18.02.2023 — 28.05.2023

Mères d’exil

Jean-Paul Philippe

La Cité Miroir, Liege, Belgium

The Cenotaph boat

This Cenotaph boat was born from a project. The project of a large stone sculpture that I was to create in Italy on the island of Lampedusa. The first gateway to southern Europe.
It was during an exhibition at the “Santa Maria della Scala” Museum in Siena in 2008 that I was asked to create a work using volcanic stone extracted from a nearby island. The Mayor of Lampedusa was to be interested in this project.
On the squares of the mineral hopscotch I also summoned writing. Some writers from the Mediterranean world were invited to come and put down their words to weave and engrave a poem, mixing the different languages and alphabets of the countries bordering the “Mare Nostrum”.
It was impossible for me not to evoke in such a work what was to become a real tragedy and turn this sea into a vast tomb. It was the beginning of a perilous emigration, when the first wooden boats arrived on the island, crashed or never arrived.
Like so many others, this project did not survive the changing political moods… But this Cenotaph boat will never cease to haunt me and to impose itself until it is completed.
A powerless but fraternal gesture, of eyes and hands witnessing this contemporary tragedy.

Jean-Paul Philippe

La Cité Miroir

Place Xavier Neujean, 22
Liège 4000
+32 (0)4 230 70 50