Discover the museum's exhibitions

04 April 2009 - 17 May 2009, Heleneum - Lugano


The fourth appointment in the Dèibambini exhibition cycle explores how children (and their art) conceive the meanings and contexts of hybridization.
Children from four primary schools (Molino Nuovo, Barbengo, Ruvigliana and Davesco) and a preschool class (Breganzona) in Lugano have worked on this project during six months. They were guided by their teachers and didactical experts while exploring the concept and meaning of ‘hybrid’ through a series of guided tours in the museum and class activities. 

Foto gallery

The Exhibition

Western culture is generally accustomed to seeing ‘hybrids’ as monstrous beings; abortive forms of a metamorphosis or the failure to fulfil a transformation. The museum artworks testify that "simple" cultures view hybridization as a positive factor. A hybrid is therefore equipped with its own identity holding the ensemble of characteristics (both positive and negative) of its constitutive beings and objects.The museum artworks originating from the Melanesian area provided the source for the children's inspiration. The following representations are very widespread in the aforementioned area: beings stemming from a hybridization of humans and animals, of humans and plants, of humans and objects, and of animals and plants. At the end of the educational journey, the preschool children created an artwork that allows the ‘reconstruction’ of 16 diverse hybrids in a playful manner, while all primary school children produced a sculpture representing their ‘own’ hybrid. Their creations manifest an own individuality. althought he children are now aware that a hybrid is not obliged to possess a single and sole identity. The children could compare their own culture with that of faraway (both in terms of space and time) peoples, and they were able able to express themselves freely. This provides adults with an insight of original creativity, which may be valuable for the personal growth of everyone. The exhibition displayed 74 works created by the children, as well as a series of contexutalizing images demonstrating the educational journey. It also included three significant museum artworks, which had inspired the children.The exhibition layout was designed by Giulio Zaccarelli, in collaboration with Isabella Lenzo Massei (exhibition curator) and Silvia Paradela (head of the artistic project).

The exhibition catalogue was edited by the City of Lugano. It presents pictures of the young artists' creations and their own comments, as well as essays by Isabella Lenzo Massei, Francesco Paolo Campione, Alfonso Foglia, Silvia Paradela and Giulio Zaccarelli. It also contains a dossier for an in-depth examination of the museum’s works by Marta Cometti.


a cura di Isabella Lenzo Massei
Edizioni MCL / Città di Lugano, Lugano 2009,
116 pp.
Dèibambini 4
CHF 20
ISBN 88-7777-040-6