Sicily, land of artists. Imagine wood – expression of a plain and lively nature at the same time – that is shaped by the hands of an artisan. Roberto Giacchino, in his workshop in Cefalù, creates something unique telling Sicily through his artworks. Sicilian Secrets interviewed him.
La parola del legno
non è uniforme,
è una polifonia
di rumori ardenti
che hanno come diapason
le foglie mosse dal vento.
Q: Roberto Giacchino and carving wood, how did you discover this art?
A: It was for fun. I was born in a family of farmers and carpenters, at that time we used to handmake everything. Not so many toys, so we had to invent and create them.
Q: In your opinion, what are 3 words to describe this art?
A: Beauty, curiosity, research of a dialogue.
Q: What are the characters that you frequently represent? Why?
A: I represent faces I met in my life, sometimes tired faces or faces of some legendary characters like Diana. Diana was a girl, the daughter of the governor of Cefalù, who used to live in the castle on the Rock. They say she used to reach the sea through a path to go and bath on the opposite side of the city. It happened that she was kidnapped by the pirates that at that time were all around the Mediterranean Sea, so she disappeared. The area where she was kidnapped is called Presidiana, that means ‘where Diana was taken’ (to take = prendere).
Q: The artworks of Roberto Giacchino tell Sicily. How?
A: I begin from the material, olive wood and local stone. Every object has its story, its shape. I just have to create. Sometimes you can transform it according to your mood, to a special period of your life, to memories, to the idea you have in your mind – consciously or unconsciously.
Q: You are the President of the Association Cefalù city of artists, how did you develop – 7 years ago – the idea of Symposium?
A: I had the opportunity to visit Italy and some cities above all where you can see many workshops in the streets. I always stopped to look at those people and took part in a bunch of art symposiums mainly dedicated to sculpture or painting. So I had the idea to create an art symposium with many disciplines and lasting more than 1 or 2 days in Cefalù. For me it was normal to ‘study’ the place that surrounded me, like a war strategy. You have to manage everything, never stop in front of the difficulties and turn them into opportunities. In the morning I worked at the project, in the night I thought. Moreover, I needed to be considered reliable by other people. Artist, even those who say to be shy, want to show off their talent and works. But the most important thing is to prove their own creativity. Last rule, no competition: the audience is our judge.
Q: According to you, what’s the worth of craftsmanship in Sicily?
A: Sicilian art and craftmanship are a treasure, but to be a true treasure people need money that can be spent to buy something precious and authentic. Real art is made by hands, not by machines. Brain, arms and soul: here is the recipe. Moreover, it’s important to achieve more cooperation between artists and artisans, with the support of local political institutions.
Q: Roberto Giacchino and the future of an artist, do you have a dream?
A: Actually, my dream already came true. I dreamt to have my own workshop to create my artworks without any restriction. I wanted a place where I could talk to people about my favorite topic. I even taught sculpture…but never was a student! I have many other ideas, other dreams. I love writing, for example. I write poems, novels and personal anecdotes: these are the experiences of my life and maybe I’ll publish them all.