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Enrico Mereu, Sculptor Of Asinara Island 0 Comments

Enrico Mereu, Sculptor Of Asinara Island

The round hills covered with the mediterranean scrub, inhabited by the rare white donkeys, the magical colours of a sea rich of life, the Marine Protected Area since 2002. This is the Island of Asinara.

The island has a peculiar history. The first human traces are the domus of Janas of Campu Pedru. Then the remains of the Camaldolese Monastery of Saint Andrew and Castellaccio dating back to the Middle Ages. In 1600 shepherds and fishermen settled in, but they were forced to leave from there in 1885 and founded Stintino. The island became a lazaret and a place of deportation of the World War One, as witnessed by the 1936 Ossuary. In 1975, a maximum security prison was instituted till when the island became a National Park in 1997.

Incontamination, isolation, rare plant and animal species have been the source of inspiration for the only inhabitant of the Asinara island, Enrico Mereu, sea wood sculptor.

"In nearly 40 years - he says - I've never cut a tree. I walk along the beaches and use woods coming from Sardinia, Corsica or Spain" He claims it was the island who elected him when, at 20, his father enrolled him in the penitentiary police body: "It bloomed my inspiration. It allowed my two souls in conflict, the artistic one with the crude one, which was a suffering and devastated fruit of the environment in which I worked, to find a chance of coexistence."

His workshop was in Cala d'Oliva, where he worked until recently and where his works and tools are still kept. Critics define him  as "the interpreter of an intense life reality" and "an author able to ignite something inside". His works have received acknowledgements in regional and national competitions, and have been awarded with certificates of merit, a diploma of honour and included within the golden albums of the best contemporary artists. 

The wood is so skin-smooth that as he touches it he has a feeling of being stroked by it in return” (Nadeem Aslam).

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Written by Daniela Toti

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