Petition to save Kentridge mural from Tiber stalls

Rome artists appeal to protect Kentridge mural from being obscured by summer bars and shops.

Leading figures from the Italian art world have signed an online petition to halt the summer-long Estate Romana string of stalls and bars from hiding the freshly-inaugurated William Kentridge frieze along the Tiber banks between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini.

Directed primarily at the governor of the Lazio region, Nicola Zingaretti, the petition requests authorities to rethink the annual initiative which attracts large amounts of Romans and tourists but whose excessive noise levels have caused controversy among local residents in the past.

The petition also takes aim at the administration of Rome's incoming mayor, pending the upcoming election, and asks how city authorities could allow the “paradoxical situation” of Kentridge's mural being “buried by Estate Romana” just weeks after being greeted with such fanfare.

In addition to artists based in nearby Trastevere, the appeal has been signed by celebrated art critic Achile Achille Bonito Oliva, movie directors Daniele Luchetti and Giuseppe Piccioni, the director of the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Silvana Bonfili, artists Giosetta Fioroni and Felice Levini, writers Valeria Viganò and Sandra Petrignani, and French photographer Selen de Condat and French journalist Marcelle Padovani.

The petition has also been signed by Tevereterno, the non-profit association behind Kentridge's monumental project.

Entitled Triumphs and Laments, the 550-m long frieze by the South African artist was created by power-washing through the patina of fungi and pollution on the embankment walls to form silhoutte figures representing three millennia of Roman history.

For further insights into Kentridge's project see feature article.