Removed or Ignored: On the Traces of the Italian Colonial Artistic Legacy (Summary)

Serena De Dominicis (PDF)

The article aims to analyse the colonial past of Italy and its artistic heritage, which has been completely erased from collective memory for a long time as an inconvenient legacy. The colonial campaign of Italy only partially coincided with the fascist regime. It actually started at the end of the nineteenth century and ended with the Second World War without a real decolonisation process.

For a long time, the issue of the colonial experience was hardly raised in Italian political, public, or media discourse, even though many traces of colonialism can be seen every day on the streets of various Italian cities, namely in the décor of buildings, monumental sculpture and elsewhere. Over the past decades, some interesting academic research has been carried out on this aspect, especially in architecture and art history, and some impressive and noteworthy works of art have been created. All of this has given rise to a broader interest in the inconvenient heritage of colonialism. The article tries to define the kind of heritage we are discussing and the role of Italian art and architecture in colonial propaganda. The arguments raised seek to answer the question: What is the value and significance of this heritage today?

Keywords: Africa, architecture, art, colonialism, Fascism, Italy, legacy, Modernism, Rationalism