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sabato 30 agosto 2014

Maria Lai - Artist

She was born in Ulassai, in Ogliastra, the central eastern area of Sardinia. Having soon health problems, she  was sent home by some uncles in the Plain of Gairo, renouncing well to primary school. Forced to prolong her isolation, she discovers pretty soon  a passion for drawing. The family subsequently send the little Maria to Cagliari to attend secondary school. In Cagliari, among her teachers, there is Salvatore Cambosu  who first discovers her artistic attitude and will give birth in Maria a deep passion for poetry and for “the value of the rhythm of the words that leads to silence”. Her school formation was then completed between 1939 and 1945 in the Art School of Rome and at the University of Fine Arts in Venice. In all these years she has also to fight against a common male bias that opposed the presence of women in the arts field.  
From 1945 to 1954, she returned in Sardinia and taught drawing in some schools, but at the end of 1954 she moved back to Rome, driven also by the brother's death  in that same 1954. After a few exhibits, she undergoes a sort of rejection towards the design while she immerses into poetry. During the Sixties she  cultivated a relationship of deep friendship and artistic collaboration with the writer Giuseppe Dessi who lead Maria to rediscover the sense of Sardinian myths and legends. She increases her awareness that her Sardinian origin is an important and privileged condition.
 Maria Lai begins then to develop her art using the objects of the archaic past, with the basic idea of the past as a survey of the future. The year 1971 is a pivotal year for her, due to the death of her last remaining brother and to the first exhibit of "Looms". These looms and the works related to the theme of weaving in the form of boards, sewn books, or maps of the fantastic "Geographies," will continue throughout the course of her work. The texture plays a vital role in the life of the Sardinian communities, it is responsible for the deep values​​, such as the sense of family and the sense of territorial belonging. 
The performance "Be tied to the mountain" is emblematic in this respect: the idea of ​​the performance comes from a local legend that tells of a blue thread that links the houses of Ulassai up the mountain, this is the way to tie the houses to the mountain and prevent future landslides. The texture then is seen as a way of bonding, a way of protection and invisible spirit; But also, as a strong link which alloys many things and people that seem distant and seemingly irreconcilable. After the recent exhibits in the USA and in the prestigious European events, Maria Lai is fully considered the most significant artist in Sardinia and one of the most important figures of Italian Culture in the second half of the Twentieth Century.