Italy’s Homage to One of the most Shocking African Migrant Tragedies

The 90ft fishing boat sank on the night of 18 April 2015 between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa, after it collided with a vessel that had responded to its distress call in which between 700 and 1,100 people perished. There were only 28 survivors. The people on board were mostly trapped in the hold as the boat capsized. The boat has been brought to Venice to provide a sombre reminder of those events in a project masterminded by the Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel. The idea had come while visiting a grassroots community association in Palermo, during 2017’s Manifesta art project in the city. But the reality of bringing the vessel to Venice proved more complex than anyone had imagined.  The tragedy caused the then Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, to compare the situation for migrants trying to reach Europe to the killing of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica during the Balkans conflict.


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