Sunday, August 12, 2018

Art & Friendship
Villa Carlotta, Lake Como, Italy

To show my work at Villa Carlotta was an exquisite experience.  First of all, being surrounded by such natural beauty and the museum with its rich history, I found myself in an breathtaking setting of art and nature.  Alessandro & Elisa (Tablinum Cultural Management) thought it was a perfect set up for my series ‘’Aenigma’’ to be shown in the Romantic Tower for its artistic statement ‘Timelessness in the beauty of nature and Renaissance Art’.

In the art world, it’s not easy to find a good combination of professionalism & dedication,  together with a humanistic and sensitive approach to what the artist is striving to express though his work.  Whether the art will sell or not, when the curator believes in the art that is being displayed, the artist feels fulfilled in countless ways. The Romantic Tower at Villa Carlotta is unlike a commercial gallery, it’s a museum.  A great many people from all over the world come to Villa Carlotta to visit the botanical garden and to see the art being displayed. The people who came to see my artwork found something quite different for it is a combination of photography and painting.  Some were mesmerized and deeply touched by ‘Aenigma’, for it called upon the viewer to question its mysterious meaning. 

The Romantic Tower has two galleries, there is one with its glass rooftop on the upper level and another space on the lower level where a very talented artist from Argentina was displaying a beautiful installation with an environmental statement.  Patricia Miani takes empty bottles of water, cuts pieces like flower petals that she paints with acrylic. The petals are then attached on a string hanging from the ceiling, making a beautiful installation which she called, ‘Stellaria’.   

I have had exhibitions in a great many places such as Cairo, Paris, London, New York, Florence, Tunisia and Algeria, as well as in Montreal.  Each show has been an incredible experience and the people I have met in those places is what makes it an enriching journey. In this particular artistic adventure, I stayed in Lake Como for a whole month and as I spent much time with Elisa & Alessandro as well as with Patricia, we became like a family.  As a result, this whole artistic adventure turned into an adventure of the heart, Art & Friendship.  

 'Aenigma' the beginning of the installation
 Alessandro - the installation of Aenigma
 Alessandro doing a video interview for Villa Carlotta
 Interview - Alessandro explaining the meaning of 'La danse de la lumière'
 With Patricia Miani, Martha from Villa Carlotta
 Alessandro with art collector & friend - her preference 'L'heure bleue'
 Viewers expressed their preferences, 'La reine des bois' & 'L'heure bleue'

 Viewer expressed her preference 'Regard du passé'
 Patricia Miani with her installation 'Stellaria'
 Patricia Miani happy with her installation 'Stellaria'

 With Elisa & Patricia's friends from Brazil
Patricia with Elisa & her friend, Maria Elena from Brazil
 The main gate of Villa Carlotta with a view to Lake Como
 The gate at Villa Carlotta
 Garden & view of Lake Como from Villa Carlotta
L'Orangerie at Villa Carlotta

Friday, August 10, 2018

 Life & Friendship
Part 7 – Lake Como, Italy – The Arrival

The trip to Italy was a little more complicated than I had anticipated. At 6:30 in the morning, Louise drove me to the bus station in Villeneuve-sur-Lot and I was on my way to the train station in Agen.  From Agen to Toulouse Airport, I flew to Milan. From Malpensa airport I had to take the local train to Como via Milano.

Although I promised myself to travel light, I had bought some clothes as it got hotter than usual not realizing that my suitcase would be much heavier.  Going up and down the stairs to change trains was not easy.  Fortunately, some kind people helped me and especially this young handsome man who got on the train.  His stop was in Como as well and when he saw me struggle with my heavy suitcase, he carried it up the stairs and outside for me to wait for the bus.  By then, it was 8:30 at night and, needless to say, I was exhausted.

Almost two hours later, I was in Menaggio after a very scary bus ride on a narrow road along Lake Como.  When I got to Menaggio, there was one taxi but no driver.  In a restaurant near the taxi station, I could hear people cheering and shouting for it was the World Cup playing on television.  I went inside and asked the manager if he knew where the taxi driver was, so he shouted, hey Mario, you have a client! I learned thereafter that there were two taxi drivers in Menaggio, Mario and Marcello.  How sweet it is to be in Italy!

I met up with Alessandro who showed me around Menaggio.  The next day, we went to see Bruno at the gallery (Galleria Tettamanti) for the mounting of my artwork for the show at Villa Carlotta.  Bruno and his sister, Lorella, own and run the galleria with that special mindset of artisans whose work is a labor of love.  I could feel their energy, that of people who are passionate about life and the arts.

Bruno is part of Alessandro’s great many contacts in Lake Como, he lives with his family in Bellagio.  I met Alessandro and Elisa at the Florence Biennale last year during which time they approached me to work together with their organization, Tablinum Cultural Management (TCM).  TCM operates on a more personal and humanistic approach in the realm of the arts and culture.   Alessandro is the Executive Managing Director and Elisa is the Curator with an in-depth knowledge of the arts. 

In January of this year, they invited me to show  my new series ‘Aenigma’ at Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo.  This was the beginning of a one-month stay in Lake Como, an incredible journey to a mesmerizing place where one can truly be in tune with the elements of nature.  Thanks to Elisa & Alessandro, this incredible adventure is one of the most memorable experiences of my life’s new chapter. 

 First night in Menaggio with Elisa & Alessandro
Bruno at the gallery
 Happy Lorella
 With Lorella at the gallery to sign my artwork
 Elisa, Alessandro, Isabella & Glauco
 With Bruno at the gallery 
The signing of my artwork at Tettamanti Galleria
Tablinum (Elisa & Alessandro) at Villa Carlotta

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Life & Friendship
Part 6 – Pujols, France

I left Bordeaux in the early morning hours for Pujols to see my friend, Louise, whom I hadn’t seen since 2012.  I was also meeting up with my dear friends, Fay & Terry, who were driving from Brittany.  Once again, I was leaving the city to find myself in a small medieval village where Louise lives during the summer months.

Her home is not the typical house, but a 12th Century Manor that sits on a fortress, ''La Souleillane''.  Pujols, a fortified town, is one of France’s most beautiful villages perched on a hill near Villeneuve-sur-Lot. Pujols is also the most famous and most popular route of Santiago de Compostela.  At that point, I felt that my trip was in some way a pilgrimage in search of spiritual significance.  In my case though, I was not going to some shrine or temple, but it was rather a journey within to find more meaning in my life while sharing precious moments with my friends.

Louise is a wonderful hostess who makes everyone feel at home and we all know that the food is always fresh & delicious. It’s the kind of place where each day is filled with the most lively conversations and especially so when Fay & Terry bring their interesting point of view.  All three of them are very well-read and informed intellectuals with a great sense of humor.

Fay and Louise met at SOAS University of London (The School of Oriental and African studies) and have remained friends.  I met Fay & Terry at Louise’s a while ago when I was married for she was a friend of my ex-husband. After my divorce, Louise was kind enough to invite me to visit on my own.  She remained a friend and did not put me aside as a result of my being divorced.  Sadly and in many cases, friends I had while I was married no longer wanted to have me around.  I guess I became a threat for some reason but in Louise’s case it never occurred to her to behave in such a way, a character trait of the goodness of her heart I truly admire.

When I first moved to New York, Fay was the first to visit me in 2009 when I was living in Tudor City.  She was there on business and to see her lovely daughter, who does research at the Rockefeller Institute Hospital in New York.  Fay is a wonderful friend and very dear to me. When she learned that I was diagnosed with cancer, she flew over from England to take care of me in New York.  I felt so grateful and, still to this day, to have Fay in my life. Before she returned to England, I organized a dinner at the local café, Tudor Café, with all my friends to thank her and to celebrate Life & Friendship.  

To this day, our Life & Friendship group has grown and is now part of our regular gatherings.  When in search of meaning, I think of my family of friends who have enriched my life in such a way, that money and all that material stuff we tend to accumulate will ever bring me to fulfill my life. To live from the heart is the only way for me to live and I strive to infuse my art with this message of peace, love, beauty and harmony!

Louise at La Souleillane

 Fay & Terry
 Fay cooking Biryhani for guests who showed up the next day!

 Dining Room at La Souleillane
 Living Room at La Souleillane
 Living Room at La Souleillane
 The view with the full moon at la Souleillane
 La souleillane

 Louise in the kitchen at La Souleillane