Alicia Santamaria was the winner of the Exchange grant 2021 with the project “Per amor” to carry out the LARTRES residency in Licenza (IT), between 1 September and 31 October 2021; giving continuity to her work with a research on care and the sense of community in the rural environment through ceramics and collaborative practices.
“Per amor” is a project that I started out of concern for a family situation that for a long time has required a system of care in a rural context.
Getting involved with the reality of her grandparents, I started to analyse and reflect on the administrative structure and the law that regulates it, as well as the imaginary of love that exists within non-professional care.
The complexity of the situation and the slow disappearance of mutual support in their environment, focused my interest on the relationship between care and the sense of community; so that it became the object of my research.
Thus, the motivation to work in Licenza at that time emerged from wanting to investigate this articulation in a similar setting, forcing me to think from a different perspective.
To explore this, my proposal was to run a ceramics workshop to make pieces of tableware and at the same time share this research with the people involved in the practice.
From the experience during the residency, I want to highlight two aspects. On the one hand, I want to highlight that this same space – where I taught the course and developed my pieces – was transformed into a place of free circulation and a meeting place for neighbours where they also worked with ceramics and shared ideas through conversations, in addition to the weekly laboratory. This was an enriching experience, especially in terms of interactions with people who were not enrolled in the course, of different ages and from different backgrounds, who were used to interacting in a direct and close way due to living together in a small town.
On the other hand, I would like to include that, thanks to their willingness, I was lucky enough to be able to connect with the community and become part of it. Thus, the dialogues around concepts related to her study took place by inertia in moments of coexistence inside and outside the workshop; from spaces of intimacy, mostly around the table sharing food. In the kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms of the houses, in the bar, in the square and in the surroundings of the village. In this way, little by little, a knowledge was woven from everyday practices that did not appear in the laboratory; and which allowed us to collectivise ideas about identity, belonging to the community, depopulation, memory, recognition with the territory, affections, the house, the family, the domestic, affections; among so many others.
To finish, I want to thank the involvement of the people of Licenza with the project, with the final exhibition and with the collective; as well as sharing my personal sensation of recognising in artistic production the possibility of bringing together and building networks of collaboration based on a common practice”.
In collaboration with Collettivo L’Aquila Reale, with the support of Institut Ramon Llull, Licenza Musei and Comune di Licenza.
Credit photo: Collectivo Aquila Reale