The Sea according to 20th century and contemporary artists in an exhibition in Modica

Ongoing in Modica, until Nov. 3, is the exhibition "BLUE SICILY. The Sea in Island Art from the Twentieth Century to the Contemporary" with the intention of telling the story of the island's sea and the intertwining of themes that involve it.

Ongoing in Modica, in the spaces of the Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso, until November 3 is the exhibition BLUE SICILY. The Sea in Island Art from the Twentieth Century to the Contemporary, with the intention of telling, through a selection of works by important artists not only Sicilian, the island sea and the intertwining of themes that involve it. “The sea,” says the president of the Sicilian cultural association Sikarte, Graziana Papale, which is organizing the exhibition, “is one of the most important distinguishing traits of Sicily: the sea as the identity of those who are born on the island, but also as the engaging presence of those who live there for long or short periods. Sikarte has produced this exhibition with the intention of telling, through a thematic and scientific journey of works by 53 artists not only from Sicily, how the sea of Sicily may have inspired artistic research since the early decades of the 20th century and continues to do so today. Blu Sicilia reconfirms Sikarte’s presence in Modica, this year in the spaces of the Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso. Thus, the search for unique places and the need to make them accessible to the public is renewed. The synergy created with the Municipality of Modica and the Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso, is making possible the cultural accessibility of architecturally distinctive historical spaces, evidence of a city of art such as Modica that is a Unesco heritage site.”

The project is divided into two sections: the first curated by Giuliana Fiori covers the time span up to the first half of the twentieth century; the second curated by Chiara Canali focuses on the second half of the twentieth century up to contemporary times. “The exhibition is proposed,” says Giuliana Fiori, "as an accomplished documentation of how often the island’s sea has been the protagonist of great works of art, focusing on the 20th and 21st centuries. Painting, sculpture, photography and installations by renowned artists, some of them historicized as Fausto Pirandello, Renato Guttuso, Bruno Caruso, Piero Guccione, in fact, will contribute to a closer understanding of the emotions that the Sicilian sea can give and reveal how it can fill the memory of indelible memories."

Thus, an exhibition itinerary capable of offering a broad panorama on the theme of the Sicilian sea, in its various facets, both cultural and social. Many themes are interwoven in the exhibition path, because there are several aspects that the chosen artists have interpreted and denounced in their artistic investigations: the beauty and poetry of places, history and myth, light and colors, tradition, fishermen and sailors, and social and environmental issues.

“The sea,” Chiara Canali recalls, “often returns in legends, cults and myths, especially those related to Sicily’s bursting Mediterranean nature. The sea also returns in more recent stories, those of the writers, filmmakers and artists who have recounted this land of many faces and plurality of landscapes. The artists in the exhibition have elected Blue as the emblem of Sicily, its sea and its traditions and memories.”

A selection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations will show how the Sea of Sicily, universally recognized as an element of the island’s identity beauty, may have inspired so many artists since the early decades of the 20th century, and continues to do so today while also touching on issues of strong social and environmental impact.

“The Sea,” declares Maria Monisteri, Mayor of the City of Modica, "the endless blue expanse that merges on the horizon with the blue of the sky, is a distinctive moment in everyone’s life and ours. Traits of us people of the South, living from this and in this strip of the World and breathing of its sea. Characteristic cipher of our daily essence and that this exhibition, tells through works that enhance its beauty with the color that distinguishes it. The sea and its People; the sea and its Blue. In welcoming the exhibition and welcoming back Sikarte, I am happy to fill my eyes and those of the many who will visit this exhibition, diving sensations into the beauty of our sea, the heart and symbol of our Land."

The exhibition is housed at the headquarters of the Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso, which is located in the lower levels of Modica’s Palazzo della Cultura, a 17th-century building and Monastery of the Benedictine Sisters until 1860, in its interiors in addition to a part of the Benedictine cloister, stone confessionals unearthed during restoration work are visible.

“Welcoming as president of the Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso di Modica since 1881,” says Giorgio Solarino, "is truly exciting. Hosting Blue Sicily. The Sea in Island Art from the Twentieth Century to the Contemporary will be a fascinating experience. The exhibition celebrating the important connection of art with the majestic sea that surrounds our beloved island.

The presence of prominent authors gives this exhibition an aura of prestige and promises to greatly enrich the cultural offerings of our city. With pride, we open our halls to Sikarte cultural association, which with scrupulous care and passionate commitment will take care of the event. We are confident that it will be an unforgettable experience that will highlight the cultural centrality of our historic reality."

The project enjoys the patronage of the Municipality of Modica,ARS (Sicilian Regional Assembly), Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso and MUSEUM Observatory of Contemporary Art in Sicily. We also thank the sponsors who made the project possible: Coop - Gruppo Radenza, Sotto San Pietro, Lo Magno Arte Contemporanea, Salomone Assicurazioni, Cappero Bistrot, SikaniaWood.

Artists in the exhibition


Pippo Rizzo (1897 - 1964); Fausto Pirandello (1899 - 1975); Giuseppe Migneco (1903 - 1997); Francesco Ranno (1907 - 1986); Lia Pasqualino Noto (1909 - 1998); Renato Guttuso (1911 - 1987); Saro Mirabella (1914 - 1972); Nicola Scafidi (1925 - 2004); Mimmo Pintacuda (1927 - 2013); Bruno Caruso (1927 2018); Franco Sarnari (1933 - 2022); Mario Schifano (1934 - 1998); Piero Guccione (1935 - 2018); Tano Festa (1938 -1988); Vincenzo Nucci (1941 - 2015); Dina Viglianisi (1941); Maurilio Catalano (1942 - 2022); Ferdinando Scianna (1943); Mimmo Germanà (1944 - 1992); Michele Cossyro (1944); Giovanni Chiaramonte (1948 - 2023); Sebastiano Messina (1951); Giuseppe Modica (1953); Giovanni La Cognata (1954).


Giovanna Brogna Sonnino (1955); Sebastiano Favitta (1957); Luigi Nifosì (1958); Sandro Scalia (1959); Carmelo Bongiorno (1960); Carmelo Nicosia (1960); Angelo Zzaven (1961); Giovanna Lentini (1962); Franco Ferro (1964); Francesco Lauretta (1964); Giuseppe Puglisi (1965); Antonio Parrinello (1964); Gianni Mania (1967); Piero Zuccaro (1967); Pucci Scafidi (1969); Daniela Balsamo (1970); Andrea Di Marco (1970 - 2012); Giovanni Iudice (1970); Giuseppe Colombo (1971); Cesare Inzerillo (1971); Elio Cassarà (1974); Ignazio Cusimano Schifano (1975); Alice Valenti (1976); Giacomo Rizzo (1977); Elena Mocchetti (1978); Linda Randazzo (1979); Sebastiano Raimondo (1981); Emanuele Giuffrida (1982); Valentina Brancaforte (1983).

For all information, you can call +39 334 199 9072, send an email to or visit Sikarte’s official website.

Pictured: Daniela Balsamo, The Abyss (2024; oil on canvas, 120 x 95 cm).

The Sea according to 20th century and contemporary artists in an exhibition in Modica
The Sea according to 20th century and contemporary artists in an exhibition in Modica

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