“Come and see Titinu Nivola’s works, today, tomorrow and the day after, in the streets of Gusei, sa Itria and su Rosariu”
What does “back to origins” mean to you? Is it just travelling through an old road again? Or is it recollecting some precious moments, staying with you until you come back home? Nobody forgets his/her home, the beginning of his/her life. Streets, plays and friends are always there, in your memories. And you feel like being the missing link of a mechanism that looked perfect.
This story is based in Orani, a small town of Barbagia, not too far from Nuoro. In 1958 things were quite the same as twenty years before. Some more cars, as innovation slowly improved, but it was not like US, nor New York City and its speed, and would have never been like that. In Sardinia everything was very slow, always at a calm pace.
Here, in his “Ithaca”, 46 years old Costantino Nivola decided that everyone should enjoy his art, becoming at the same time an unaware part of it. But his fellow citizens could have barely enjoed it within a museum, so he decided to create open-pit works throughout his beloved Orani.
During those years, Nivola had been living in America, where he was a well known artist. But in Orani he was just Titinu, the sixth son of a bricklayer.
For this reason, his audience was more than special, to him: no influences and a poor knowledge of arts. Only emotions mattered, those between the community and its son. Maybe, this was the reason why Nivola could create one of his most successful and original projects, which still has in Sa Itria church’s graffiti his greatest expression. He was the only one who could realize, and push through a graffiti representing the Battle of Lepanto, a fight between Christians and Muslims. At that time, it must have been awkward to see a work like that in Orani. But yet you can’t imagine that facade without Nivola’s work.
Within those narrow streets, his works came alive and felt like being home, free from galleries’ walls and critics. People were curious about his art, and we can even imagine comments like “I could have done it myself!”.
Nivola’s heritage and arrangements would have strongly bound Orani to his greatest artist, and everybody, from all over the world, still has to go there to see those works, “within the streets of Gusei, sa Itria and su Rosariu”, a life journey ending at the ancient laundry, where now you can visit the Nivola Museum.