Meet our Erasmus+ participants: the artistic sector is still thriving!
This week we had a catch up with some more of our current Erasmus+ participants. We asked Hannah, Sarah, Abril and Mairéad about their work placements here in Sicily and how they are enjoying their overall experience. All four of them are working in the artistic or creative sector, it was great to learn about the different art and cultural work opportunities that are available here in Barcellona and Catania.
Hannah is from the west coast of Ireland, she is 25 and has a degree in Spanish and Art History. Her work placement in is at Koart Gallery in Catania. “Koart is a small independent contemporary art gallery run by Aurelia Nicolosi. It houses artwork which sprawls over a wide variety of styles and mediums and supports a considerable amount of national and international emerging and well-established artists.” Hannah’s job certainly ties in with her studies and she says it is great to finally be able to put her degree to use and work at what she’s most interested in. She told us that “the effects of Covid are visible on all small business’ and unfortunately Koart Gallery is no exception. Running exhibitions during these times is risky and difficult. Many people are trying to avoid any unnecessary activities which might put them at risk of infection and well, an art exhibition falls under this category. Nevertheless, I have been kept busy running the social media accounts of the gallery and translating the entire website and bios of artists among other tasks.” But despite the current pandemic the creativity of the artistic community is still evident; “My favourite experience so far has been a visit to an exhibition in Zahir Country House in Notto (the South of Sicily). This was a photography exhibition shot by Toni Campo and was entirely outdoors. Canvases were spread across the grounds of this beautiful country house, some under olive trees, others in orchards and under the shade of trees in open fields. It was a wonderful exhibition and a great opportunity to see the lengths creativity can reach when put under pressure (In this case by a global pandemic).”
Sarah, 25, is from Dublin. She is working as a graphic designer in a printing company called Grafiche Greco just outside Catania. “I have a degree in Vis Comm (Graphic Design), so the job does fit into what I studied in terms of print design. Here, I am designing graphics for business cards, flyers, leaflets, calendars, clothes and posters. Although my preferred area of design is in the area of website, app and motion design it is still a good opportunity to get a sense of a printing solutions workplace and gain an insight into what it is like to work with actual real-life clients.” Sarah would like to work in a design studio in the future and design studios send their designs to be printed in places like Grafiche Greco, so it is useful for her to understand how the printing process works as a whole, and how the machines operate.
When asked about her favourite thing about Italy she said, “My favourite experience so far has been learning about the Sicilian lifestyle and culture. I’m really interested in their food, unique traditions and language. Also, in the people themselves and their cultural norms. I’m so curious and I didn’t realise how much they loved food here (they have so many food festivals and are obsessed with pistachios). I’m loving just being a part of this Sicilian life and meeting more and more people.”
Abril is 22 and was born in Argentina but moved to Spain when she was ten years old. Before coming to Italy Abril was studying photography in London, here, she is working in an art gallery. “The main projects that I am working on during the placement are: Create a gallery catalogue with all the exhibitions and events that the gallery has hosted [and] create a video showing the contemporary art of the city and showing how the pandemic affected artists.” Abril feels lucky to be gaining experience in her field of study and is also happy to be completing different tasks that will help develop her skills in audio visual production. When asked about here favourite thing about Italy Abril said, “cycling around Sicily,” she also hopes to take advantage of this opportunity to learn Italian and become more confident with video production. Abril said that she enjoys the Italian lifestyle and feels that the “people are so much more approachable, and easy to talk to here.”
Mairéad, like Hannah, is also from the west coast of Ireland, she is 28 and is from Galway City. She is working as a ceramic artist here in Barcellona. Mairéad studied Film and English Literature at university but is enjoying the opportunity to develop her artistic skills; “I am interested in Art in general, and with traditional artisanal practice in particular. I completed some courses in Pottery in Galway before applying for my internship. I enjoy my work, and the people I work with. It is great to see how potters and ceramic artists work in Sicily. It is a great privilege to be able to work as an artist and live somewhere beautiful. I am appreciating every moment.” When asked about her favourite experience in Italy Mairéad said that one of the most valuable tings she has learned is that she really likes Italy, the Italian language and painting. “My focus before was never in ceramic painting, but now I am eager to continue and improve. The weather has been a great respite from the Irish rain, Autumn in the south of Italy is sunny and dry.”
We really enjoyed chatting to our Erasmus+ participants and learning about their work placements within the artistic sector, it is wonderful to see how our participants are benefitting from and enjoying their time here in Sicily.