Set up in the courtyard of Ca’ Foscari University, the gothic palace overlooking the Grand Canal, Sowers is the large installation by artist Maria Rebecca Ballestra and architects Lino and Elia Barrone, created by the Venini master craftsmen. The installation wants to showcase Venini’s environmental consciousness and its contribution to the Festival for the Earth, taking place on December 3rd and 4th, 2018 with the goal of rethinking the issues regarding environmental frailty and come up with alternative solutions, even through artistic expression.
The first guests of honor of Sowers were Prince Albert II of Monaco and Youba Sokona, Vice President of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“Cross pollination between art, technology and nature” is the subtitle of the large architectural installation, which will be visible from December 2nd, 2018 until April 7th, 2019.
Made up of 800 glass tiles, arranged in an extraordinary chromatic composition, SOWERS proves that Venini is at the top of its game when it comes to offering such a wide array of shades: from green to taupe, from amber to red and sapphire, but also pink, plum and teal.
The elements are kept together by a metal body, manufactured with the contribution of DITH (Dufreco International Trading Holding) and Jotun, as well as with the help of Carpenteria Sartori. The structure simulates a DNA section and encourages the visitors to really experience the installation, by passing through its kaleidoscopic corridors and enveloping passages.
The chromatic composition was Maria Rebecca Ballestra’s idea; as an artist, she has always investigated matters related to environmental, political and social sustainability, through the topic of travel and a multidisciplinary approach. Her last work “Journey into Fragility” was presented in one of the events surrounding the 56th edition of the Biennale in Venice, as well as in numerous exhibitions across Europe and the U.S.A.. In her career, Ballestra received several international awards and she is a recurring guest of Boston University, the Maraya Art Center, the University of HUI, Xiamen University and the Taipei Artist Village.
The structure was designed by father and son Lino and Elia Barone, two architects with an extensive experience in interpreting the topic of cultural cross-pollination; some examples are the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi, the residences of Moroccan King Hassan II, the Orthodox Cathedral in Nice, a series of towers in the Emirates and many private houses in Europe, Asia and North Africa.
Sowers is a conceptual interpretation of an ideal Silk Road, which guards the seeds from over 40 different species of plants and flowers, selected by the Botanical Garden in Padua, and introduced in Europe thank to the commercial activity of Middle Eastern countries and Asia, both mentioned by Marco Polo as well. Thanks to CardMap, the installation is also implemented by augmented reality, with a feature that allows the visitors to see the plant that comes from a certain seed. The topic of travel often stimulates the artist’s creative thought, and this touching cultural archive of biodiversity is no exception: an evergreen symbol of the meeting between the East and the West.