Farewell to Bonaria Manca, the “shepherd artist” of peasant life

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Self-taught artist, over the years he had transformed his apartment in Tuscania, in the Lazio region of Tuscia, into a small museum, “The House of Symbols” (which Mibact had included among the house-museums): Bonaria Manca, who died at 95 (she was born in Orune, Nuoro, on 10 July 1925), on those hand-painted walls she had depicted her world: scenes of peasant life, the sea, the washerwomen at the river, and then animals (goats, sheep), religious and surreal characters , figures on the border between reality and fantasy. “From Sardinia to Tuscia, the imperturbable and timeless Bonaria Manca – recalled Vittorio Sgarbi – has left us, in the paintings and on the walls of her house, the dream of a world she lived and lost by us, living it for us and transferring it in painting. For this we will be forever grateful to her ».

Cross the rooms of his “House of Symbols” thus reveals a journey from childhood spent in her native Orune, in Sardinia, to Tuscania, where she had moved in 1957. The works of the “shepherd artist”, as she was nicknamed, have been exhibited in Rome, Turin, Viterbo, Cagliari, Paris, Lyon, Geneva, Marseille, Thessaloniki … In 2000 she was nominated Unesco ambassador; in 2015 the documentary was dedicated to her The Island of Bonaria by Jo Lattari under the direction of Luigi Simone Veneziano.

Her French writer and filmmaker Jean-Marie Drot, for a long time director of the French Academy in Rome, had said: «The thing I like about Bonaria’s work is the fact that almost nothing comes from our heads, but everything comes from the heart. For me his is a cosmic painting. The house of Bonaria, in a certain way, is perhaps unique in all of Italy. Having a painting by Bonaria is like having a talisman, a good luck charm in a world of solitude, to immediately open a window on a tomorrow, a future that will be full of light! ».


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