The remains of a Libyan fishing vessel that sank in the Mediterranean with around 800 migrants on board in 2015 arrived in Venice on Monday and was seen on display on Friday. It is being exhibited at the 58th Venice Biennale which is opening this week.
The vessel was carrying around 800 migrants when it hit a Portuguese cargo ship overnight on April 18, 2015 and quickly sank between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa. Almost all of those on board were left trapped in the ship's hold and only 28 survived the disaster, which was the deadliest migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean in the period.
It was retrieved from the seabed in 2016 at the request of the Italian government led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and brought to Venice on Monday.
The exhibited ship has been dubbed "Barca Nostra" or "Our Ship" by Swiss artist Christoph Buchel, who aims to turn the wreckage into a symbol of the migrants' tragedy in the Mediterranean. He received permission from a group of survivors to display the vessel in this manner.
"I did not have an opinion. I thought it was necrophilia. But now that I've seen it, I think people can understand what a migrant boat really is. Not just as when you see them on television, where they look small. This was big and it was full of people," said Venice resident Maria Teresa Ruggero.
Barca Nostra will be part of the International Art Exhibition dubbed “May You Live In Interesting Times," which will run from May 11 to November 24 this year in Venice.