During the first edition of Caro Giacomo, in 2008, artist Marco Colombaioni, co-founder of Cherimus, decided to display a painting on a wall in a small square of the town, in the spirit of that first edition that invited the artists to propose and install artworks outdoors or in public spaces of Perdaxius. 

At that time, Marco Colombaioni had already taken a series of trips to Nairobi where he had worked and collaborated with artists based there, and was intensively studying Kanga textiles, popular items produced and used in Kenya and Tanzania. Each Kanga has a specific meaning, containing a message, a proverb, or an aphorism.

This painting has the structure of a Kanga, with a large decorative frame and, in the center, a scene with two birds and a hibiscus flower. One bird is flying away, and the other is approaching the flower. In Swahili, the phrase on the painting says: dreams guide us, but we must act. The painting was exhibited for the three days of the town feast. On one of these nights, the painting was vandalized, necessitating a restoration of the piece.

Later, Colombaioni collaborated on a project with sociologist Judith Raymond Mushi, who started the first university course on Swahili language and culture in Milan. The project focused on fighting homophobia through the production of new special Kangas with new messages. Together, Colombaioni and Mushi organized a Kanga Kokomanga Party in January 2011 to raise funds to support the project. They also worked together on a design for a new Kanga with a quote by Pasolini: “L’innocenza è una colpa,” which translates to “Innocence is a fault.”
This fruitful collaboration ended suddenly when Marco Colombaioni passed away in July 2011.

At the end of July of that year, for the Festival of Saint James, Cherimus organized a celebration in honor of Marco in the small square where the painting had been shown a few years before. A 1:1 scale reproduction on paper of his work “Dreams guide us, but we must act” was installed on the same wall where the painting once hung. That evening, visual artist Emiliana Sabiu presented, for the second time, “Twenty Cakes.” In this piece, 20 real cakes and pies made by the community of Perdaxius were displayed on a table with an elegant tablecloth. Artist Samba “Bathie” Tounkara curated the music for the celebration and provided touba coffee to the attendees.

In 2014, for the annual festival of Caro Giacomo, Cherimus decided to make a permanent mosaic version of the painting on that same wall. The mosaic was made using tile samples offered by various retailers in collaboration with visual artists Gemma Noris, Josè Chaves, Scarlett Lingwood, Hamdy Reda, Andrea Rossi, and Carlo Spiga.

ph: Vincenzo Cammarata
ph: Vincenzo Cammarata