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Italy’s Acceptance Wall Makes Migrants Feel Welcomed

Launched in 2019, the city of Matera’s Atelier d’Arte Pubblica is one of the few initiatives in Italy using public art to integrate newcomers to the country. For its most ambitious project yet, Barcelona-based street artist Mohamed L’Ghacham joined forces with migrants in three towns in Basilicata, a rugged region in southern Italy, for three consecutive projects over 17 days. The objective was to transform one building in each location with a towering mural. The wall’s bright colours contrasted starkly with tales of the participants’ dark pasts. Nakia*, 17, set off from Egypt aged 10 and spent six years on the road, working in Turkey, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and crossing the border between Croatia and Slovenia in a lorry. Sulayman*, a 15-year-old Gambian, worked in Mali and Niger before moving to Libya.