Legato is on the move. A proud but still incredulous bus driver managed to load his delicate cargo with skills that would make a tetris player weep!
Paintings were sorted into "large, small, well protected, less cushioned, works with glass, extra fragile..." and then slotted into the van with great care. There wasn't a cubic inch to spare, and in fact the back view was all cardboard, right to the roof. Once safely on the move the driver called his father to warn that the mini bus might well be stopped by the carabinieri on the way home, and on arrival he photographed his handiwork before we began the task of unloading. Feedback still comes in from people who have seen, or wished that they had seen, the exhibition in Cassino. While most of the work is safely in storage awaiting the next showing in Italy, various pieces have had to come out again as people ask to see their favourite items again.
Twelve works by six artists have new owners, others are "under negotiation" and some work has returned to New Zealand with the artists to pre-arranged sales or other exhibitions. The remaining works can (just) fit into a mini-bus and will be shown again in Italy at other venues.
More interesting to me though are not the sales but the comments. Several pieces have emerged as having really powerful messages, and are much admired. These are also the pieces that should remain in a public collection rather than private homes. One in particular has "almost sold" several times, then on reflection the would-be owners have decided that the work would disturb them too much as they looked at it daily. We can be sure that that image ("Ritirata" by Margherita Giampietri), along with other images, has left an indelible impression on many viewers.
Comments include (in translation)
"Our compliments, this exhibition has touched us deeply. Best wishes and happiness to you from a couple whose hearts you have moved so much".
"You can feel that the works have been made from the heart"
"Thankyou for sharing your culture in this fantastic exhibition"
"Truly touching and emotional"
"Of a high level, congratulations"
"Very moving, you can "feel" the message that this exhibition is about".
"Touching and thoughtful works"
"These works should stay together as a collection and travel further, wonderful exhibition"
"That soldier really speaks to me"
"Many compliments, it is a beautiful exhibition"
"Very, very beautiful"
"This exhibition truly "makes you feel" that it has been created with great feeling and passion".
"An exhibition that is really "poetic", my compliments to the artists and organisers".
Visitors included people from Germany, Poland, America, Canada, New Zealand and of course local Italians. Many of the people from Cassino and nearby towns returned several times, really getting to know the works and the messages behind them.
My heartfelt thanks go to those who continue to spread the message behind the exhibtion, keeping it alive even now the works are no longer on display.
And, for some of the artists, there was time to relax a little, enjoy some good Italian food in the host town of Roccasecca, and reflect on their experiences of cultural differences and similarities, and working together for a more peaceful world.