Discovering Maria Lai and Sardegna


It seems an almost shocking coincidence that the first artist -who deeply caught my attention at the current Biennale in Venice- was Maria Lai; she was born on September 27, 1919 in Ulassai and died on April 16, 2013 in Cardedu, both in Sardegna (East coast).

Why shocking? - Because for a few years, we had planned a trip to Sardegna to see some of the ancient sites (5,000 years old, and younger).

"Storia Universale" at the 57. Biennale

The descriptions of "Storia Universale," 1982 (Universal story) and "Geografia," 1992 include pointers to her "astral mapping of the concept of infinity" and "maps of meridians that continue past their limits, often intersecting one another, indicating the will to look far ahead."

"Geografia" (Sardegna and the Biennale)

For me, her fiber art also has essential elements of life, showing the blue of air and water, the orange-red of fire, and the beige-brown of earth and rocks.

Maria Lai, I want to write about her, share the discovery of her textile work but after four days in the center of Sardegna, visiting pre- and proto-historic sites, my mind became quiet - still - content to look - silent. Though deeply moved, what is there to say?

Her woven piece "Lenzuolo" is a good example for this state. Maria Lai is showing our universe of writing, but not in words. She used thread like ink, displaying outlines of sentences and chapters in a book, quiet, essential, like prehistoric stone work.

Her eloquent work points to silence.

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