CiaoAmerica! Profile of the Month
Washington DC-area artist Sofia Caligiuri
CiaoAmerica! Profile: Artist Sofia Caligiuri
"Balancing cultures is an art that is worth mastering"
11|01|19 ~ CiaoAmerica! introduces a new feature - a series of interviews with fascinating Italians and Italian Americans. We will ask each of them five questions dealing with their lives, work and approach to life as Italians and Italian Americans.
Our first profile subject is artist Sofia Caligiuri, a native of Calabria who has shared her time both in Calabria and metropolitan Washington DC over the past 22 years. Sofia says she takes inspiration from both countries, "What I am certain of is that balancing cultures is an art that is worth mastering."
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an Italian artist who lives and works in the Washington DC metropolitan area. I was born in Calabria and later moved to Rome, where I studied as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts under Alberto Ziveri. My favorite teachers included Fiorella Diamantini and Arnoldo Ciarrocchi, an exquisite Master Etcher who also taught Maccari. We used to have etching lessons on Saturday mornings, while eating pizza bianca sprinkled with oiland salt accompanied by a couple sips of wine. In this way, students enjoyed both intellectual and physical nourishment. I remember that it felt like a mystical experience each time.
I illustrated several journals in Italy, and havepublished two books“Le Novellette” Artemide Edizioni, Roma, Italy 2004, and “The Fief, a story of love and other virtues” Artemide Edizioni, 2002 Roma, Italy. http://www.artemide-edizioni.com/letteratura.html. I have held exhibitions of my artwork in Italy and in the United States. http://www.marninart.net/sofiacaligiuri http://caligiurifineart.com/home.html
What appeals to you most about Italy? About the U.S.?
I do believe in friendship, in creating value in society in order to build a better future. To me life is a wonderful gift worth appreciating. For this reason I learned to cherish both cultures. I consider myself blessed for the many years I have been able to spend my summers in Italy. There, I have family and friends that I like to visit.
I must say that one of the appointments I enjoy most is the one I have with my little studio in Capo Rizzuto. I like to go back to the light and the colors, the texture and the flavors of Calabria, although I always stop in Rome first. After all, I do consider it my hometown. I get to visit the latest art exhibition, or archaeological site open to the public, along with visiting my old friends from the Academy of fine Arts, some of whom are well known artists.
In the United States I have my house, my studio. My Falls, Winters and Springs each have different nuances and novelties. I guess that if one learns to appreciate life, it does not really matter where they live. Every time I land in one of the International airports I feel at home. In the U.S., I can materialize all the impressions and thoughts I have collected elsewhere and actually do something with them through my art. To me, the U.S. is still the land of opportunity.
What motivates you most in terms of your work?
My imagery emphasizes the idea that the impermanence of all phenomena underlies the search for the meaning of life. Therefore, I follow memories and thoughts as Traces that ultimately will bring me to find Evidence of how my life developed and what type of evolution I experienced.
In other terms, my work is a tool that I use to get to know myself better and especially to discover what kind of mission I have in this life and fully develop my own potential. My latest work is a double collection called Minimi Rilievi and Massimi Rilievi and it can be seen in a book that is going soon to be published under the title Rilievi.
The Minimi Rilievi collection is crafted by printing and embossing Arches and Fabriano papers. These pieces display themes of my everyday life. Minimi Rilievi: Tracce Marine (Nature) and Tracce di Civilizzazione.
Tracce Marine explores the rustic marine wilderness of Calabria, and its lacy intricacy. In contrast, Tracce di Civilizzazione is a composition of layered satin papers and crude tissue that veil and retain elements of iron and copper. It portrays the human footprint of concrete and rusty metal which often "spoils" coastlines. Tracce dell’Uomo represents traces of human artifacts, while Tracce in Natura represents floral images and footprints in the woods.
The Tracce dei Minimi Rilievi collection naturally progresses into Massimi Rilievi, the Evidence collection where the evolution of the concepts manifests themselves tangibly in a quasi-spherical form.
In the Evidence of Triton and the Evidence of Shells, the marine element asserts itself by defying the conventional role of art as a representation of reality. Evidences depict proof of the passage of time with tones spanning the luminous variations of the day to the saturated tones of the night. Similarly, the First Vortex and the Second Vortex assert the ephemeral nature of life through the representation of marine elements, moments before their disappearance into the vacuum of xistence.
Likewise, the synthesis of fragility and fullness portrayed in A Dozen Eggs represents the beautiful dichotomy of form and content that acts as a metaphor for life. The evanescent and luminescent way in which the mineral ingredient in A Dozen Eggs and Three Rocks of Salt captures the light symbolizes the intrinsic knowledge of man which is awakened by his search for awareness and the exploration of his own potential.
What are your favorite books/movies--Italian, American, or both?
I would really be lying if I said that I have a favorite book or movie. I usually am very interested in the last one I have seen or read. Nevertheless, I have a favorite piece of music lately. The Goldberg Variation from Bach, with Glenn Gould at the piano. It makes me feel ecstatic!
What words of wisdom can you share about your approach to life as both an Italian and an American?
I think of myself as a person who is still in search of herself and of her mission in life, therefore I would not dare to give advice to anyone. What I can state comes from my own experience. I have been living for 22 years in both countries, taking inspiration from Italy and finding ways to materialize them in the USA. What I am certain of is that balancing cultures is an art that is worth mastering.
| January 19, 2011 | © CiaoAmerica.net |