try to question, to have a positive impact on the community not only from a cultural point of view, but also from a social, economic and legal one, by staging transversal themes, art and law, artificial intelligence and the mafia, ecology and feminism”.

Let's start with the title: "We have everything, we lack the rest!" What is the everything that Sicily has, and what is the rest that is missing?

Andrea Bartoli, of Farm Cultural Park: "We ask the artists involved. Sicily is full of energy: for example, in Catania the Isola collective, which is involved in our project, has transformed Palazzo Biscari, a wonderful Unesco heritage site, into an incubation hub, which has become a bit static and obsolete.

Sicily has an energy that however clashes with slow and obtuse administrations and institutions, far from the future and virtuous processes.

In the communication project of “We have everything, the rest is missing”, by Lorenzo Romano and Azzurra Messina, we are portrayed as surreal figures, a bit extraterrestrial, beautiful and ugly at the same time, everything and the rest that is missing, an open reflection on Sicilians”.

How do the artists involved interpret the contradictions of Sicily?

Andrea Bartoli, of Farm Cultural Park: Loredana Longo proposes a wall pierced by bullets depicting the word “victory”, to underline the price to pay for a victory, that is, destruction, suffering and rubble, a representation of the current era that, ultimately, also speaks of Sicily.

Born from urgency, and from the fact that every year about 20 thousand young people leave the island, Marea, the social design project of the entrepreneur Antonio Perdichizzi which aims to create a fund for Sicilians who want to do business in Sicily.

Vlady, a Sicilian artist based in Sweden, has toured the island by bike and gives us back his everything, and that rest that is missing, through a documentary film that tells the story of the less traveled Sicily through the eyes and words of its inhabitants; while the students and professors of architecture from Los Angeles, and about twenty European directors plus two Colombian film makers, guests in Favara, give us a narration of our territory seen from the outside”.

The topics addressed also included migratory flows and reception, obtuse bureaucracy, stereotypes linked to the mafia.

Andrea Bartoli, of Farm Cultural Park: “We cultural operators have the duty to leave our comfort zone and put creativity at the service of society. On June 21, we set up Transition for, a transdisciplinary collective that aims to promote social design projects to rethink places, policies and reception practices.

With Farm Cultural Park in 2023 we signed a two-year agreement with the prefecture of Agrigento to improve the city's immigration office and the hotspot of Porto Empedocle, we have already completed the intervention of the artist Salvo Ligama, now we are launching the call to select seven more artists.

The artist Nuuco proposes an experiential work that recreates the same feeling of anguish that one feels when faced with obtuse bureaucracy, and that makes one reflect on our unhealthy relationship with the institutions in this region.

Instead, the duo formed by the Sicilian set designer Giuseppe Accardo and the Belgian filmmaker Jérémy Depuydt participates with the film Pina, a revisitation of the myth of Proserpina set in the early twentieth century, a story of today's mafia that goes beyond stereotypes, a mafia that is not only the criminal organization, but anyone through malice, fault, negligence or incompetence who prevents the development of our island, even the bureaucracy that asks you for a bribe to give you a permit is mafia”.

In mostra una cinquantina di artisti, designer, architetti, scenografi, videomaker, imprenditori sociali, fisici quantistici e giuristi.

“Per la prima volta tutti nomi siciliani, più oltre 150 tra registi, studenti e docenti internazionali ospitati. Nel 2025 la mostra atterra ad Agrigento, capitale della cultura italiana, e tra quattro anni puntiamo a coinvolgere altri territori siciliani, per impattare su più luoghi e creare un circuito sempre più esteso che attiri visitatori da tutto il mondo”.

Among the protagonists is also Fosbury Architecture, the collective curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2023 Architecture Biennale.

Andrea Bartoli, of Farm Cultural Park: “In Aragona there is an auditorium that was started over thirty years ago and never finished. On June 21st we will reopen the design site with Fosbury Architecture, Alterazioni Video and Analogique, involving the Aragonese, the administration, associations, schools, local artists, to rethink the place together and activate it. With the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the University of Palermo we are studying a bill on a national scale for the unfinished public works in Italy, which are more than a thousand, and are not the subject of political discussion. An exhibition like “We have everything, the rest is missing” becomes a device to concretely change something".

In 2010, with his wife Florinda Saieva, he returned to Favara from Paris and created Farm Cultural Park to regenerate the area by leveraging culture. What is the assessment, 14 years later?

Andrea Bartoli: “Farminvolved the community, attracted an international audience in areas far from tourist routes, an individual dream of Florinda and Andrea that became a collective dream. It is a self-financed project, a challenge that we face with few means and many ideas and collaborations. Favara is currently in a great crisis, cities are living organisms with variables that escape our control, for example, for the rebirth of the historic center, totally destroyed, we need the intervention of the State, a cultural organization can reach up to a to a certain extent but it cannot work miracles. Today there is a happy situation, with the presence of Filippo Romano, an enlightened prefect of Agrigento who is attentive to Favara and the territory”.

How do you make forgotten places attractive with culture?

“We did it by word of mouth, making our guests feel good, creating stimulating and international moments of discussion. The issue of smaller and rural cities is not just about Southern Italy, but is of global interest. We have become the subject of study by urban planners, researchers, architects and international universities because Farm is one of the longest-running examples of bottom-up cultural urban regeneration, in a condition of captivity, a totally self-financed project, everything we earn from our work - I am a notary, my wife is a lawyer - we pour it into this utopia of ours, because we believe it is important to give back to society. There is a great need for commitment in a dimension of subsidiarity, of replacement of the public entity by private individuals, and of addressing problems with creativity. This is why we are imagining the collective Transition for on a national scale, because much more creativity is needed in institutions and administrations, we need artists in power”. The event "We have everything, the rest is missing" is supported by Dolciaria Di Stefano.