The Installation

What happens to the dead? The writer Heidrun Hannusch was raising that question in light of ever more and smaller printed news coverage about refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, we embarked on a long research and a journey to more than two dozen Sicilian cemeteries; to the true memorials of a great tragedy of recent human history; to the graves of those refugees who died while fleeing poverty and war.

It makes a big difference whether we read the numbers or whether we physically stand at their graves. Looking at the pictures of those who had once set off with great hopes for a bright future that they knew they would never be able to find in their home countries. Or seeing that, at the end of life, all that remains is a number. Many dead refugees will never be identified. Their tombstones read nothing but a registry number or the word “unknown”. That some refugee burial grounds resemble those of nameless soldiers who died in past wars is not incidental. Long rows of always identical tombstones, identical grave ledgers, identical inscriptions. They are the contemporary war graves.

The photographers Carsten Sander and Oliver Killig took pictures of Sicilian refugee graves. Carsten Sander proposed to have the pictures printed on floor mats and to arrange them like an imaginary  cemetery. Initially, this “cemetery” was presented on Dresden’s central „Theaterplatz“ in February 2017.

The art installation „Lampedusa 361“ and the photographs were developed as a project of and commissioned by the organization „Friends of Dresden Deutschland“ prior to the Peace Price „Dresden Price“ 2017  being awarded to Domenico Lucano (Riace/Italy) and Amalia and Guiseppe Gelardi (Agrigent/Italy). The installation was generously supported by the City of Dresden and the Klaus Tschira Foundation.