Wednesday, April 24, 2013
THE TIBER RIVER: A DIFFERENT VIEW
Some days ago I took a long and free walk along the banks of the Tiber river which flows through the ancient heart of Rome toward the sea, only around 25 kilometres away. I followed the river course from the Vatican City downwards till the Isola Tiberina, the boat-shaped island which was once the location of an ancient temple to the Greek god of medicine and healing.
Water levels were still very high after the hefty rains of the past weeks and part of the banks submerged. Stone stairs connect the bridges to the banks which run along the basis of the tall walls. These stone embankments are about 12 meters tall and were built since the end of the 19th century to protect the city from the severe floods so frequent in the past.
The river banks are a sort of separate world in wintertime. High above, the busy city life, cars, people, buses. Down here almost nobody, discarded waste of every kind, trash, old rags, pavements heavily damaged by the water, naked branches, silence. In summer things change: structures are rebuilt, damages repaired, people stroll leisurely along the book stalls and the cafés.
I took a great number of photos not of the beautiful buildings high above, but of the vault of the bridges from below, of the trash, of the old food wastes, of the ravaged ferryboat piers, of the ruined bicycle path.
So this is going to be my conservation theme for the final wall-hanging, as discussed with Sian: the sad conditions of neglect of the Tiber in the very centre of Rome.
Here are drawings from some details and photos:
Naked branches emerging from the muddy water
A graffiti “embroidery” along one of the banks
Ravaged bicycle path
Trash, rags, plastics
The multi-layered structure from down the bank
Plastic bags trapped into the branches
From another set of photos I painted the colours I saw
Words suggested by Sian Martin
married, enclosed, rhythmical …….. crushed, controlled, enveloped
peaceful, soft, quiet, restful ……………………..controlled, strong, enclosed
expelled, enclosed, separated, imprisoned ….. bend, separated, vigorous
frenzied, expelled, compressed ……………. bend, fast, vigorous, enclosed
Words which came to mind while looking at images collected
entwined, strong roots, world below -------------------------- hard and soft, solid and fluid, conflicting
gentle, imprisoned among branches, entwined, fragile cages --------------- gentle, rhythmical, fast, new life budding
confused, who knows?, afraid to get near ---------------- separated, parallel worlds, conflicting, alone in beauty
alone in beauty, graffiti embroidery, small world ------------- delicacy, spring coming, do not think too much
layers of parallel worlds, unaware, shadow: shelter from life, arches like wombs, noise/silence, resilience strength (left)
underneath, forgotten, disrupt, crushed (right)
conflicting, delicacy of things forgotten, silence/noise (left)
still lagoon, softly remembering in the shade of your heart, in the warm pleats of your soul
vigorous, trust your strong roots, strong in current (left)
be strong when current draws you away, trust your strong roots, use what you can, do not think too much (right)
unaware, cold and humid, winter at its end