A clay narrative by one of our fabulous emerging artists,

Silvana Varriale

Not so long ago,  I came across a nice illustration of a book where the characters and items mentioned in the story written on one page were becoming "alive" and three dimensional on the opposite page. One detail in it, in particular, a lovely whitewashed wall villa made me think of an episode from my Mum's past. That's how the idea of my clay book was born.
In 1940, during the II WW, her hometown started to be bombed by the Germans. The house where she lived with her parents was located near the harbor, an area which was subject to daily naval and aerial bombings. That's when her parents decided it was safer for her to go live in the countryside at her aunt's house. My Mum still fondly recalls those years as the happiest time of her life despite the fact that her parents couldn't join her at the beginning. She loved exploring the outdoors with her cousin - who was like a sister to her - and her uncle and aunt were really loving and kind to her. It was like living an incredible adventure.
In my sculpture, I tried to shape some of the animals and objects my Mum always mentions as particularly dear to her from that time. "Villa Oblio" (Oblivion)  - for example - was my Mum's dream house and she remembers the way she used to peep through its gates to see more of it. And then there is her aunt's dog, the record player which sparked my Mum's passion for opera, the "secret" fields where she and her cousin used to pick up wild violets. And grass, and blue sky and trees. A city girl's dreamland.
My hope is for this little piece to work as a sort of time machine to relieve my Mum from her daily struggle with age-related cognitive decline, bringing her back to a time when she was care-free and serene.

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