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Danila Giaquinta /
He graduated in Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Pisa, confused back to Catania and finds himself, by chance, to do what he did his grandfather. Or almost, because he was a “wheelwright,” working with wood and Sicilian carts built them; She, however, grinds colors and paints them. From the scene, which defines the main theme, the decorations on the shore, towing or harness horse, the artist Alice Valenti, a step away from the “door”, practice the art “du carrettu” for almost 15 years and has fun well as to the reasons raffigurarne of furnishings, objects of daily use and other means of transport. Since that suggestion does not come off his art but over time has come to encompass many other subjects of Sicily. She was a pupil of the master Domenico Di Mauro, great guardian of this tradition, and it all started from a book.
When the cart came into his life?
“I had just graduated and groping in the dark. I knew I only wanted to do something artistic and handicraft. And I wanted to regain possession of my roots. I was reading “The Sicilian cart”, a volume limited edition of 1967, when I saw my grandfather’s name in the list of craftsmen. My father told me of the collaboration with the Di Mauro teacher who at 17 was going to paint him in Scordia. The next day I went to see him in Aci Sant’Antonio and in that shop, and his brother in law Antonio Zappalà, I lasted five years. I still remember that moment: how I found myself in an old situation, on that basalt lava stone, between Sant’Agata and stories of champions, with all those carts dismembered and stacked, and the two of them, curved, with white hair, in the middle in all those colors. ”
How was that experience in the shop?
“The master said to me:” Did you graduate in Via Tito 8 “, the address of the shop, because I had always drawn, but it was he who taught oil painting, how to paint scenes, the blank of the painting by Antonio while I learned to decorate all the other parts of the cart. Usually there are two figures, the teacher in charge of the most important parts, real paintings on the main theme is usually chosen by the buyer; and ‘u giuvini decorating the inside of the boxes, towing, the wheels, the rods. And I’ve learned to do both the one and the other. Today Domenico Di Mauro is 102 years old and works every morning. I often go to find him and our friendship is nice and strong. ”
A brief account of the history of our handcart?
“It’s a symbol of an era of Sicily. The first dates back to 1830 and the sources are diaries of travelers who write about seeing funny two-wheeled vehicles with sacred images and touches of color. Until then the transport took place by sea or by mule. As the themes are enriching but at the beginning prevailed religious because who faced a long journey he was alone, with her horse, she went to risks of brigands or rains, and those figures were consoling him. Over time, you have settled decorative practices whose origins are still a topic of study. From the artistic and technical point of view, the cart is all a rule, a set of codes to be respected and requires some preparation dose. You can not improvise. And between the eastern and western Sicily, and even between the province and the province, there are variations in color themes. As well as measurement when you consider that the vehicle has to adapt to the roughness of the flat land rather than mountainous. It is the work of many artisans result: in order of time the painter is the last and the first is the “wheelwright” which also organizes the work of the sculptor. Then there is the blacksmith who takes care of the iron while the saddler of horse harnesses. ”
The art of the cart resists or has come to an end?
“It is not dead even if a time there were 30-50 painters in the province, today there are 1-2. The other figures can be counted on the fingers of one hand. As women are the only of my generation. ”
The cart is his daily work?
“In time I acquired credibility in the eyes of these men who do not usually have to do with women. The demand for small things, it moved to the scenes up to a cart full, in Randazzo where I was commuting every day. I have so many paintings of medium size and about a year ago are struggling with the trappings of three carts. Delivery times and costs? They depend on many things, from what the customer wants to spend: to paint from 4000 euro and up from 3 months onwards. Today they are recognized as a painter but carts for a living do too much. ”
Carts apart …?
“I live in a home lab. I paint pictures, decorative ceramics and a little ‘I started trying exceptions to the rule by mixing eastern and western decorative elements on tables, chairs, headboards as well as on everyday objects and Wasps. In fact they had already done at the beginning of the twentieth century artists, if you think the dell’acquaiolo benches decorated with the style of the wagon. Or more recently the motoapi. This is because the cart had been overtaken by other means and carters had become truck drivers or drivers Ape but they continued to be painted the iconography. Today, the average customer perceives it as an object of art and collectibles. And while in other cases it can rework that flavor in a contemporary way, when it comes to inventing traditional wagon is a sacrilege. I paint even more but it is always popular and traditional iconography, such as sweets, horses harnessed. ”
In 2001, when his adventure, the digital began he was about to explode. Today there is this dell’handmade trend and the desire to move your hands from the mouse and touch screen to return to the matter and to the trades.
“Art has always been my passion, but I did not know who dresses give. I also do graphics to PC but to do things with their hands gives a very different satisfaction. Something therapeutic, salvific. A renewed value for the new generations. ”
“The cover of Jade Salerno cd, a singer of the 800 folk songs. Generally I call myself “looking” because I would discover other borders and groped new tools. “
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