The gold-colored thermal blankets used to warm up migrants who have been rescued at sea have been turned into an installation by the artist Giovanni De Gara. The 'Eldorato' project was launched in Naples, where the blankets will decorate the doors of seven Christian churches.
"The golden doors have become a sign of the times and it is right for gold to shine on welcoming doors," the artist explained, adding that his gold is "not that of carats, the Church's gold is the message of the Gospel: love for the people."
The project's goal is to decorate the doors of St Peter's at the Vatican, he said.
Installations with blankets
The Eldorato project includes a number of installations made with thermal blankets now commonly associated with migrants rescued at sea. The Florentine artist has used the material to decorate the doors of churches and other symbolic locations across Italy to evoke the "golden land" promised, and increasingly denied, to refugees, the artist said.
A flag made with the material will also fly on the Maschio Angioino castle.
'We don't erect wall's', says Naples mayor
The mayor of Naples, Luigi De Magistris, said the city "immediately welcomed the initiative," praising the religious communities that have participated in the project. "Ports, as well as churches, are open in Naples," he said. "We don't erect walls, we are welcoming," he added. "The material encourages us to reflect on what represents gold in life - gold is humanity, dignity, remaining human."
The Waldensian, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches in Naples are supporting the project.