Like Swarming Maggots: Archival Practices across Libya and Italy


A day of workshops, readings, and presentations on archival research, anticolonial approaches to artistic practice, literature and translation. Exploring Libyan heritage and Italian colonial legacies through the practices of Tewa Barnosa, Sarri Elfaiotouri, Alessandro Spina, Amalie Elfallah and Niccolò Acram Cappelletto.

This project is part of Like Swarming Maggots: uses and abuses of colonial history by Alessandra Ferrini, an editorial project supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture under the Italian Council program (12th edition, 2023), which aims to promote Italian contemporary art worldwide.


11:00 - 13:00
Welcome and Introductions
Readings and presentations led by Amalie Elfallah and NiccolòAcram Cappelletto

The session will introduce the writing of Alessandro Spina–a nom de plume by Basili Shafik Khouzam (Benghazi, 1927-Rovato, 2013)– whose oeuvre stems from his life experiences between Libya and Italy. In English and Italian, they will present a selection of published texts including: short stories, novels, diaries, and translations. By tracing Spina's editorial history, contextualising Italy's occupation “d’oltremare,” and conveying his reflections on shadowed discourses, the workshop aims to confront ever-present ambiguities regarding Italian colonial legacies.

13:30 - 14:30

15:00 - 17:00
Performance Lecture
Casa Langes: within the transitions
Tewa Barnosa

In this performance lecture, Barnosa recounts histories embedded around the museum in attempts to reveal unsurfaced complexities and poetic investigations of Casa Langes neighborhood, reflecting Libya’s colonial and totalitarian shifts as whole, approaching archival methodologies which connect the dots between the Museum edifice's various roles and the pivotal moments that remain undeclared, intertwining state institutions, political figures, martyred activists, and intricate family sagas.

17:30 - 18:30
Of Intractable Archives and Bulletproof Cities
Presentation led by Sarri Elfaitouri

This presentation will consist of Tajarrod's and Sarri's projects that question the city, Benghazi, Libya as a living "problematic" archive in narrative and material form. The mission to spatialize critical history in public space and use it as a potential force for socio-political emancipation.

In conversation with Tewa Barnosa and Sarri Elfaitouri


NiccolòAcram Cappelletto (he/him) is a current MA student in Arts, Museology and Curatorship at the University of Bologna. After his BA in Art History at New York University Abu Dhabi, he worked as a Post-Graduate Research Fellow with Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies. Now NiccolòAcram is continuing independent research on the relationship between heritage and contemporary art within postcolonial Italy. In 2021, he joined Global Art Daily, an independent publication on contemporary art in the UAE after being a gallery assistant in Venice, Paris, and Abu Dhabi. These experiences raised his interests for a decolonial practice of today’s theoretical frameworks.

Tewa Barnosa is a Trans-disciplinary artist and curator, based between troubled Tripoli and a-political Amsterdam, whose artistic practice spans across trajectories of visual arts, literature, sound, and curatorial collaborations, Grounded in critical curiosity- and intuitive-based knowledge re-interpretation and re-production(s), She constructs surreal scenographies that navigate the intricacies of contradiction, extremity, and the evasive realm of transitional “in-between” physical and psychological spaces. Barnosa is an alumnus of the Rijksakademie 2021-2023, and the founder of WaraQ for Arts and Culture. Her curatorial work centres around collaborative processes such as exhibition projects, publishing, space-making, and public interventions to facilitate nomadic infrastructures of co-creation and conversations.

Sarri Elfaitouri is an interdisciplinary architect, artist, curator, cultural manager, and writer based in Benghazi, Libya, and the founder and director of Tajarrod, a pedagogical design led research practice. Through historical archeologies and socio-spatial interventions his work is dedicated to developing radical spaces of critical learning and action within his context “Libya” and beyond.

Amalie Elfallah (she/her) is an interdisciplinary architecture-urban designer. As an independent scholar, her research examines socio-spatial constructions, imaginations, actualities of Italian colonial Libya (1911-1943) concurrently tracing how this past is concealed/embodied, forgotten/remembered, and erased/concretized in contemporary [post]colonial Italy and Libya. Her work stems from the backbone of an architecture education, recently as a US-IT Fulbright graduate to Politecnico di Milano. Amalie’s writing appears in independent Italian-based magazines including ALEA (No. 3: Simbiosi, 2022) with "Tracciare una colonialità della memoria" and ARABPOP (No. 3: Mare, 2022) with "Tahafut, connessioni dissonanti nella Bengasi «d'oltremare».”

Alessandra Ferrini (Florence, 1984) is a London-based artist and researcher. Experimenting with the hybridization of the documentary film, her research questions the legacies of Italian colonialism and Fascism. She is the winner of the Maxxi Bvlgari Prize 2022 and of the 2017 Experimenta Pitch Award at the London Film Festival, she has shown her work internationally, including at: De La Cruz Gallery (Washington DC, 2024), KØS Museum (Denmark, 2023), 5th Casablanca Biennale (2022), ar/ge kunst (Bolzano, 2022, solo show), Manifesta 13 Paralléles du Sud (Marseille, 2020), Sharjah Film Platform (UAE, 2019), Istanbul Biennal collateral (Depo, 2019), Manifesta 12 Film Programme (Palermo, 2018), Villa Romana (solo show 2019), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022). She is a PhD candidate at the University of the Arts London.

The Villa Romana e.V. maintains the Villa Romana and the Villa Romana Prize.
The main sponsor is the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Other sponsors are the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the BAO Foundation as well as - project related - numerous private individuals, companies and foundations from all over the world.

Villa Romana e.V. is supported by: