The thermal blankets issued to migrants decorate the gate of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Sanita in Naples | Photo: Project Eldorato
The thermal blankets issued to migrants decorate the gate of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Sanita in Naples | Photo: Project Eldorato

In Naples, the doors of seven Christian churches have become part of an art installation. Artist Giovanni Gara has decorated the doors with the thermal blankets used for migrants rescued at sea. The gold-colored material of the blankets is meant to symbolize the false promise of a land of refuge for migrants.

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.
 

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