It was a big honour to me to meet Maria Sanciolo-Bell ,the President of the Institute of Culture Sicily-Australia, introduced last year by their vice president Gaetano Failla.
My first impression was as if I had already met her before and I was immediately fascinated by her great passion in everything she does.
|here with Maria Sanciolo-Bell - ph. courtesy by Gaetano Failla|
I met Maria again , a few days ago here in Siracusa for the opening of the exhibition entitled SPIRIT OF TWO ISLAND. TERRA SICULA- TERRA AUSTRALIS by the Aboriginal visual artist Billy Doolan..
This exhibition is one of the innumerable projects involving not only arts that Maria is promoting to connect the two islands, Sicily and Australia which joins her two souls, being a pure Sicilian living in Melbourne.
I had the pleasure to guide the vice ambassador of Australia who was the special guest for the opening last Friday at the ex Convento del Ritiro in Ortigia on 9th November where the Sicilian paintings by Billy Doolan will be till 25th ,then to move in Catania.
I had the privilege to follow her explanations of the paintings and she was marvellous in her way to describe these unique works. She learnt to look at Sicily through Aborigenal eyes, supporting the idea to move the Australian Billy Doolan far from his village to show him our Sicily.
Billy came about two years ago, and translated into nine paintings* his experience from the mysteries of Mount Etna, to the magic papyrus plantations, from the fertile places devoted to Demeter to the secrets of Pantalica, from the salt plants to the sword fish world ,to give some examples.
According to Maria’s tales I heard that Billy Doolan found some stories learnt here from our Sicilian culture similar to the stories of his world, feeling comfortable but not immediately.To be honest , his first impact with Italy was a disaster: as soon as he landed in Fiumicino airport in Rome , for some misunderstandings he was lost and slept for three days near a bush using a cardboard as a mattress while Maria ,Italian police and Australian Embassy have been looking for him.
So, forgetting the first three days, then he was immersed for almost a month into Sicily and his impressions have began a dream that he transferred in the language of his art when he came back home
He said that he “can’t stop thinking about the beauty of Sicily …where the churches and building are artworks themselves…”
To express his dream of Sicily Billy uses all his familiar patterns of Aborigenal art: herringbones, half circles and linear work which represents his roots from the feminine (the mother) and masculine (the father)world with the colours of the Earth.
This exhibition is something totally new for us,for overseas observers :they are not traditional indigenous , are not Italian , are not European.
BUT They give us the possibility to re discover , through someone else’s eyes the beauty of the Sicilian soul, because this is what Billy looked for it.
* among his nine Sicilian paintings three of them regards Siracusa's area (Pantalica, Catacombs of St John and Papyrus).
|this is painted on original payrus paper handmade by the artist Flavia Massara|
|Here with Flavia Massara on the PAPIRI by Billy Doolan.This is my favourite painting : papyrus look like woman's hair|
|Ex Convento del Ritiro - Ortigia in Soracusa -ph. courtesy by Gaetano Failla|
Opening: from 4.oo pm to 9.pm at ex Convento del Ritiro in Ortigia - via Mirabellla