Mediterranea: Puglia 2008

22 May - 31 May, 2008 

In May 2008, a pilot project was launched in partnership between Arts Council England and four universities from the East Midlands (De Montfort, Derby, Loughborough and Nottingham Trent) to send recent graduates to take part in the 13th Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean.

This project marked the first time that the UK have taken part in the Biennale, which is considered to be one of the most important Mediterranean events for youth creativity. Eighteen graduates from the four universities attended the Biennale in Bari, Puglia, Southern Italy. During the 10-day festival around 1,000 artists, aged between 18 and 30, from 48 countries, exhibited their work. It was the first time that other 18 countries from the European Union participated along with the 27 countries of last Biennale held in Naples on September 2005.

Before, during and after the Biennial, various workshops were organised in order to give to the artists the opportunity to cooperate through art and to operate in a multicultural contest.

Hetain Patel, one of the participating artists, comments on his experience in Bari:

I find the most exciting aspect of being an artist is the creative process - the challenge, the freedom, the playing, and if you're lucky a piece of work that you can't wait to share with an audience.    

Being given the opportunity to take such a work out to Bari, Puglia to present it in an international context was a privilege. Not only did I receive lots of great feedback and exposure but also got to experience a wide range of work from other young artists living in Europe and the Mediterranean.

I got to know many of the other British artists for the first time at the biennale and made some great friends while I was there. Engaging with the arts and artists internationally opens your eyes to the possibilities of cultural exchange.

It reaffirms your faith in art and what it can do beyond the gratification of the artist. I had an unforgettable time in Bari and I'm already jealous of the group that gets to be involved in the next biennale!

About the Biennale

The XIII Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean was held for the first time not in a single city but in a larger territory: Puglia, a region of South Italy, with the main activities based in its capital, Bari.

Thanks to its geographical position, facing eastwards but on the shores of the Mediterranean, Puglia has always been a land where cultures have met and create a fertile melting pot.

The project foreseen to host the productions of the XIII Biennial in the whole region, creating a real artistic network on the basis of cultural, social and economic vocations of the Puglia territory, keeping with the spirit of the choose theme of the event, Kairos: Our Creative Diversity.

The disciplines were: Applied Arts, Gastronomy, Images on the Move, Literature, Music, Show and Visual Arts.

Theme: Kairos, Our Creative Diversity

The theme was originally conceived for the project of the Biennial of Alexandria in Egypt, were the event was supposed to take place in 2007. After the failure of the project, due to local social and political issues the event was skipped in 2008 in Puglia. The theme remained the same and also the will to have a specific focus on the South Shore emerging art scene, convinced that cultural differences are not a threat but represent an important resource to be exploited.


713 artists from 37 Countries (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Croatia, Egypt, Finland, France, Jordan, Greece, Republic of Kosovo, Italy, FYROM, Malta, Palestine, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Lebanon, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, United Kingdom, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, Hungary) participated to the event and 400 among operators and journalists attended the event.

To be signalled for their inspiring works the following artists: Umut Skallioglu, performer and video-maker from Turkey, Muta Imago, theatre company from Rome, Valerio Berruti, visual artist from Italy, Heidi Moriot, visual artist from France and Lea Rasovszky, visual artists from Bucharest and Mistma Theater Group from Bulgaria and Serbia.


The main venue was at the Fiera del Levante in Bari, then different venues have been set up in the whole region with the intent to reply in many towns some artistic disciplines in order to permit the audience of wide areas of the region to assist to the artistic productions. The official program was accompanied by a large program of parallel events transforming the Biennial in a platform that hosted and presented the different experiences of the local emerging art scene.


Please see a full list of artists by clicking the link here.