1st symposium of sculpture at Nostravita
by Alessandro Toni
Foto by Fabio Corradini e Donatella Toni
Reggio Emilia, March 2020
What I’m about to describe is a journey to the beautiful village of Montalcino. But I’m not going to tell you about its castle or its hills or its vineyards or its stone walls. What remains of my journey is Annibale’s family, his wife Elena, their home, their vineyard and their three daughters Giuditta, Valentina and Carlotta: their hospitality and their love of life.
I remember the great oak trees which surround their house along with many sculptures by visiting artists. I remember the songs of Guccini and De Andre playing in the background; the wine, the pipes made by Annibale, his work on botany and his research on local history.
I will remember their red wine and their ability to make you feel at home for the rest of my life.
I have only known Annibale for a couple of years, we met thanks to a mutual friend who is keen on wine, cycling and the Val d’Orcia! Thanks to this contact, I met Annibale and he invited me to be an artist in residence in September 2018. That year, I didn’t just leave my heart at NostraVita but also Dionisio: a sculpture, to protect their vineyard, in travertine stone that Annibale had had for some time.
I remember that warm but delicate summer, my travel companions were my sister and a great desire to work. I remember the hugs, the goodbyes... with the promise to return to work on a new project.
But just a few weeks before my second visit was to take place, something enormous happened which will alter NostraVita forever. In August last year Giuditta, Annibale’s eldest daughter lost her life in a mountaineering accident together with her partner Gianfranco who I had also got to know well the previous year at NostraVita.
Carlotta phoned me with the news and everything stopped for an endless moment.
However Giuditta’s typical resilience was soon felt in the hearts of the Parisi family, they asked me to continue with the project and to bring not only art to NostraVita but also feelings, hope and good company.
Annibale doesn’t give up, he is a fighter in life.
So I returned as a guest for a Sculpture Symposium with a group of marvellous friends, all from the Canossa School of Sculpture, all with the same desire to be an ally, to feel part of the beauty of this world; Graziella Monari, Paolo Soragni, Carlo Veronesi.
Paolo and I worked on a ‘Friendship Bench’ where our two pieces of stone will be joined together with a seat of ancient oak. Carlo sculpted a bird pecking at a grape and Graziella, a fox intent on eating a bunch of grapes.
We will be back as soon as it is possible to finish our works and position them, because despite everything... the journey continues!
And inside me, the feeling continues that I have learnt that Art also contains our emotions, it is there even when we feel that there is nothing. When you feel lost, Art is there with a feeling, a song, the words of a child, a sculpted stone or a piece of modelled clay.
Let’s take from this special place the reminder to always enjoy life and beauty to the full.
Cheers to NostraVita, and cheers to our journey!
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