Sicily – Seeking Inspiration
Without Sicily, Italy creates no image on the soul: here is the key to everything. – Goethe
It is no great secret that Italy is a country that I adore. Since first travelling there just before my 30th birthday I have made it my mission to return as often as possible. Despite many travels to Italy, last year was the first time that I journeyed to Sicily, and needless to say, I fell in love. I had been fascinated with this enchanting island long before I even set foot on her ancient soil. Sicily is a land of many contrasts. Naturally the multilayers of a turbulent history are visible everywhere, both in the natural and built environment; yet an optimism for the future is also evident when encountering and meeting the Sicilian people. At first I was struck by her decaying beauty. The crumbling monuments of past civilisations are dotted across the landscape, and they are a visceral reminder that you are not the first to be cast under the intoxicating spell of the island and you definitely won’t be the last. There is a spirit that endures despite times of much hardship including the suffocating grip of corruption. There is also a youthful prosperity to the island, particularly in the city of Palermo, the capital of the island. Walking through Palermo’s chaotic back streets is a journey of contrasts. Surprisingly, vendors selling their aromatic exotic spices sit comfortably alongside contemporary wine bars filled to capacity with young Palermitani and tourists alike. Una bella confusion- A beautiful confusion. This statement is an Italian adage I heard many years ago which perfectly captures the essence of this stunning yet incongruent island.
With a culture born out of bloodshed and sunshine, Sicily has turned writers into poets, and painters into artists, and it has given new inspiration to my ceramics. It’s hard to put into words why we fall in love with a country. There can be a myriad of reasons why are our hearts and minds are drawn to one particular place over another, some logical others simply emotional. However, there is a certainty that I can count on. Sicily will be a long-standing romance, and a place I will visit again and again, to seek out new inspiration and to visit old friends and make new ones.