Friday, October 24, 2014

The art of Sicilian cart painting: the world of Maestro Domenico di Mauro

Domenico di Mauro is a 101 year old artist, trained as a boy in the art of Sicilian cart painting. Sicilian horse-drawn carts stopped being used many years ago, and the dwindling art of painting them is kept alive today by only a handful of living artists and their descendants. 
A visit to Domenico di Mauro's home-studio-family museum-art shop felt like such an honor! Being in the presence of this beautiful man was an incredible experience. He is full of joy and pride at his accomplishments and along with his 80-something year old son, was happy to open up his home and let us experience the world of Sicilian cart painting for a few hours.
As Sicilian carts are pretty much obsolete today, and can be mostly viewed in Sicilian museums or during special festivals, cart painters now use their talents to produce small canvases, vases and sculptures that can be purchased by collectors or tourists.
The di Mauro home has several rooms dedicated to displaying a dizzying amount of colorful artworks created by the father-son duo, in the traditional Sicilian painting style, as well as one priceless cart proudly on display.
Domenico's life story is pretty amazing and he and his son were happy to share how he became an artist, ended up owning his own cart shop in Aci Sant'Antonio where he still lives today, and achieved great acclaim for his talent and accomplishments in Sicily and beyond.
The most moving and inspiring part of the experience was seeing the artist at work. An outdoor easel is set up in a peaceful, shady corner of the courtyard, just next to his bedroom. Here he sits every morning and paints. Seeing him in action definitely felt like living proof of the secret to a long, healthy life: follow your passion, do it purely, simply and with love, and most importantly, do it every day!
Domenica di Mauro, it was such an honor to meet you!

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