Velia, Pavia

(Your story in a few lines)

Each time I tell my story, it changes…! Much as everyone, I’ve been trying to find harmony ever since birth. Most days I am quite satisfied with the results. Then again, how come everything seems more meaningful in the morning than in the evening?


(How has your working relationship with art changed over time?)

Until my early 30s, art was a means of exploring the world around me. I was fascinated with faraway places and with the variety of forms, values and habits displayed by human beings. My hands were an extension of and a means of communication for other people. Then something must have changed… and I started finding myself interesting. My art now is an intimate adventure.


(You as an anthropologist) I earn a living doing one-to-one anthropological consultancy in Milan. My clients call it psychotherapy even though I explicitly tell them it’s not, as I do not diagnose or seek to “normalise” anyone.


(You as an artist teacher in socially problematic environments) My first paid jobs, in London and then in Crete, were with socially marginalised groups such as juvenile delinquents, homeless youths and Irish Travellers ( It was often tough, loud and very colourful. They taught me a lot of things that can’t be measured or quantified.


(You as a mother) I am an evil mother. No television, messing on the computer only one hour a week, play and listen to music every day, respect and goodwill towards everything that surrounds you, rise early and early to sleep, and never ever do anything half-heartedly or badly.


(Which encounters do you normally have in your daily work routine? Tell us the story of one of them)

My most precious daily encounter is the morning call at Elda’s tailor workshop in Via dei Liguri ( We adjourn on our dreaming and I pick up left-overs from her dress cuttings. Such connections and details are what spark my day’s work.


(Describe a particularly nice event you, as person, produced or attended recently?)

Last summer I was invited to exhibit my pumas under the arches of the Castle of Pavia. I’ve made a whole flock of them, they are big hanging textile sculptures. It was wonderful to spend two days alone on a ladder, tangling string and flying them up all together.


(What is your city giving to you and vice versa?)

Pavia is a small town (un paesone!), and I love the fact that, be it foggy winter or humid summer, it’s so pale and quiet. I’m full of sound and fury, so we are well complementary!


(Can you share your favourite cooking passion?)

Most days I’m quite happy opening a can of chickpeas and dressing them with oil and lemon. But on Saturday afternoons, about once a month, I love making lasagne with my son Tito. He insists on including the minced meat of dead cows and I insist on including chopped up carrots and onions. I usually don’t eat other animals and he doesn’t like cooked vegetables, but rules need to be broken every now and then.


(Which is your favourite wine or drink?)

A nice glass of water, room temperature.


(Which is the music with you now?)

The Magic Flute, Böhm’s 1997 version.


(In which way do you try to live “slowly”, if you like to do so, in a city as yours?)

Being a rather impulsive monkey, I need to periodically pause, breathe and settle down. My bicycle helps. I love riding out into the world in the morning, starting off from the dirt road outside my gate, then along the Naviglio and over the cobbled streets of Pavia.


(Which is a talent you have and the one you miss?)

I am an extremely skillful trouble-maker. Despite my love for simplicity, I somehow always find myself tangled up in complex and absurd scenarios. And I am hopelessly useless at telling lies.


(What have you learnt from life until now?)

It’s a good thing to brush your teeth twice a day.




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