The 12th Day of Contemporary Art, the great event organized annually by AMACI to bring the art of our era to the general public will be held on Saturday, 15 October 2016.

For this 12th year, the directors of our 24 member museums have turned to Emilio Isgrò for the guide image, continuing the project started in 2006 of asking an internationally renowned Italian artist to create the image for the event. Isgrò follows Michelangelo Pistoletto (2006), Maurizio Cattelan (2007), Paola Pivi (2008), Luigi Ontani (2009), Stefano Arienti (2010), Giulio Paolini (2011), Francesco Vezzoli (2012), Marzia Migliora (2013), Adrian Paci (2014) and Alfredo Pirri (2015).

Prayer for Europe, the image specially created by the artist for the Day of Contemporary Art, shows an erased Europe that extends its boundaries outside the European Union to embrace the countries lining the Mediterranean. Executed in March 2016, before the recent referendum confirming Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the image is a reflection on the divisions – geographical, political, cultural – that now, more than ever, fuel the nationalistic sentiments and drives that history hoped to have erased. Isgrò explains, “My Prayer for Europe is not about suggesting fear and dismay over Europe, but instead to offer the chance for engagement with those who, on every coast of the Mediterranean, ask the land of three monotheistic religions to place its ‘human face’ over the horrible mask of a world too conditioned by war and conflict. No one can deceive themselves that art alone can change the universe, but it is certainly up to artists and ants, meaning the most fragile creatures, to express the dark force that can change despair into hope. This is why art must be free from ideological and market-based conditioning: to reacquire the credibility lost in the eyes of those who are truly needy …. It is when we start to pray together – artists and ants, religious, miscreants and laypeople – that prayer finally becomes effective. And the heavens are moved.”

This is a reflection on divisions and the need to rediscover the sense of inclusion from deep within us, that ability to feel united and form a common front that will allow us to build rather than destroy, and to be stronger in the face of difficulty.

From 29 June to 25 September, Isgrò will also be the key figure in a major anthological exhibition staged in Milan simultaneously at three venues, curated by Marco Bazzini, promoted by the City of Milan | Culture and inspired by the Archivio Emilio Isgrò. At the Palazzo Reale there will be a selection of historical works with over 200 pieces, between erased books, paintings and installations; the Gallerie d’Italia will preview the famous painting of Alessandro Manzoni by Francesco Hayez and erased with white; at the Casa del Manzoni the artist will be present with another new work: The Betrothed Erased for Twenty-five Readers and Ten Plague Victims.

Now in its twelfth year, once again the Day of Contemporary Art will open the doors of 24 AMACI museums free of charge, along with about a thousand institutions throughout Italy to present artists and new ideas through exhibitions, workshops, events and conferences. This is a multiform programme that, year after year, has given the general public an opportunity to experience from up close the complex and lively world of contemporary art, making the event organized by AMACI the annual appointment that officially opens the art season in Italy.