The Great Archipelago, an Art Exhibition

Ubud Rebirth Forum is dedicated to the theme of “Sustainability through Differences”. I thought of the work “Mediterranean Table – The Great Archipelago” to represent this theme, chosen for the Forum by Bali’s Rebirth / Third Paradise Embassy, through H.E. Vittorio Sandalli, the Ambassador of Italy in Jakarta, Michela Magri, the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, together with the artist and curator they introduced to us, Marco Cassani, founder of kayu Lucie Fontaine. The table represents the big archipelago that includes the island of Bali.

A single sea basin washes the coasts of countries widely differing in history, culture, economy. It therefore constitutes a space embracing differences. On the lands surrounding these waters, nature itself relies on its own diversity. Biodiversity is a vital asset for forests as well as for our farmed fields. The same s true for human societies. Resilience and innovation are directly linked to cultural diversity. In preserving and protecting diversity, the Great Archipelago represents a strategic source for the socio-economic development of this area of our planet.

At the beginning of the 2000s Cittadellarte launched the Artistic Movement for an Inter-Mediterranean Politics “Love Difference”. Presented at the 2003 Venice Biennale, the mirror Mediterranean Table, surrounded by chairs coming from the countries bordering that sea, was already a Forum itself, even if at the time still ideal, extended to all those countries.

In regard to the Rebirth Forum in Bali, we think that the archipelago extending between Indonesia and the Asian continent could be considered like a Mediterranean, in its original meaning of “in the middle of land”. There is a parallel to be made with Havana in Cuba, where in 2015 we started the Demopractic programme, the capital of a country embracing the Caribbean Sea and from where the work across the different South American capitals has developed, part of which I am about to embark on in fortuitous conjunction with Ubud’s Rebirth Forum.

In the course of this Indonesian Rebirth Forum, the table “Great Archipelago”, physically and metaphorically at the centre of the proceedings, will be placed in connection with all the world countries touched by the seas with different names but part of the same body of water which has made life of this planet possible and which we should all urgently learn to take care of for our own survival. The work that will be carried out locally in Ubud therefore represents a commitment of global reach, which already puts in motion the whole archipelago: it is the beginning of a potential development to include, in its strive for sustainability, local and national bodies and to expand to an international dimension. In Ubud, in fact, what brings together the participating big or small organizations are the activities they dedicate to the achievement of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability, at any level, from nature (the first paradise) to any sector of production created by mankind (industry, technology, science, culture and politics, the second paradise, the artificial one), cannot be attained or progress without a precise and consistent connection among all aspects of our life and cohabitation on the planet (the Third Paradise). This connection occurs through a balance between differences, the same we find between world countries and local organizations. Love difference is herefore the motto accompanying the theme of this first Rebirth Forum in Ubud, Sustainability through differences.

Michelangelo Pistoletto,



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