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Objects of immigrants: photos of the things they brought with them

Shoes, kitchen utensils, coins, a compass, a package of couscous, a life jacket, a Bible and a Koran. These are some of the objects immigrants brought to confront their voyage in the Mediterranean and left on the vessels that brought them, in years past, to the coast of Lampedusa. Memories and symbols of today's great migration which the non profit group Askavusa started to collect in 2009 to create a "Memory Place." They called it Il Porto M. Porto in Italian can mean port, harbor, haven and refuge. M is for migraton, memory, Mediterranean, museum, said Giacomo Sferlazzo, an artist among the curators of the exposition space and who has made works of art with a few objects found on the vessels of the immigrants. " To recuperate these important tokens or proofs, we went to the dumps, where the sea craft waited to be destroyed with all that they contained. Now, after years of waiting, PortoM finally has a definite place in which to show to visitors the more than 700 pieces of history they collected. Inside a stone grotto, in that which once was a shelter for the island's fishermen, are kept the shoes, music cassettes, photographs, letters, diaries and journal pages. "But a few of the works have yet to be finished," continued Sferlazzo -- from the maintenance of the structure to the shelving of the multilingual library dedicated to migration and colonialism. For this we have launched a crowdfunding campaign: www. askavusa. com/support. "We have refused government support and move forward only with the support of the people and other non profits. With the donated funds we will be able to complete te book collection and the creation of information posters on the history of the migrations of peoples." PortoM is open every morning and its objects continue to migrate, going to different European capitals for temporary shows. Story by Grazia La Paglia.
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