“The dream of a life that takes place in the city that inspired the Cribs painter: Bethlehem”
Inauguration of Tonino Maurizi’s “A thousand times Christmas” exhibition at the Bab idDeir Gallery in Bethlehem
On October 2, in the presence of the Italian Consul General, the Mayor of Bethlehem, the representatives of the Custody of the Holy Land and the artist Tonino Maurizi, the “A thousand times Christmas” exhibition was inaugurated in Bethlehem at the Bab idDeir art gallery. a lively cultural space close to the Basilica of the Nativity.
“The decision to inaugurate an exhibition of paintings that represent the Holy Family and Christmas in October can appear at first glance,” observes Fr. Stéphane, deputy treasurer and head of the Cultural Heritage of the Custody, “In reality, there is a reason he points out: the two October is the eve of the celebrations for Saint Francis that first at Christmas in 1223 at Greccio gave birth to the tradition of the living nativity scene”.
The Tonino Maurizi exhibition, which was hosted for the first time in Jerusalem last December in the Curia of the Saint Saviour Monastery, has found a new location in the Holy Land before leaving for other destinations all over the world. ATS Pro Terra Sancta strongly wanted that this project could reach Bethlehem both to realize a desire of the artist to see his paintings exposed from the place from which he has drawn more inspiration, and to prune for the first time in Bethlehem a religious representation linked to the experience of contemporary art. The author, through the unusual use of shapes, lines and colors, portrays the Birth of Christ in all its facets.
Since 1963, the date of the first work, the passion for this family has never abandoned the author: the many representations of that miracle that occurred in Bethlehem in the grotto, are the project of a whole life in which you can read the artistic path and staff of a man passionate and fascinated by the event. “With this exhibition my greatest dream comes true” Maurizi says: “from the moment I started, I wanted to be able to exhibit my work in Bethlehem. With my works I traveled the world, I was in Bangkok, Korea, Singapore, but being here today with all these people a stone’s throw from the Basilica, fills my heart with joy ”
“The people who contributed to the realization of this project for Bethlehem are passionate people – says Italian Consul General Fabio Sokolovich – This is a land where passion can sometimes become a problem, but it is also a great resource”. The exhibition is indeed a great opportunity for Bethlehem, and the local population responded enthusiastically and attended the inauguration. Maurizi found himself in a short time shaking hands, posing for a photo with visitors, proud of being able to admire the works of an Italian painter so tied to their city. “This is the first time that we host an international artist in our gallery, thanks to the collaboration with ATS we have managed to have an exhibition that tells the most important event for the inhabitants of Bethlehem”, says Rula Dughnan, director of Bab idDeir.
In fact, this exhibition is part of the broader project of ATS to revalue and revitalize the historic center of Bethlehem, which, as recalled by Vincenzo Bellomo, head of ATS in Bethlehem, “is a tool to ensure that the many tourists and pilgrims who come in Bethlehem to venerate the Grotto, they can find a valid and interesting cultural offer throughout the city “. The “Thousand faces of Christmas” is the way to transmit through the art that you find in the place where every day of the year is always Christmas.