Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics

“Possible Life”, a sailing exhibition by Gianluca Costantini on board the Ocean Viking

This page is available in English (UK) , Italian

Ravenna, 31 December 2022 – A sailing exhibition on board the ship Ocean Viking, to tell the stories of the shipwrecked people rescued during the SOS MEDITERRANEANEE rescue missions and of all those men, women and children who leave their country in search of a better life.

Stories of newborn lives snatched from the waves, stories of violence and abuse but also of dreams and hopes, stories of journeys by land and sea in search of a safe haven. 

Activist artist Gianluca Costantini recounts them through 20 drawings of civil illustration, posted on the deck of the ship that in 2022 alone rescued 2,505 lives in 45 different operations in the central Mediterranean Sea.

The exhibition, entitled “La vita possibile – Possible Life”, takes its cue from the story of baby Abdou*, an infant that Ocean Viking rescuers found on board a dinghy during the last mission, on the night between 26 and 27 December. 

Foto di Michael Bunel

“It was like just a bundle of clothes,” said Tanguy, rescuer, at the end of the rescue operation, conducted in total darkness. 
What at first looked like just a pile of rags was a baby barely two weeks old. He was motionless and silent and Tanguy wondered: “Is he breathing? I can’t understand.” 
“Yes, he is, all is well,” Justine, the midwife on board, answered him, taking him in her arms.

Abdou* is just 18 days old and spent a week at sea. His rescue is a symbol of the right of every human being to a possible life.  

The exhibition will be set up tomorrow afternoon, 1 January, on board the ambulance ship Ocean Viking by SOS MEDITERRANEANEE rescuers, on the instructions of the cartoonist.
The prints will be hung on the deck, in the on-board clinic and in the shelter, the protected space dedicated to rescued women and children, and will accompany the crew of the Ocean Viking during their next mission in the central Mediterranean Sea, thus becoming a real sailing exhibition
For security reasons the exhibition will not be open to the public, but will be accessible virtually through the social channels of the artist and SOS MEDITERRANEE Italy.

*The child’s name was changed to protect his identity.

The Ocean Viking’s latest mission

The Ocean Viking set sail from Marseille on 18 December. After the necessary supplies of food, medicine and fuel, the ship headed south between Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December, entering the Maltese search and rescue region in the early afternoon of Monday 26 December.  

Between 3am and 4am on 27 December, the crew of the Ocean Viking was engaged in a rescue operation of 113 people, including 23 women and three infants, the youngest of whom was only two weeks old. The survivors taken on board claimed to be from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon.  

On 27 December, at around 7am, an ITMRCC {Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center} e-mail informed the captain of the ship that the Ocean Viking had been assigned the port of La Spezia for the disembarkation of the shipwrecked people on board. Four hours later, around 11am, the ITMRCC sent a second e-mail informing of a new PoS {Safe Port} assignment, Ravenna (about 900 nautical miles away from where the Ocean Viking was at that time). On 31 December at around noon, after four days at sea, the Ocean Viking entered the port of Ravenna. Disembarkation procedures for the 113 survivors were completed shortly after three o’clock in the afternoon. 

Gianluca Costantini – biography

Gianluca Costantini is an activist artist who has been fighting his battles through drawing for years; he has been accused of terrorism by the Turkish government and of anti-Semitism by the American radical right. He actively collaborates with the organisations SOS MEDITERRANEANEE Italia, ActionAid, Amnesty, ARCI, CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalist and with major human rights festivals, including the HRW Film Festival in London and NewYork, the FIFDH in Geneva and the Human Rights Festival in Milan.

Between 2016 and 2019 he accompanied with drawings the activities of DiEM25 Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, the movement founded by Yanis Varoufakis. He also collaborates with artist Ai Weiwei.

In 2019, he received Amnesty International’s “Art and Human Rights” award.

He has published for many Italian and international newspapers including: Internazionale, Corriere della Sera, Domani, Oggi, La Lettura, CNN, Drawing the Times, LeMan, ABC Australia, Mekong Review, Courrier International, Le Monde Diplomatique, World War 3 Illustrated.

His latest publications include Patrick Zaki, una storia egiziana – Patrick Zaki, an Egyptian story (Feltrinelli Editore, 2022), and Libia – Libya (Mondadori, 2019).

More information here: 

Images of the La vita possibile – Possible Life exhibition will be available from tomorrow afternoon, along with those of the recently completed Ocean Viking mission, at the following link:

Photos and videos for editorial use only. Please credit SOS MEDITERRANEE and our onboard photographer Michael Bunel.

SOS MEDITERRANEANEE Italy press office contacts: 
Elisa Brivio,

Francesco Creazzo, 

Photos Michael Bunel

Italy / SOS Mediterranee

Political Comics


saving your data…