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Murals of Sardinia: when a protest turns into art

Some consider them art, some others only as means of protest: the murals of Sardinia are, actually, a popular expression able to reach your heart (and remain there) in a split second.
The power of words is accompanied by powerful images, bright colors, and events that shocked the world and remain alive in the memory.

Murals in Sardinia are the voice of a people not used to talking so much, but with keen interest, in observing and remembering.

Their style is varied, techniques are very simple, topics are disparate; they “speak” about politics, social struggle, agro-pastoral traditions, and rebellion against injustice.

Wandering in some small towns of Sardinia (such as Orgosolo, San Sperate, Villamar, San Gavino, and Serramanna) you can easily bump into big murals painted with watercolors and inspired to naive, impressionist or realistic style.

Murals in Orgosolo

In Orgosolo, the best-known village of Barbagia, famous for its Canto a Tenore – the most ancient expression of Sardinian music- and for its attachment to traditions lost in time, you can admire more than 150 murals scattered among the hidden alleys and the town center.

Murales in Orgosolo
Mural depicting Giò Maria Angioy, revolutionary

The first murals appeared in 1969. The author is not an isolated creative, but a collective of anarchic artists, named “Gruppo Diòniso”, led by Giancarlo Celli, from Lucca.

Since then, the walls of the town never stopped talking and inspiring both visitors and citizens to always keep a critical look at reality.

Murals depicting Fabrizio De Andrè, famous Italian singer

Fabrizio De Andrè- Photocredit: Francesca Spagnoletti
A mural commemorating 8th March
A mural commemorating 8th March – Picture from the website www.comune.orgosolo.nu.it

Pinuccio Sciola and the murals in San Sperate

It was in May 1969 when the artistic revolution of San Sperate, the village museum of Pinuccio Sciola, took place.

The self-taught artist, on the wave of the protest of ’68, involves his fellow citizens and transforms the white walls of the houses into impressive paintings.

Thus, San Sperate changes its outer appearance: from a rural village, it turns into an open-air museum, where anyone can give their contribution and everyone can admire life transformed into colors.

Art belongs to everyone and it’s meant both for the locals and the visitors.

Today, hundreds of murals are scattered around the village, which is eternally indebted to the intuition and genius of Pinuccio Sciola, also known as the man who let the stones sing.

Mural painting in San Sperate – Photocredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grego1402/ CCBY 2.5

Murals in San Gavino

San Gavino Monreale is a small rural town nestled in the Campidano flat, famous for the cultivation of the “red gold”: saffron.

Since 2013, the town has started to bloom and anonymous as it was, it has now become an explosion of colors and an ever-expanding art gallery.

Where does this artistic awakening come from? Everything was born spontaneously to commemorate a boy from the village who died prematurely.

Initially, the first mural was painted by Giorgio Casu, aka Jorghe, a local artist who currently lives in New York. He returns to Sardinia every summer and adds a wall painting to the gallery.

Anyway, there are also many other artists, both Sardinian and international, to give voice and color to the soul of this country.

Picture from the Facebook page – Non solo “Murales di San Gavino Monreale Paese di Artisti”

The peculiarity of the (41!) murals lies in their being contemporary and international at the same time; the inspiration is the world, the present day, with strong roots in the Sardinian mural tradition.

Credit for this “colored revolution” goes to Skizzo, an association that, first as a spontaneous group, then as a legal entity since 2017, has been able to involve local artists and citizens.

So, all we have to do is go and see them live, perhaps planning an excursion dedicated to art, to discover small rural towns hitherto excluded from the tourist routes! Are you in?