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Matres Terrae ceramics & design

Discovering female artistic creativity through ceramics - - identity and socio-cultural aspects


Salerno ITALY


The exhibition "Matres Terrae Ceramics & Design" at the Provincial Campanian Museum in Capua (Museo Provinciale Campano di Capua, Nov. 25, 2021 - Jan. 5, 2022) has just ended; inaugurated on November 25, 2021 for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, thematically based on the discovery of female artistic creativity. The initiative, with the patronage of the Campania Region, was conceived by ASP Pandora Artiste Ceramiste and organized in collaboration with the Museo Campano. Ninety-six female ceramic artists from all over the world were the protagonists of this extraordinary exhibition: a new opportunity to meet and compare different ceramic experiences and traditions of artistic and productive importance for the ceramic sector in Italy and abroad, and a prelude to the 2022 edition of the Matres-Festival of Women’s Ceramics. The objective was and is to strengthen and disseminate the "Progetto Ceramica Donna," undertaken by the Pandora Association years ago through the search for the right setting to validate/recognize female artistic craftsmanship in the field of ceramic art. The exhibition was inspired by one of the most precious collections of the Provincial Museum of Campania, that of the "Matres Matutae" (already adapted as a symbol of the International Festival of Women’s Ceramics devised by the Pandora Association in its 1st edition of 2018) - - majestic tuff sculptures of women seated with one or more babies in their laps; their arcane beauty, their symbolism as generators of life - - as the clayey earth mother of the potters' creations - - the leitmotif of the works on display. The Matres are life itself - - the universe that emerges from the clay and is intermixed with it from the very beginning. The land is the medium from which the artists take strength to shape, renew themselves and to be fertile and vital in the creativity of their works. The Earth and her care are always present in the collaborative work "Reflections", created by the artists for the occasion.  The symbolic link with the Earth is visible in the traces and fragments of polluting objects: plastics of various types and other waste cycle products included in the work’s base - - a “Trono della Mater” with symbolic artifacts of fertility and abundance. The Throne of the Mater is a sign of fertility and abundance but is also rooted in an Earth nowadays contaminated and pervaded by violence, symbolically represented by the red color supporting the throne itself - - inviting reflection - - a reflection that begins with a shared creative action and finds in it the energy to sublimate the current reality in the effects amplified by the reflective surfaces present in the work. The collaborative work is in fact an expression of the relational art that has long been practiced by Pandora; a synthesis of shared human abilities and creative skills by artists from various parts of the globe - - energies and experiences that come together and feed each other to generate unique works; the expression and synthesis of creative action that, while emanating from local traditions, is concretely linked to a global and contemporary vision. Among the cultural and social themes promoted by the exhibition, an important space was given for involvement with and reflection on the increasingly current problem of femicide, to which Pandora once again responds with concrete action by women using art as a tool to produce change. Hundreds of red ceramic shoes made by potters were placed on the suggestive Catalan Staircase of the Museum to inaugurate "Matres Terrae Ceramic & Design" and for the collateral event "Red ceramic shoes - The Italian cities of ceramics say NO to violence”- - an AICC International Day project for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, an event now in its 5th edition and that Pandora has always participated in. The red shoes, a symbol of violence against women and this year dedicated to Afghan women, have drawn attention to this issue with great emotional appeal which represents a real social emergency; a topic addressed along with the more general aspect of gender equality in the interesting discourses scheduled for the opening evening. As in previous years, the shoes were donated for a local charitable activity. On this occasion, they were donated to the nonprofit Touring Club Association of Capua to raise funds for the restoration of the important St. Michael fresco from the Lombard era, located in the Capuan church of the same name. The well-known iconography of the saint defeating evil ties in with the theme of violence against women. In fact, this image has recently been selected by the State Police as a symbol for the protection of women subjected to violence. For International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021, a program was offered with a calendar full of events, including a guided tour of the Matres Terrae and the Museum for people with disabilities, organized and led by Pandora Ability, and aimed at artists, ceramists and local associations. Unfortunately, the events were not held due to impediments related to the current health emergency. Now, the next edition of the Matres - Festival of Women’s Ceramics is pending and in preparation, and the call for applications to participate in the 2022 Edition will soon commence.


The exhibition was inspired by one of the most precious collections of the Capua Museo Campano; that of the "Matres Matutae" - - already taken as a symbol of the International Festival of Women’s Ceramics conceived by the Pandora Association.  The leitmotif of the works on display is a collection of the Mothers, unique across the international panorama of museums, where the representation of motherhood transits from the indigenous world to that of ancient Rome with an unaltered meaning of fecundity and fertility.


Gumsun Kim "A Bird on Earth," 2019
Exhibition poster
Marika Mihaljfi "Together"
Installation "Red Shoes" on the Catalan Staircase - Museo Campano di Capua
Antonella Cimatti "Crespina" through Francesca Vestita's "Pupa"


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