Towards the end of my academic life, I felt a deep need to create books with meaningful images. This was not the norm in intellectual life, which relied on words. But I come from a family of artisans, artslovers and artists: architects, painters, drawers, and photographers, so perhaps it was programmed into my life.
During my first trips in the Pitigliano area, I took hundreds of photos of the extraordinary places I encountered during my walks through the sacred landscapes. Some of them I incorporated into my book ‘Il Sorriso della Sirena’. This set the tone for the rest of my books: they are all illustrated with my photo’s, and those of others with better eyes and camera’s than me. It’s the combination between image and text that tells the story…
Paintings and objects
After some time I also began to make paintings, first of the landscapes in which I lived, and of some my dreams. My painting continued when I was preparing my book ‘Signora della Porta del Cielo’. I had encountered several corroded images of Sirena’s. By painting them I wanted to restore them, to increase my ability and that of my readers to interpret their original meaning. Some of them are included at the beginning of the book’s chapters.
A creative door was opening
This opened a huge creative door in me. I began to make a series of ‘imaginary Sirenas’, paintings of how she appeared in my dreams and my imagination. During the first corona lockdown, I made a large series of them, which I included in the book ‘The Return of the Sirena’. During the second lockdown, I started painting at a larger size, which gave me even more freedom to express my imagination. It resulted in more than 50 paintings. In 2021 I presented a selection of them in an exhibition at the Galleria Comunale in Barga, where several artists from Barga presented their work on the Sirena, all in their own original style. Some I gave as gifts to friends, or I used them in my book presentations and my ceremonial work. And I turned my house into my private art gallery….
A selection of ten of these paintings was published as cards in a folder. Many people use them as postcards or as objects on their altar. Others use them as a deck of cards. You can buy them here.
I also started making small Sirenas in clay, or sculpted in stone. I used them on my travel altar, and gave them as gifts to friends. Or I left them for free in special places, at sacred sites I visited, and in niches in the streets of Barga.
Linking with Sirena artists
Over the years, I came in contact with professional artists who make beautiful objects with the Sirena, such as jewelry, ceramics and paintings. And I came in contact with performance artists, who dance and sing the Sirena. We inspired each other in bringing the Sirena back into the modern world. After all, that’s what she was originally: a lived artistic symbol of the feminine divine. We can put our modern spin on it.
To be continued
In the years to come I intend to continue and improve my artistic work and my artistic connections, curious to see what comes out of it…