For Acqua dell’Elba the connection with local territory is so important that it considers imperative to support the initiatives which add value to the territory’s particularities, especially when these are not simply limited to safeguarding the status quo, but are viewed within a framework capable of driving their development through original, creative stimuli. This is the reason that once again, in 2019, we have decided to partner with “Marciana Borgo D’Arte” (“Marciana Arts Village”), the second edition of which has just concluded: this seems the right moment to make a summary of the event with its curator, Valentina Anselmi, as well as with Roberto Ridi and Loredana Zugno, forming the management team behind the whole festival.

The second edition of “Marciana Borgo d’Arte” has just concluded, after showcasing arts and photography exhibitions, installations, concerts, readings…What was the public’s reaction to the initiatives on offer?

Certainly, very positive, beyond any expectation we had when we started. All of our events showed great attendance and participation. A success which was also probably due to the carefully studied programme, which involved the contemporaneous opening of at least two exhibitions (visual arts and photography), as well as events for kids and a concert of music from all over the world. Aside from the strong attendance, the fact that the public engaged so positively with our initiatives is also corroborated by the many emails we are still receiving each day, as well as the many requests for collaboration and offers which we are already considering for next year.
The most interesting aim behind “Marciana Borgo d’Arte” is the revitalisation of the hamlet itself: how did you manage to involve its inhabitants in the management of the initiatives?
The idea behind this festival was to requalify Marciana, so the project was indeed aimed at addressing the necessities of the ancient hamlet and its community. We all agree that Marciana needs a fresh new impulse, because it is a beautiful hamlet which offers many opportunities, it’s the right place to welcome contemporary art. Indeed, the revitalisation of the hamlet started thanks to a fundamental operation which we hope will develop further in the next editions: property owners allowing the free availability of disused properties for restoration and use as exhibition locations. Additionally, another aim of the project is to create a solid, increasingly vast network involving local associations and other entities. For example, this year, among many collaborations, it was important for us to involve the Pedalta association, whose purpose is to take care of our chestnut groves, because this partnership yielded many positive and certainly interesting results.

An initiative such as this understandably involves foreseeably long preparation times, so surely you must already be thinking about the next edition: how does the selection process for relevant themes and artists work?

We must say that for 2020 we are working on a slightly larger, more articulated scale. The idea is to create something which speaks about the entire island, not just about individual hamlets and municipalities. Elba as a cohesive reality, a macro micro cosmos, a naturalistic paradise which must be safeguarded and developed. What we have decided to do since some time is to use art to save nature, and in such regard, we can say that in the selection process of relevant themes and artists, among many submissions we tend to prioritise those which are more environmentally conscious. Art must be a means to spread knowledge, an instrument to crystallise and communicate themes of various natures, which anyhow all share the common purpose of safeguarding and protecting our own heritage. As far as the artists and their works are concerned, it is fundamental that they use natural, non-pollutant materials.
Marciana rises above that same sea which represents the essence of Acqua dell’Elba’s activity, which carries so many different meanings for each of us What does the sea represent for you?
For an islander the sea is everything. It’s a reference in many ways, it’s home, it’s life. Even more important is to protect and safeguard it, a commitment which must start within each of ourselves. If we think about what the sea means for us, we must surely recall “Il Mare e’ Prezioso” (The Sea is Precious”), an installation by the artist Guido Bonacci which was showcased during this year’s edition of the festival. A poetic ensemble of extremely colourful recycled materials, used to create a scenic, habitable installation with the purpose of raising visitors’ awareness on contemporary themes such as the concerning growth in maritime pollution.

As for all the people we interview, our final question: what is the essence of your working team?

Ours is team work between professionals who have very different backgrounds and personalities. There are many of us, each one with their peculiarities. If I had to think about an essence for all of us, maybe the most appropriate would be Arcipelago, many different islands and fragrances coming together to form a new reality, just like we do in our work every day.
We’d like to thank Valentina Anselmi for the present interview, and alongside her, everybody who worked hard to turn “Marciana Borgo d’Arte” into such a great success: from the artists to the organisers, from the volunteers who devoted their time for the initiative to, of course, the public who so warmly appreciated the whole event.


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