When Fra Mauro requested me to work on this staircase in the Danisinni neighbourhood, our thoughts went to the water flowing underground, the one of the Papireto river. The river is thus represented through a mimesis, brought back to life without nostaglia, more like a diving board to take flight and jump into these waters. The mosaics of the Palatine Chapel and of the Hall of King Roger were the inspiration when painting the Arab staircase connecting the Norman Palace to the Zisa Castle. Together we have imagined a sort of satellite bringing us back to that beauty, those mosaics, that care, that marvel. Our wish was to recreate a minuscule fragment of those halos of splendor. It was a hard taks as we painted through a strong heatwave, but we are happy and proud of the result.
I thank painters Nino Carlotta, Daniele Paternostro and Sergio La Barbera as they were much more than mere assistants, contributing with their original ideas to improve and accomplish the initial design. I thank the Danisinni community and Fra Mauro, a man of God, a true Franciscan and a bold visionary. I thank the Dare co-operative society, a key element to this project, who were the arms and hands restoring all those surfaces on which it was impossible for us to intervene, working shoulder to shoulder with us painters. I thank Director Patrizia Monterosso and the Federico II Foundation who produced this work, believing in its value, considering this Arab staircase as part and parcel of the Arab-Norman itinerary. I thank Danilo Alongi who supports me with a clear mind in all my projects. I thank Antonio Macaluso who has been filming the whole process to tell this story with a short movie.