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Pope Francis visits the Biennale in Venice and mentions Frida Kahlo

02 May 2024

"The world needs artists" the Pope said, highlighting the accomplishments of female artists such as Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois.

Pope Francis made history by visiting the Venice Biennale on the 28th of April, becoming the first Pope to attend this prestigious art event.

He visited the Holy See Pavilion, located in the Giudecca women's prison, after meeting with inmates of the facility. The pavilion, entitled "With My Eyes," is curated by Chiara Parisi and Bruno Racine, and marks the first time a Pontiff has visited the Venice Biennale. This visit is a historic event that underlines the Church's desire to establish a fruitful and meaningful dialogue with the world of art and culture.

 In his speech, Pope Francis emphasised the importance of artists in modern society, highlighting the role of art in promoting dialogue and reconciliation. The Pope's words: "I very much wanted to come to the Venice Art Biennale to pay a visit, as is the good custom among friends. Last June, in fact, I had the joy of welcoming a large group of artists to the Sistine Chapel. Now I am coming 'to your home' to meet you personally, to feel even closer to you and, in this way, to thank you for what you are and what you do."

Pope Francis invited artists to imagine cities that do not exist on the map, cities where no human being is considered a stranger, and to work to build a more inclusive society. He also emphasised the importance of the contribution of women in art and cited artists such as Frida Kahlo, Corita Kent and Louise Bourgeois, hoping that contemporary art could help to enhance the contribution of women.

The Pope concluded his speech with an invitation to pray for him and to continue working for a world in which the concept of 'strangers everywhere' becomes 'brothers everywhere'. He thanked the artists for their work and commitment and asked them to continue to imagine and create a better future.