Wishing Trees, 2018

Uriel OrlowWishing Trees (2018), video installation
In collaboration with: Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Sede Sicilia, Mutaro Balde, Mamadou Ba, Giuseppe Buttafuoco, Miriam Cossu Sparagano Ferraye, Saibo Fofana, Alieu Jabbi, Costanza La Bruna, Simona Mafai

Section: Garden of Flows

Wishing Trees, on view at Palazzo Butera, brings together three Sicilian trees that hold memories of significant events and people, connecting human histories and nature.
On the outskirts of Palermo stands a cypress planted by St. Benedict, the son of African slaves in Sicily, a cook and the first black saint of the Catholic Church. In the centre of town a giant Ficus Macrophylla towers over the former residence of investigative judge Giovanni Falcone and his wife Francesca Morvillo, who were assassinated by the Mafia in 1992. Further away, at the southeast corner of the island, the remains of an olive tree serve as a diminishing reminder of the WWII armistice that was signed under its shade in September 1943.
Through contemporary stories of conflict, migration and anti-Mafia activism, the roots of these trees reach into the present. Uriel Orlow’s evocative multi-part installation connects the lives of veteran anti-mafia activist Simona Mafai and African migrant cooks in Palermo to the hopes and desires the trees still stand for.