Elena (Elenashirin) Ferrario-Scacchi – State of Creation –Written Proposal
India. The desert region of Kutch. Bhuj, capital of the region hit by an extremely violent heart quake in 2001 has not yet recovered from the seismic tragedy. The buildings are still showing distress caused by such calamity and the atmosphere one can breathe is that of a tragedy happened a few days away. It feels and it all seems as if it had happened yesterday.
The Mirror Palace – Aina Mahal - surrounded by collapsed ancient city walls, appears crumbled, devastated by the shock waves. Ancient and once splendid architectural sites totally humiliated by the tragedy and the time passed by. A sense of decadence. Antique remains of yesterday’s great magnificence, today so sadly can barely stands straight, deteriorated by the slow decaying process from 2001. The Mirror Palace towers seem ready to fall in any second. The cracks affect the walls, exposing the interior to the surface. In the middle of such imagine of destruction the Mirror Palace gives the impression of being an attempt to preserve – to keep alive- the cultural heritage left by Maharao Lakhpatji (1752-1761).
Modern people, visitors from India and abroad explore the precarious structure, hoping it will keep lasting for as long as its memory will. (The memory of mankind can manage to preserve the past.) The look in people eyes asks, search, keep, interrogate, demand. The need for their life to be kept in its splendor: that of survival and of willpower.
All around, in the desert region of Kutch outside Bhuj capital, many villages are menaced by modernization. Power stations are to be built; pollution is to follow - such as acid rains - with inducted migration and its consequence, which is eradication. People of the villages threatened to lose their natural environment and culture. So called progress in contrast with local cultures. It hurts. There are here more eyes that ask, tell us, speak of keeping alive, still alive, and still aware of what determination means. These eyes insinuate controversial thoughts; they engage us in thinking about their questions in need of answers, whose answers are haunting, even before mentioning them.
It is this contrast, between what life is - people’s culture and their traditions - the life which would have potentially continued the same way for the decades to follow, in strong contrast with today’s progress needs and in contrast with natural disasters. It is this life, the spirit emanated by people’s looks, by the eyes one can meet in this region - inside as outside the city: eyes which talk of keeping alive, not of merely keeping on existing, but of continuing in the same proud spirit as they have done for centuries.
My intention is to immerse myself and the viewer into such a controversial living reality, by choosing photography to represent the challenge faced by this part of mankind.
Being always fascinated by Oriental art, she draws inspiration for her creations from cultural diversity and her various trips. Elenashirin has travelled for many years following a specific approach. Her artistic expression addresses a personal search that aims at highlighting interpersonal relationships between people, with an eye wide open onto the feminine side. Metamorphosis, development and the many changes encountered by women are the focus of her art projects.
Painting and photography are her favourite media to express her emotions.
In her portraits transformation, change and the use of symbols evoke ancient writings and signs.
Elenashirin lives and works in Ticino, the Southern part of Switzerland.
After attaining the Applied Decorative Arts diploma at the CSIA (College for the Artistic Industry) in Lugano, she continued her education to obtain the Art teacher diploma, under the guidance of professors Nag Arnoldi, Milo Cleis, Piergiorgio Piffaretti, Bruno Monguzzi, Gianni Realini, Livio Bernasconi and Giuliano Togni. She taught in Swiss colleges for a period of 10 years.
For some years Elenashirin collaborated with the fashion and theatre industry in Switzerland and Italy.
She has been involved in collaborations with the world of street theatre and performances in Italy and in the United Kingdom.
Recent research and photography trips to Mali (Africa) and Gujarat (India) have infused the artist’s creative concept of expression basing her artistic development on both countries’ human realities. As a consequence, the direction taken by Elenashirin is that of working with elements of those different artistic and cultural traditions, which highly influence and inform her research. Collaborations and exchanges with local Indian artists and craftspeople have deeply consolidated her intention of returning to Gujarat during the monsoon season in order to undertake Kalamkari and miniature painting studies.