Carolina, leave his permanent job in Lisbon and go home

The young visual designer brands called from his city. He leaves a permanent contract in Portugal to “give back” to Palermo what he has learned abroad

Sicily is a country with sea and travel, we are growing with the horizon before our eyes and for many the desire to escape and discover what lies beyond the sea is an unstoppable drive. Many take the drive driven by the desire to find new stimuli, start over and put themselves to the test. Every trip is food for the mind and for the most creative it is a real necessity to travel.

Departures do not always coincide with return, but over the years something has changed: Today, many talents have decided to return home and bring their wealth of experience and their human capital back here. This is the case with Carolina Benantiyoung visual designer Palermo, who after four years abroad decided to return to Sicily.

Carolina leaves whenever she has the opportunity, promising to always return home to share with the city what she has learned on her travels.

“I’m a Sicilian trade fair, but at the same time I feel like a world citizen. I think it’s a good advantage, I go from there with the knowledge that what I learn on my travels, I still bring with me here. I leave. to assimilate stimuli, to return, to improve my work and the place where I have chosen to live.I left when I was twenty, I had a desire to escape that really did not let me touch the ground “But I understood that at least in my case there comes a point where I feel full of a place and I have to come back here to give back.”

During her college career, Carolina had the opportunity to take an Erasmus in Portugal: “I have wanted to visit this wonderful country since I was a child, and thanks to Erasmus, I was able to truly live a magnificent experience, one of the most beautiful in my life. I have been for about six months in a small town near Porto, a university town called Viana do Castelo. I spent only six months there, and then I returned to Palermo to study industrial design at the Faculty of Architecture.

I have always been fascinated by the power that images have to tell stories and emotions at a single glance. Art and creativity have always been a very important part of me and I have never thought about doing anything else in life. “
After graduation «I wondered if it was really worth staying in Palermo or not. I replied that I was still too young to petrify somewhere, and more generally I wanted to escape from this city, I felt the weight of a static culture that struggled to evolve and make room for young people’s ideas and visions . So I decided to leave, I returned to Portugal to take a master’s degree in visual design at IADE in Lisbon, it was a truly magical experience ».

During her studies, Carolina has dedicated herself to the development of an interdisciplinary platform that would enable creatives from around the world to collaborate with each other and remove the boundaries of space and time.

“I imagined it as a virtual artist’s residence, based on one of Bauman’s theories about the cancellation of space and time given by the development of web systems. Talking about it today may not be something extraordinary, but in 2016 it was practically science fiction and putting myself to the test in the realization of such a project and structured in this way gave me the opportunity to grow a lot as a professional , it was my thesis project.

Then I worked in an art gallery, the gallery Zé dos Bois, I was assistant to the director of visual arts. Together with him I have made several exhibitions and met artists from all over the world. During that experience, I really did everything, I painted the walls, I selected new artists and organized events and concerts.

It was an interdisciplinary space, so I was able to really create all kinds of artistic events. This was by far the most beautiful and inspiring work experience I had in Lisbon. After the art gallery, I was chosen by a telecommunications company led by Italians, where I started working as a web designer and graphic designer. I took care of everything related to their brand image, which today has become a basic aspect to take care of for all those who do business and want results ”.

Carolina had a steady contract, she was doing pretty well. In the last year, however, something began to change, and the lack of home could be felt more and more “they say that you can not cure from Sickness of Africa, at most you can live with it, but after four years in Portugal they began to hold me so I decided to go home. “
For Carolina, it was not just a matter of returning to her hometown, but rather of the desire to bring everything she had learned from her experience in Portugal to Palermo.

“I wanted to take this huge cultural and personal baggage and donate it to the city. I really felt a need to create something tangible for Palermo and the young people who stayed in the city. The opportunity to return came one summer, I was back only a few weeks on vacation.I met a guy I knew, he told me he needed a visual designer for his new company.

I realized that there was room to return, that something was moving, and that I, too, could do mine. For me, it was a leap into the void, but I wanted to leave a secure job that I liked, a city I loved, and the life I had built there. I took the time to decide, but I could not help but return. I started working with this company and since then we have grown a lot, I am very happy to be part of this group, we have carried out many projects of value to the city and we have others in the pipeline.

I came back because I am convinced that Palermo is also a beautiful city Lisbon, but home is home. I would also have had the opportunity to stay out, but at one point I wondered if it was worth spending my whole life, or even a large part, away from my home. I gave myself a chance to come back and do something for myself and for this place. Sicily is home, I’m Sicilian, and I’m glad to be, for me it was to take away a victim from a certain point of view, but it was also a way to show myself how much I’m worth. I am convinced that good generates good, if you do it well and are happy with what you do, the good comes in one way or another and materializes in another way.

Today, among my clients there are many Sicilian realities approaching the world of the internet and I am more than happy to be able to use my skills to serve these realities, I like to think that I am helping them become islands in the sea, ie. online. We are surrounded by so much beauty and quality that at times we can no longer see it as if we were addicted to wonder. My time in Portugal helped me acquire skills that I could use here and return to look at my country with eyes full of love and wonder. I deal with many projects that are always different and stimulating, and working here I have the opportunity to get to know my country better and better and do something concrete to help small businesses ».

In 2019, Carolina and other young people created a festival on Magione designed to accommodate young Sicilian artists, the “Numen Fest Lab”.

“We came together in five, we wanted to do something beautiful for the city of Palermo, we wanted to celebrate the culture, provide space for young artists both in the field of music and in the art in general. The festival lasted two days, we tried to participate in tenders to get some funds, but in the end we had to do everything at our own expense. However, it was a great satisfaction, not so much for us as to be aware of having brought something good to the city. Sometimes I think about what could be happened if only this initiative had been more public, see what we could have achieved if we had had a little more support.Perhaps there could have been a second, third edition.I do not think Milan Design Week was born on such a different way, only that the soil is fertile there.

Portugal has given me a lot, but this is my home and I feel like I can actually explode. Many were excited about my choice to return, there is the myth that in Palermo projects never see the light of day, I also came back to disprove these myths. Since I returned, I have seen real and progressive changes, both in the city and in the approach of the people of Palermo to things. These are slow but inevitable changes, and like me, many other children come home. Changes are already in the air and many are ready to implement them.

We Sicilians are resilient, we have a great ability to adapt, we are used to having to fight for anything. For years we have had to deal with a number of disadvantages given by the system, but they have taught us to resist and succeed after all. I am convinced that people in my generation will change things. ”

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