Giusy Maffei was born in 1990 in Cefalù, in the province of Palermo. Since she was a child, she showed a strong interest in the visual arts and began her artistic studies by attending the Art Institute of Cefalù and later the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. When she was at the college, she carried out pictorial experiments based on the use of collages, that prove her attention to visual reality and her need for artistic freedom. Currently she is developing her project called Babush, focused on Sicily, and she tells it in particular on her Instagram profile @ babush.artist. The project starts from the study of traditions, customs and traditions of the Sicilian language and focuses on legends, stories, colors and emotions to represent and enhance the beauty of her land.
Q: What was your approach to the art world?
A: I’ve always loved drawing. I was a silent child whose colors were enough to be happy. For this reason, growing up, I had no doubts about the path to follow. So I discovered and fell madly in love with painting.
Q: Your creations are strictly linked to Sicily, what is your relationship with this island?
A: I love my island but the bond strengthened a lot when, for a few months, I moved abroad. I think that often we need to go elsewhere to miss home and then we love it even more. When I was back from Ireland, Babush came about. It is my way to enhance this beautiful land and appreciate it every day.
Q: Where do you take inspiration from to create the artworks by Babush?
A: I think that inspiration is something complex and it’s essential to be in the right mood to welcome it. Sometimes, in my case, I try to explore traditions and Sicilian common sayings. At other times, we can seek inspiration but often it finds us, instead. Even in the simplest things, such as colors and sounds.
Q: Can you tell us an anecdote related to your creations?
A: One of the first creations by Babush there is a painting in which an old man pronounces the phrase ‘Attia! a cu apparteni?’ (‘Hey, you! Who are your parents?’). That old man is nobody in particular, I was inspired by a face that has its own identity. The curious thing is that every time I take part in an exhibition or participate at the Art Symposium in Cefalù, there is always someone who tells me that they know that person. Some people are really sure but the names they say are always different. It is something that makes me smile, this painting represents a symbolic man and yet he is always recognized!
Q: What is the professional achievement you are most proud of?
A: This is a difficult question, it can be compicated to realize that you have reached a goal even when you actually did it. I think that the most important result is being constant and persistent in what I want to do. Undoubtedly, one of the things that makes me happiest is having built a strong community on Instagram, in which there is a continuous mutual exchange of curiosities about our island. For me, art means communication and having met people interested in what I say, make me joyful.
Q: Projects, news…and any wishes for the future?
A: I would like to continue to create works related to Sicilian legends, at the moment I made an artwork inspired by the legend of Colapesce but I think I will go on. Currently, I am working on a project that I cannot talk about yet, but I hope to announce it soon. And for the future, surely I want to have my own space where I can create and sell my artworks, in the historic center of Cefalù. This village is a magical place, living here and doing what I love is certainly the greatest wish.