Rebirth Day at Vinci’s Comprehensive Institute: the Third Paradise between responsibility and new generations
Last December, Vinci’s Comprehensive Institute hosted the interdisciplinary project “Educating to Peace: Leonardo, Picasso, Pistoletto”, curated by Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassador Patrizia Vezzosi. The initiative aims at establishing a connection between art and current events, with a view to peace and sharing. Through creative workshops and educational activities, the students of the Tuscan municipality's 1st grade secondary school understood the importance of art as a tool of collective responsibility, not as a target.

Since 2013, the trinamic symbol has been a source of inspiration for the interdisciplinary project “Educating to Peace: Leonardo, Picasso, Pistoletto” curated by Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassador Patrizia Vezzosi, teacher of Art and Image at the comprehensive institute of Vinci, in the province of Florence. On the occasion of the 2022 Rebirth Day,120 secondary school children were involved in the project, also shared by the International Movement Shalom; the initiative combines educational and workshop-creative aspects, focusing on the image as a tool for active global citizenship. The three artists mentioned in the title of the project are the starting point for the pupils’ reflection, as explained by project leader Patrizia Vezzosi:“the recognition of the human being as a universal value comes about thanks to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Picasso’s Guernica, on the other hand, represents the work of denunciation of all conflicts: the incongruity of war, as the ultimate example of the denial of the right to life, is obvious to the students. Finally, the responsibility of each us is also clear to the students, who share the message of social awareness conveyed by Michelangelo Pistoletto‘s Third Paradise”. Responsibility is therefore a fundamental word for the students of Vinci’s comprehensive institute, who are also accompanied in their everyday school life by “the golden rule, i.e. do unto others what you would like done to you, do not do unto others what you would not like done to you”. Patrizia Vezzosi calls it “a rule that unites everybody”: first of all, it creates unity among the students in the school spaces, but it should also be shared among the world communities with a view to peace. These reflections highlight how important it is to consider the different, the other, as a source of wealth, not mere tolerance.

On the occasion of the 2022 Rebirth Day, students worked on the topical subject of “attacks on art”, protests promoted by environmental activists who smear works of art with paint, glue, mashed potatoes and soup; their objective is to capture the media attention of citizens and, above all, institutions, to ask them to take concrete action to tackle the climate crisis¹. The lecturer began by offering an introduction to the topic through the use of the classroom’s interactive whiteboard. “I showed ‘negative’ images without knowing how the classes would react,” said Patrizia Vezzosi. The students were invited to develop a personal reflection focusing on the reasons for their opposition, and then to conclude the project with a drawing, a poster that could and would communicate the common aversion to actions targeting art.

Particularly effective in terms of communication was the work of student Vittoria Alderighi (class I A): in her drawing (shown in the cover image), the pupil shows a plane in flight carrying the core message of the project, leaving behind as its contrail a dotted symbol of the Third Paradise. The illustration now hangs at the entrance and on the doors of all the classrooms of the school, because “what we work on for the Rebirth Day remains throughout the year,” said Patrizia Vezzosi. The trinamic symbol, as the teacher pointed out, plays a central role in the project: “It is the starting point. The students recognise the ‘me, you and us in the middle’ as a formula that can be concretely applied first and foremost in class relationships as an important lesson in respect for the other. Starting from a negative aspect (the attacks on art),” the teacher continued, “the pupils now feel like ‘defenders’ of art: they have gained awareness and a sense of individual responsibility for the preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage as a common good”.

The initiative was brought to the attention of the Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, who, in a letter addressed to Patrizia Vezzosi, stressed the importance of supporting and promoting the value of art with projects that activate the new generations, like the one conducted in Vinci. The letter concludes with a message of esteem for the work of the teacher who, with the proposed initiative, has drawn young people to art: “We are convinced that teachers like ms Vezzosi are decisive in involving the new generations with issues that have such a strong impact on contemporaneity and, at the same time,” the Ministry emphasised in the letter, “in developing in young people the special sensitivity needed to enjoy art with the awareness of the privilege we have of being surrounded by it everywhere in Italy”.

Thanks to the project “Educating to Peace: Leonardo, Picasso, Pistoletto”, the students of Vinci’s comprehensive institute have the opportunity to embrace the authentic value of art on a daily basis: art is not only a wealth accessible to all, but most importantly a tool for awareness and a constant catalyst of individual and collective responsibility.

¹ Read more about the most recent episode in Italy in this article.