The Musaba: Calabria under the sign of art

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The Musaba: Calabria under the sign of art

Transforming the ruins of an ancient 10th-century monastery complex into an open-air contemporary art museum? Yes, it can be done. Thanks to two artists, Nik Spatari and Hiske Maas, who in 1969 decided to turn a corner hidden by dense vegetation in the Aspromonte into one of the most intriguing places in the entire Calabria region. The MUSABA in Mammola (acronym for Museum of Santa Barbara) is located in the province of Reggio Calabria and represents the perfect fusion of art, architecture, and landscape. Spatari, deaf since the age of 11, soon became a renowned painter, sculptor, and architect internationally. In Paris, he collaborated with artists of the caliber of Picasso, Le Corbusier, and Sartre. Mass, an unconventional artist, left her family at the age of 18 to travel the world and search for her identity. They met in Paris in 1963 and have been inseparable since then. In 1969, tired of Milan where they lived, they moved to Mammola. With a major exhibition in 1971, they converted the ancient ruins of the complex into exhibition space. They transformed an abandoned and rubble-filled place into a colorful open-air museum, recycling materials from the area. The Museum of Santa Barbara hosts many works created in the 1980s by Nick Spatari and international artists. Among the site-specific sculptures scattered throughout the park are “Fountain” by Taiwanese artist Jin Jong Chen and the “Fountain Woman” created in 1987 by Stevie Kerwin. One of Nick Spatari’s most admired works is perhaps “The Calabrian Sistine Chapel.” Additionally, Nik Spatari organizes educational activities, stimulating the creativity of young artists from around the world. Young people can participate in mosaic and architecture courses and internships, work side by side with the artist, and contribute to the evolution of the Musaba project. Inside the cloister, there are 1000 square meters of monumental mosaics in progress. An infinity of colorful tiles that bring to life scenes from the Old and New Testaments. In the center, the Calabrian artist has created the sculpture “The Shadow of the Evening,” a 15-meter-high iron figure reaching towards the sky, chained between the steel cables that support it to prevent it from falling.

www.musaba.org

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