“The images migrate from threads to stones, from symbols to meanings. The alphabet is born; communication across time and space; and memory. Memory grows wider and becomes a rhythm. With memory, the transformation of the human being matures: the poet is born, a concentrate of man, woman and deity.”- Maria Lai
If you like me live in a noise polluted city you certainly need a break. I found out that near my low-traffic stretch Manhattan apartment street noise can reach and average of 70 decibels, roughly the output of a coffee grinder without mentioning of course the alarming sound of sirens, air conditioners, a roaring subway, whole food truck delivery and distant falafel trucks refusing to turn off the latest top 10 Lebanese hits. And if you’ve ever wondered whether it’s worth the cost of sleeping in a calm bucolic suite where the only noise is the bell of a lost donkey early morning the answer is “Yes”.
Like every end of July sleep deprived, jet-lagged-body-and-mind cut into pieces, I joined the club of the burnout epidemic. Until then I didn’t know about Maria Lai and the language of arts and its magical healing powers.
The transcendental experience took place in the heart of Sardinia, in the mountainous region of Barbagiaa land of traditions, history, centennial olive trees and vineyards at the Su Gologone hotel. Set on the foothills of the Supramonte the charming borgo(village) overlooks the source of Su Gologone; vast karst systems with clear mineral waters that flow into the river Cedrino.
The white-washed suite features a bed set with an authentic 19thcenturyhand-weavingmachine and is surrounded with ecru looms and large white threads grounding stones. The natural Juniper’s beam, wood furniture, the exquisite laced pillow from Boza and ceramic bath and kitchen accessories were all manufactured by local artisans at the hotel’s Botteghed’Arte under the creative direction of the owner and architect Giovanna Palimodde.
Daughter of founders Peppeddu e di Pasqua Salis, Giovanna who is also a painter, designer and an important Sardinian art collector, dedicated our suite to the Sardinian artist Maria Lai as part of the Su Gologone hotel’s Art Suites.
“To be only surprised is not enough” told me Giovanna one a coffee one day, her mission instead is to continuously offer her guests new ‘experiences’ such as painting, art, weaving and tasting under the island’s identity legacy. And she was right because as soon as I entered the suite filled with Maria Lai’s art works such as ‘Looms’ ‘ Sheets’ and a ‘Parole al Vento’ (words to the wind) ‘Sewn Book’ I could breath the artist’s cosmic visions about her ‘Geographies’ and human’s belonging to his origins.
One afternoon at sunset immersed in the suite’s outdoor whirlpool signed Philippe Stark, the only sound of crickets and my local friend a mourning dove on the rooftop I was reading about Maria Lai’s life and works on a book strategically placed by Giovana ( who else?) in the suite bedroom.
While reading, one of Maria Lai’s renowened communal art work caught my attention: ” Legarsi alla montagna (To Be Tied to the Mountain, 1981) was basically an ideal point of intersection between the venues of Cagliari, Nuoro and Ulassai represented by a piece of the original blue ribbon used to tie the village houses together, as well as by the eponymous sculptural installation with the help of the village old and young women.
Literature and especially poetry, the alternating rhythms of words and silences, full and empty spaces, spoken and written words, form the well from which Lai drew her inspiration. In order to “call the others to see part of themselves”, the artist also used other means of communication, such as theatre in this Sardinianmise-en-scène.
Tears in my eyes, I watched the centenary pine tree in front of my bathtub. I was slowly healing as silence took over the sound of breezy leaves… Maria Lai and Sardinian “Janas” (fairies accompanying solitary wayfarers) were meticulously stitching my broken parts in a thread transporting my past into a clean untangled future.
Find my video below:
Su Gologone Experience Hotel
Loc. Su Gologone – 08025 OLIENA (NU) SARDEGNA
Fax +39 0784 287668