Interview to the artist: Sergio Masala

Based in Genoa, Sergio Marsala is an artist and illustrator from Modena, starting his career with Franco Buffarello, Sandro Cortesogno, Lele Luzzati, Gianni Polidori, Sergio Fedriani. Bouncing between theatre stage and comic illustration, the artist plays with familiar figuration and everyday suggestion to understand our daily life. In the solo exhibition snaturar corrivo, for example, Masala portraits little monsters representing the doubts that we try to hide every day. These creatures, however, are funny and clumsy to remind us that we can learn how to playfully face our fear.

Exhibiting between Italy, England and Franch, Sergio is also juggling between different activities that are constantly feeding the diversity of his work. Moving between children illustration, underground publishing and collaboration with theatres and cultural events, the artist explores different medium and approach to specialise in collage.

Sergio is now getting ready for his new exhibition for the Coaster Show 2018 edition in Los Angeles, after participating to last year edition. While we are waiting for his new creations, we asked Sergio about his work and his last project Lost People, a group exhibition about loneliness, travelling and identity. Presented for the first time at the Beu-Beu Art Festival, Lost Kids combines the playful approach of the artist with a reflection on identity in a fast and mobile world in which we constantly rush to become adult and too often we forget how to play.

Lost Kids
  • You are mainly working on stage design and illustration, specialising in collage. What do you like most of these techniques?

For what concerns the first two activities, which I usually approach in a similar way, it is the opportunity to interact with the text (dramatic in the first case, narrative in the second); I have always been interested in capturing the suggestion from the world of literature to transform them within visible ambient and imagine.

The technique of collage fascinates me for the opportunity of creating something new, re-using/re-locating/attributing a new meaning to something already there, even better if it is useless but conserving a trace of the previous story. I often reuse wastes for my creation, both for stage design and illustration. In a similar way, lately, cardboard is my favourite support for painting and drawing.  

  • You have also organising children workshop. How did this activity influence your artistic creativity?

My research began years ago from a childish approach to drawing rather than academic, to which I have always been deeply connected to. I carefully observe how kids are drawing in preschools and I have a small collection of their works that I often look up to take inspiration. Actually, that’s also why my work for LP, Lost People exhibition is Lost Kids. For the same reason, I have always been attracted by ethnic art and Art Brut. Any time I have the chance to make a painting with kids I do learn something new.

  • Are the subjects of your pieces connected or inspired by your every-day life?

I would rather say that they are inspired by my oniric life, which most likely is largely influenced by my every-day and previous life, by the art I have seen and by.. what I have eaten for dinner!

I try as much as I can do something out by dreams, imaginary character and atmosphere, which is not easy at all.

  • How do you relate the themes of LPLostPeople with your individual and artistic vision of the world, also considering the Italian socio-political context?

When I draw my pieces, I  let my inspiration to come out unconsciously and automatically, and the same was for the theme of the exhibition. the Italian socio-political context has probably emphasised my tendency in depicting the monstrous, nowadays very relevant theme.


A month after… Noisily!

Last month, Noisily Festival opened its beautiful field on the 5thof July, lost in the deep Coney Wood in Leicestershire. Since its debut in 2012, the Festival keeps growing through a combination of music and arts to inspire passion, self-expression, a sense of community and connection with nature. 

For its seventh year, Noisily opened in the Soul, Mind and Body area with a small art gallery; a little tent to play with colours and drawing; a telescope to look at the stars; and a first taste of the amazing music set for the weekend.

The line-up for this year spanned techno, psy-trance and experimental bass, showing their intentions of offering a wider range of music to attract different people without losing the elements of originality and discovery. In the Noisily Stage, you could dance on the house-techno vibes of Solee, Louie Cut or James Monro, while the Liquid Stage dedicated its deconstructed geometrical shapes to psy-trance with the shows of 4D, Bad Tango or Symbolic. Almost hidden between the stands, the Leisure Centre was playing all kinds of music, from spoken word to dub, while the Three House Stage moved the dance floor with Ed Solo, Far Too Laud, The Chicken Brothers and Slug Wife.

The stages in the woods were spread around a central space in which everyone could enjoy artisan food, circus and fire performances, as well as simply talk about the night on the floor with someone you never met before. Or you could just get lost in the woods and follow the lights installation almost hidden in alternative paths between the stages, or discover paintings in progress, wooden constructions and hidden games, interacting not only with the festival but also with the peculiar atmosphere of the wood.

Two site-specific, interactive art installations were particular examples to see the proactive interaction between people and the external environment. Symbiosis is a dome-shaped installation that aims to combine technology and art in the peaceful environment of the wood. Created by the artist Kira Zhigalina, the sound designer Andrey Novikov and the engineer Adrian Godwin, the installation plays with sensors and LED lights, which move following the breath of the participants inside the intimate ‘igloo’, stimulating a deeper sense of connection with yourself, the others and the environment. The second installation Rebirth, by the artists collective Madin, is a giant egg made out of recycled pallet wood, which people could get in and feel intimately connected in this bubble that gave the illusion of floating in the wood.

These two installations are programmatic examples of the intention of offering a ground in which anyone is free to express him or her self, respecting the others and the environment outside the usual labels of our society. If, generally, festivals are seen as places in which to completely disconnect with reality and stop thinking about the contradictions of our time, in contrast Noisily proposes an alternative approach to the issues characterising our society. The program ‘looking after the wood’, for example, made people and traders think about how to avoid the overproduction of plastic and rubbish to respect the wood, while art and installation created alternative occasions for encounters with people outside your usual social circle.


In this sense, Rebirth and Symbiosis enclose this deep intention at the core of the Festival. Made out of recycled material, both installations proposed an alternative way to combine the importance of responding to the environmental issues with the necessity of stimulating an alternative understanding to connect to the diversity around us. Rather than playing with spectacular installations that can surprise for short time, the Noisily team is committed to leaving memories that you can bring with you to your everyday life.

That’s what makes this festival so unique. Noisily offers a peculiar example to think of the potential of festivals to suggest an individual sense of responsibility and critical reflection while having fun. The magic environment of the woods, in combination with music and art, stimulates this deep sense of connection, interaction and dialogue. It reflects the need to understand our complex and contradictory society through new schemes, rather than lazily relying on old mind structures. Wishing to see the festival on the edge of the mainstream dynamics again next year, we look forward to seeing how the decoration in the wood and the music will stimulate new connections and new approaches to proactively respond to our society, while having a lot of fun!

Down town in the hell

  On the 7thof January, Inferno store re-opened in Rome with an intense new cultural season of book, music records and art. The old record shop Hellnation, belonging to Roberto Gagliardi, is now directed by Claudia Acciarino , Antonio Olivieri, both musician, and Martina Ronca, punk singer and curator, that are playing with their different background to give a unique personality to the small shop.


At the beginning of January, the new direction celebrated the new season of adventure with three days event with music, live painting from Marco About and Sicks, a live showcase of uBiK, books, comics and accessories.  This Saturday, Inferno Store opens its space for a recording label To Lose Track listening day, curated by Capperi! (LAGS), distribute by AudioGlobe.

The vibrant and eclectic vibes of the store frame the works of the Roman artist Debora Malis for the solo exhibition Mi Odio, curated by Rossana Calbi, in collaboration with Strange Opera.

The artist, in her peculiar feminine touch, shapes the ‘bad thoughts’ of a good girl in terracotta polychrome, illustrating the female soul between delicacy and provocation. The childish feeling of fear connected with these thoughts is transforming to accept the confusion and contradiction of being a woman. The expression of this femininity finds a balance with the others around, especially with his male counterpart the right provocation to understand her.


In this continuous research of new forms and expression, Mi Odio shows us a peaceful and hilarious way of accepting contradictions and incongruities of a female soul, in which we can all recognise. With her feminine and intimate approach, Debora transforms confused thoughts, doubts and fears into works of art.

The exhibition of Debora Malis, combined with the events organised by the new direction of Inferno Store, offers us an interesting overview of the Roman cultural underground. The mix of different background, styles and disciplines not only creates an occasion of encounter, but also the opportunity of experimenting a different cultural approach outside the art event.





HeArts – Exhibition by 31 Women

Last Saturday, Sala Blu Gallery launched HeArts – Exhibition by 31 Women, curated by Rossana Calbi in collaboration with Linda de Zen. This show collects 31 portraits captured by Laura Penna, and it will run in Rome until the 30thof September.


It was 1943, when Peggy Guggenheim’s female exhibition,The exhibition by 31 women, took place in New York between several critics. In these unforgettable times, the role of women was changing because of the war and the constant need of help was slowly transforming the structure of society. The general mentality, however, was still deeply entangled with traditional ideas and the exhibition was so criticised that even “The Time” refused to talk about.


Behind all the controversial polemic, the show is still inspiring contemporary initiative with new meanings and interpretations. In collaboration with Rossana Calbi and Linda de Zen, the artist Laura Penna photographed 31 women from the art, theatre, music and sport Italian scene, to homage to Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition.


With her photos, the artist wanted to immortalise the tenacious attitude and the unique personality of the artists and athletes protagonists of her project. The intent of the photographer is to highlight the authentic expression of these women, that are keeping transforming themselves and their passion for the society, constantly looking for an alternative way of being women today. The exhibition shows us new possibilities for our role in the society, without forcing any label but leaving it to our individual research.

The open and ongoing nature of the project created connections between the photographer and the artists, who decided to contribute to this research not only with their portraits but also with their creations. These new connections offered the opportunity for lateral events. During the opening weekend, Laura Penna captured with her camera other artists to add to her collection; or the live painting of Gerlanda di Francia to present “Aurora nel Buio” of Barbara Baraldi, on the 22ndof September.


The debate on the role of woman today is still vivid and far from its end. This exhibition illustrates us alternative examples of being women, giving us the opportunity to open a conversation and reflect on our self from a different angle.


I had the chance to ask the artist Laura Penna about her project:


–          The most criticized Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition inspired you and Rossana Calbi for the content of this show. Today the genre debate is still vivid and complex, there is any particular reason why you decided to dedicate this exhibition to the women universe? 

I had already photographed several women and I have always found it good to share ideas, projects and unconventional shooting with them.

When I was reading the biography of Peggy Guggenheim, I find this fascinating story of the EXHIBITION BY 31 WOMEN project. At that time, that exhibition was almost a scandal, the art world considered male artists only.

This kind of consideration has certainly changed since then, but unfortunately, some discrimination occurs still today.  heArts was born merging these considerations. It’s a project that aims to enhance female’s arts.


–          You photographed 31 different women from the art, theatre, music and sports world. What captured your interest in their stories?

The project started from the music world, the closest one to my background.

Then I tried to push my research on the artistic field where I had never worked. It was really exciting to know personally writers and painters whom I knew only through their work.

Also, there was the meeting with Alice Caligiuri, Kickboxing champion. A wonderful soul, full of contrasts. Shy, at first, and then explosive.

On the set in his gym, we had a lot of fun.

With each artist was born a special feeling and with some of them, a real friendship.


–          You have been always working with backstage, music and portraits. How this project connects with your previews work?  

I have joined two great passions: music and image. For 10 years I collaborated with music webzine and magazine

For this reason, in my first project “ALT – Artists like Them”,  the portraits were made exclusively with musicians.

For ALT I was inspired by the photos of famous artists and painters of 900. I did a great search in the art and photography world. A research that has continued over time until the heArts idea.

These projects are definitely related to each other.


Jupiter in Saturn

“Jupiter in Saturn” debuts tonight at Fondaco space with the works of Fabio Timpanaro and the sounds of Luca Longobardi. Curated by Nero Gallery, this exhibition is an anticipation of a show that will run in January to celebrate Twin Peaks of David Lynch, host of honour of the 12° edition of the International Film Festival of Rome.


David Lynch is one of the most innovative and eclectic firms of contemporary filmmakers. In occasion of the 50° anniversary of his career, the International Film Festival of Rome invited the director to tribute his works with the Premio alla Carriera. Master of uncanny, surreal atmosphere, twofold meaning and lack of linearity, Lynch is a director, screenwriter, producer, painter, musician, actor, and photographer. Parallel to the award ceremony, Nero Gallery organised a pop-up event to celebrate Twin Peaks, the famous series that has revolutionised the world and the language of TV shows.

“Jupiter in Saturn” is an exhibition that collects the works of Fabio Timpanaro, digital artist and creative director who dedicated his last works to the disquieting story of this small logging town five miles south of the Canadian border. Working on the mystery around the characters and the surreal atmosphere of the village, the artist offers us an overview of the peculiar symbolic language that makes Lyncian’s works open to several interpretations. Lynch inspired Timpanaro not only for the peculiar innovation of his works, but also for his artistic exploration. The works presented at the exhibition are characterised by an original combination of photography, digital and oil painting, which reflects the mystical and symbolic universe of Twin Peaks. In conjunction, Luca Longobardi curated an audio installation entitled 2357, that plays with the timbre and metric research of the sound imagery of the surreal world created by Lynch.

While we are waiting for the collective exhibition that will be run from January at the Nero Gallery, this anticipation makes us think about how the director is not only an inspiration for the world of cinema and photography, but also for the artistic research in a broader sense.  The peculiarity of this tribute is the creative play that Timpanaro and Longobardi have to engage with their own medium and the open interpretation they left to the viewer, rather than a linear and clear reference to an artist that cannot be classified because of his individual exploration.

Eastern palace for pleasure

On Wednesday, at the Nero Gallery in Rome, ended  “Eastern palace for pleasure’. For this solo exhibition, the curators Daphnée Thibaud and Giulia Capogna collected the works of Tony Cheung, Chinese artist who plays with pop illustration and ceramic on the contradiction of his culture.

Over the centuries, Chinese influences captured our imagination with fascinating manufacturing of silk and ceramic, and the variety of traditions and languages still evolving and transforming within the society. The connection with this immense land increased with the economic crisis in Europe, when the role of China as superpower became every day more evident in our economy. However, what we know about this vast and variegated land is only a small angle of the whole picture.

Since 2008, Beijing government has been filtering and detecting any information or channel of communication that could create doubts or discussion on the political moves of the government. YouTube, Google, Whatsapp or Social Media, which in the Western world are basically necessary to be part of the society, are totally forbidden in almost the all country. Beyond what we can see on the surface, the internal differences create contradiction not only for the political party, but also for the identity of the citizen.



Tony Cheung, from Canton, based his works on this social contradiction with a combination of Japanese manga, old Chinese painting, ceramic and the political posters of the Mao period. Tony began his artistic career with “Sensitive Words”, a project to investigate the evolution of the meaning of words under censorship, and the limits of expression on Internet and channel of communications. The artist’s illustrations highlight the contradiction in the society, analysing how ancient tradition and globalization are affecting the individual expression.

With a sarcastic vein, the artist plays on the commonplace connected with his culture, like school uniform or transformation of sexuality, illustrating how old and global tendencies are forming new shapes in Chinese society. Using traditional medium as illustration and ceramic, the artist proposes unexpected, dirty content without filter or easy moral.

The interesting aspect of the artist’s project is the lack of intention of leading the visitor to a fixed interpretation. In opposition with the philosophy of censorship and obvious categorisations, the artist leaves the observer free to give is own interpretation, without any label, but using the eyes of the artist to develop a personal understanding. This is a brilliant example of integration between two different cultures, where the opportunity for a “meeting” is left to the work of art, and how they move our sensibility or interest, rather than to a ready-made product that promotes the same, easy, meaning for everyone.

Beu-Beu Art Festival!!

Yesterday ended the first edition of Beu-Beu Art Festival in Badia di Ruoti, a small village in the heart of Tuscany. The festival has been organised by Schimen Onlus with the collaboration of the associations Eureka and Strange Opera to present the works of over 70 artists through exhibitions, workshops, music and talks.

This was the first time for the Beu-Beu festival, a mix of contemporary art, illustration, publishing industry and workshops. Placed in a small village near Arezzo, the festival offered an overview of Italian contemporary art performing in the unique landscape of Tuscany’s countryside. Playing with the traditional atmosphere of the location, the exhibitions were spread through the walls of the XI century Abbacy of Badia di Ruoti to create an innovative contrast between the art and the place.

Example of this combination are the skates painted by the roman artists for the exhibition SKATE HEART ROMA, an idea of Davide Orlando and Valentina Roccanuova; or Fabulae, a collection of 10 artists presenting the ancient tales of Fedro; or the first collection of woman illustrators in Graphiste. Curated by Rossana Calbi are also the solo shows of Francesco Viscuso, Folklore, and Sergio Marsala, Snaturar Corrivo, that presented their work to celebrate the first edition festival.

In addition to the shows displayed in the Abbacy, the festival spread around the small town during the weekend interacting with the visitors with several activities. For the project WOODoo, following the idea of Marina Ronca, five artists invited the walkers to play with the big wooden man. Meantime, in Ambra, a small town next to Badia di Ruoti, the artists Nicola Alessandrini and Lisa Gelli live painted the first mural in the area of Bucine, inviting the visitor to discover the land while looking for the art.

The audience has been actively involved to be part of the festival during the whole weekend. The children could enjoy the editorial workshop Il Mondo Extra-Ordinario with Laura Caputo, while everyone could play with wood with Robox, or learn about serigraphy with Andrea Baldelli.

During the evening, you could enjoy a dinner made with local products waiting for the film projection of Virginia Mori or the independent music and DJ set. The artists Francesca Toscano e Francesco Viscuso framed the concerts with Il ramo d’oro, a floral site-specific installation created in harmony with the location and the atmosphere of the small village.

The artistic direction formed by the artist Marco About, the musician Luca Zampi and the curator Rossana Calbi gave space to independent art usually on the edge, offering a brilliant and variegated overview of contemporary art through music, visual art and talks with editors. The visitors weren’t only invited in discovering the art, but also the place.

And here I found the real peculiarity of this initiative.

Organized in a rural town of Tuscany, the festival kept is traditional background presenting avant-garde and cutting-edge art product of our time. The market and the food were local, offering the chance to small businesses to present their products, and their land. Rather than being stacked in saving a tradition that it is not going to be shown anywhere, the organisation of this festival illustrated us a concrete alternative to conserve our unique tradition through the pluralism characteristic of contemporary art, offering a new way to live our culture.



Betwixt and Between, CirqOn the Seam


“Betwixt and Between’ debuted on the 24thof February at Circomedia, presented by CirqOn the Seam. The story tells how two women, interpreted by Océane Sunniva Peillet and Alice Watson, learnt how to communicate crossing a linguistic, and cultural, divide. Directed by Gwen Hales, the show used an experimental mix of physical theatre and acrobatic techniques to tell us their story.


CirqOn the Seam is a rising company that investigates the boundaries between disciplines, mixing physical theatre and aerial techniques. Their debut show, “Betwixt and Between”, explored the power of physical communication working around the limits of verbal language.

The story was about two women that met in a world outside of space and time. One being Spanish and the other being French, the only thing we could recognise about them was their different languages. But this time the words could not create a bridge between them to start with; on the contrary, words created a barrier in the understanding, not only for the two characters but also for the public. However, even without understanding the spoken language, the personality of the two women was immediately delineated: the French character, interpreted by Océanne, is loud and a bit clumsy, firm and determinate in her intention while the Spanish character, interpreted by Alice, is carefree, playful, graceful and quite silent.

Their story began around crossed ropes and twinned trapeze bars. When the two-crossed trapezes separated, it became apparent that the ropes were attached to each other via pulleys. And that’s how the relationship between the two women started to develop authentically. Because of the connection between the two trapezes, they had to abandon the verbal communication to play together instead, interacting physically with each other’s movements and forms.

Through these games, also our impression of their relationship evolved throughout the piece, driven by the artistic interpretations of the two performers rather than the technical ability required to use the equipment. It is because of this “childish and playful” approach to the trapeze that the audience came to understand this silent conversation, breaking down the communication barrier created by the language.


I have interviewed Gwen Hales, the director, to find out about their company and their work behind the scenes.

1 – “Betwixt and Between” is your debut show as a company. What is the main interest that brought you to work together? And what are the future projects to further develop the physical research of your company?

I was brought in as a circus director to work with Alice & Oceane after they decided to apply for funding to make a show. They’d been experimenting together for a while before I got involved, and I was intrigued by their ideas. Both were experienced trapeze artists before working together on this new piece of equipment which was 2 trapezes with the ropes attached to each other via pulleys.

PersonalIy, I have spent lots of time working with pulley-based aerial equipment. I find myself fascinated by simple mechanics, and love to investigate how circus bodies can interact with ropes & pulleys to create height and interesting visuals. As a director I like to create as much of a 3D picture as possible.


2- The equipment you used for the show, two trapezes with ropes attached to each other via pulleys, is particularly hard and required a lot of experience on areal equipment. However, the show focuses more on on the development of the two characters rather than on the experience of the two performers. How did these choices influence the personality of the two characters on the scene?

The equipment itself has it’s own character, and there was no way we could ignore that. We called it “The Beast” because, although quite exciting, it had a habit of pinching fingers and toes, and was quite unpredictable at times. The manner in which the two trapezes are connected means that weight must be balanced – and this lends itself to telling a story about balance. Oceane is slightly heavier than Alice, so there was an inherent inequality to their physical journeys on & around “The Beast”. These inescapable facts led us to playing with the differences between Oceane & Alice, physical differences and emotional differences. The development of the characters emerged slowly, as we explored the nature of “The Beast” further.


3- The two women of your story have learnt how to trust each other and cross their cultural divide only when they abandoned the verbal communication. On the other hand, the latest political developments are slowly bringing us to give more and more importance to our cultural origins and to the differences between us. How would you relate the meaning of your story with the global situation?

We knew the show was about miscommunication and during some of the rehearsal sessions, we talked about the refugee situation. We discussed a situation where you might find yourself in a place where you don’t speak the language or understand the cultural niceties of the land you end up in. Misunderstandings can occur through language, but also through not being able to ‘read’ the culturally-normalised physical actions of another person. For instance, when greeting someone, where you are normally ‘allowed’ to touch each other is different for different cultures – holding hands, touching noses, slapping someone on the shoulder.

I think that through the show, we are saying that acceptance & curiosity are useful tools if we are to understand another’s strangeness.

My own personal take on the current global situation is that problems are made worse when people stop trying to communicate. This is the same for close personal relationships as for nation-leaders.

Amaneï, a magic place on the island

Musae opened on the 3rdof August, a solo exhibition dedicated to the legendary figures inspiration of Art and Beauty. Curated by Rossana Calbi, the solo exhibition of Elena Cernaria will run until the 30thof September in Amaneï, a centre of art and dialogue on the island of Salina, Sicily.


Amaneï is a small late 19thcentury palazzo lost in the middle of the sea of the Aeolian archipelago, in the heart of the village of Santa Maria. Abandoned since the First World War, the house was reopened in 2005 as a charity with the aim of promoting art through several disciplines. The idea was to create a meeting space to promote art and cultural events, with the intent of using the atmosphere of the island to explore the dialogue not only between artists and disciplines, but also with an examination of the history of the place. Recently, with the collaboration of Parione9 gallery, the house has also become a residence for artists, creating the opportunity for artists and curators to explore new ideas within close proximity to one another.


The peculiar and suggestive atmosphere of the house inspired the curator Rossana Calbi to play with mixing contemporary art and the island’s tradition with different projects that will run until the end of September. The last to open is Musae, a homage of the artist Elena Cermaria to the Greek divinities, which inspired the artists for their masterpieces since time immemorial. With her peculiar style of painting, the artist portraits her motionless seven Muses, inspired by the timeless and evocative shore of the islands.


The peculiar atmosphere that characterises the sea offers the opportunity for the curator and the artists to find a personal key to develop their relationship with the tradition of the island and their personal style. Gerlanda di Francia, in her solo exhibition Treasure Island, portrayed the mysterious protagonists of the legends of the Aeolian islands. Accomplished with the intriguing music of Alice Pelle, the artist collected different elements from the island to frame her mermaids and old sea tales, like precious boxes to safeguard the secrets of the sea from human eyes. On the other side, for his show Fish&Chips, Marco About decided to make a homage to the sea life of the island with his characteristic humoristic style. The Roman artist went fishing in the Aeolian seas to capture the typical undersea life to portray them on silk-screen printing.



The house has been reopened with the original architecture restored in detail, with the intent of promoting the potential of the island respecting its traditional history. Amaneï opens the opportunity to explore different thematic and artistic research. With Yoga on my Skin, Rossana Calbi and Giulia Piccioni investigates the fundamentals of yoga practice. 9 tattoos artists illustrate the interplay of the Asana with the Chakra, exploring the connection between the physical body and the energies that guide us in the journey of awareness from the Earth to the Sky. While Tarot, is a collective exhibition of 22 artists promoted by Stigmagazine. Each artist gave their reinterpretation of one of the Major Arcane, offering an overview of this old tradition. The variety of the style of the artists reflects the fickle nature of the Tarot, which is not the truth but a mirror that transforms itself with what you see inside.

The experimental attitude of Amaneï offers the chance to see how the tradition can fuse with the art in a way that is typical of our contemporary society.  The variety of exhibitions and artists gave us the chance to enjoy the art in alternative vibes, creating an innovative meeting with our culture.


Fabulae is a collective exhibition of 10 street artists inspired by the collection of fables written by the Latin author Phaedrus. Curated by Rossana Calbi, the exhibition will run until the 29thof July at the Sala Blu Gallery in Rome.

Phaedrus was a slave who lived in the ancient Rome during the 1 century A.D. Freed by Emperor Augustus for his literary talent, Phaedrus introduced the genre of fables into Latin literature. As his Greek master Aesop, Phaedrus used exempla with animals to create allegories warning against life’s dangers and describe human behaviour. Observing his time and his socio-political situation, Phaedrus developed his unique vision of life, using the simple vocabulary allowed by fable, to be understood by anyone through a lesson thought a the end of any short story. Linked with the cynical philosophy of Diogenes, the author used animals to illustrate his idea of society, which he saw divided by power games, where dog eats dog, and the weaker, less powerful lower classes that simply had to accept the absence of justice and the fear and resignation that brought with it. Phaedrus translated his vision of reality to illustrate the inevitable corruption of the society, where the hope in justice or mercy completely lacked, even trying to save who is stronger than you in a moment of need. Strong examples of this idea are The man and the adder, work presented by Alt97, or The wolf and Crane, presented in a medieval style of painting by Lucamaleonte, where helping the evils means death instead of reward.



The intent of these lessons, however, has never been to inspire a revolution in those oppressed lower classes, but to teach one to see the world with eyes anew, so that one might learn and inspire personal change. According to this idea, 10 street artists have been challenged by Rossana Calbi to give a contemporary interpretation of the lessons thought at the end of the short stories borrowed from our childhood imagination. The artists reshaped the moral core of Phaedrus’ work, respecting the variety of the themes with the variety of their style and background. The 10 artworks on canvas shown by the artists match and echo Phaedrus’ lessons, giving us the chance to reflect on dynamics still current in our society from a different angle. For example, The proud frog, reshaped by Iron Mould with an abstract and fragmentary style of painting, reminds us the waste effort we use to appear like someone else rather than improve our self; or The dog an the wolf, drawn by Matteo Brogi, who painted the character a strong human expression, makes us question on the price of freedom compared with a life of comfort; while The battle of the mice and weasels, that ORGH painted with a style that reminds us a child cartoon, touches the dilemma on the role of our commanders, a thematic issues which still bears cultural significance and saliency.



It is impressive how these stories coming from a time so far from us have still the power of making us question our society, overall if translated in a form of art so connected with our own society. The lessons though by Phaedrus never expected a revolution, but the intent was finding a universal key to talk to anyone was living in that society. The universal language of the street art gave us another opportunity to question and observe our contemporary time starting from stories that belong to our past. Once again, art may be the key to seeing our world with new eyes, from a new view not resigned to believe that our actions bear little consequence upon the world we inhabit. In the end, as Phaedrus said in The wasp and the butterfly, brilliantly recapped by Shone, “It does no matter what we used to be: the important thing is what we are now!”.