AtWork Rome Chapter 10


AtWork Rome Chapter 10

Rome, Italy
May 24-27th, 2018


Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea


I had a dream


Simon Njami

“We want to address useful dreams, dreams that can become a reality. Given the example of all those people who had a dream that changed the world, it’s important for these kids to be inspired and to know that, if you work for it, a useful dream can become true.”

Simon Njami, AtWork Rome conductor

AtWork Rome Chapter 10 has been implemented by Moleskine Foundation in partnership with the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, which also hosted the workshop.
It was the first leg of the AtWork Tour 2018 “I had a dream”, which will continue its journey in Ndjamena, Kampala and Harare.

Simon Njami comments on the topic: “It is a school of freedom and social engagement, for, no changes can be achieved by one person alone. If Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, to name a few dreamers, succeeded in their endeavours, it was mainly because they were able to convince outside of their ego. It is time to tell those kids who represent our future that there is no such a thing as fatalism. We were born what we were born, but we always become what we did. In few words, ‘I Had a Dream” is a call for action, here and now.”

The Workshop

The workshop took place in Rome, Italy on May 24-27th 2018 and was conducted by the renowned international curator and our advisor Simon Njami. Hosted in the beautiful space of La Galleria Nazionale, 17 participants from 9 different countries, with the backgrounds that range from musicians, to geologists, to mechanical engineers, to aspiring artists and curators, came together to have a critical debate on identity, culture, society at large and to realise their dreams, first on the pages of the notebooks and then also in real life.
At the end of the workshop each participant creatively interpreted his/her dream on the pages of the notebook.

“The creative process has allowed us to be truly ourselves, through our own very eyes, and those of others, sometimes reflecting the latter. Seeing us change… It is an experience that we hope to makes ours in order to face our future”

Valentina Gonzo, AtWork Rome participant

The Leader: Simon Njami

Simon Njami is an independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and writer. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Revue Noire.” Previously, Njami was the artistic director of the Bamako Photography Biennial 2000-2010, and co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He has curated a number of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2004-2007) and the first African art fair in Johannesburg in 2008. In 2014, The Divine Comedy exhibition, created and curated by him, started a world tour at the MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, moving on to the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. He is the director of the Pan African Master Classes in Photography, a project created in partnership with the Goethe Institute; artistic director of the Donwahi Foundation (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); adviser to the Sindika Dokolo Collection (Luanda, Angola); secretary of the special jury of the World Press Photography Awards; artistic director of the first edition of Off Biennale (Cairo, 2015) and the 2016 and 2018 Dak’Art Biennale (Dakar, Senegal), the first and most important artistic event in Africa.

“For me the theme was about confronting myself and taking the steps towards achieving that dream and bringing it to reality”

Mistura Allison, AtWork Rome participant


The Experience

The workshop took place at the National Gallery in Rome and thanks to the open call that was launched for the 2018 Tour the group was extremely diverse. The 17 participants came from completely different backgrounds, from mechanical engineering, to physics, to musicians to artists and geologists, as well from 9 different nationalities. This allowed for a very rich discussion around the topic of the dreams and touched a variety of themes, from personal to social and political. The workshop was a unique occasion for the young creative talents to encounter, exchange and debate with their peers who they would normally wouldn’t have a chance to meet in their daily life. Simon Njami also enriched the workshop experience by giving a special guided tour of the exhibition “I is an Other” that he curated at the National Gallery.

“My dream is to revive the mindset of African youth and let them know that instead of running to Europe we should use our creative abilities to tackle our problems ourselves. It’s our problem and we have to solve it.”

Ibrahim Kondeh, AtWork Rome participant


The Exhibition

The Moleskine notebooks created by the participants during the workshop have been exhibited at Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. The exhibition was co-curated by the workshop participants under the supervision of Simon Njami. It inaugurated on May 29th and ran until June 3d. A special catalogue featuring the dreams and the related notebooks of all the participants has been produced.

Participants list

  • Abdul Rahman Osuman
    Addes Tesfamariam
    Alexandra Cuccu
    Chiara Bonanni
    Daniele Vigo
    Emilio Lucchetti
    Francesco Gallo
    Ibrahim Kondeh
    Irene Caretti
    Maria Giovanna Sodero


  • Mevlan Mjeshtri
    Mistura Allison
    Morteza Khaleghi
    Rocco Soldini
    Sara Sulas
    Tere Cab
    Valentina Gonzo
    Viola Fortuni
    Zhang Luoqiang


  • Partners:
    Galleria Nazionale, directed by Cristiana Collu

    AtWork Chapter 10 Coordinator:
    Alessia Tobia

    Special guests:
    Valentina Amenta (BBDO), Fabio Rosciglione

    Photo shooting:
    Mattia Panunzio

    Video shooting and editing:
    Luca Dimoon

    Special thank you to:
    Andrea Vietri (Vero Food), Giuseppe De Masi, Isabella de Stefano and Elena Bastia (MiBAC), Stefania Beccaceci (Le Mèridien Visconti Roma), Judith Lenglet, Raffaele Bellezza