Friday, July 25, 2008

Matera - Settling in, writing home

Hi Mom,

Don't have a lot of details about damage yet - power is still out (and could be for a week or two yet) and my housesitter doesn't have phone or internet access. I understand there are shingles missing and sections of fence down but have heard no reports of leaks or flooding so I think my house is a sturdy old thing which is very good news indeed.

The news from home is not very happy. SPI really took a pretty bad hit and the timing couldn't be worse -- July is peak season when most of us need to make enough to get us through the slow times. If the power stays off for weeks no one will come even for those of us who didn't suffer significant damage. At least I am earning money here. I would be losing all the way around if I hadn't left when I did...

It is really something here in Matera. My room at the Palazzo Gattini is spectacular, maybe the nicest I have ever had. The hotel opened just 20 days ago so I may be the first person to ever inhabit this room, which used to be part of the palace church. The walls are very thick so there are no outside sounds whatsoever - it feels like a monastery.

The other sculptor who is here - Katsu from Japan - and I went to an art exhibition of Abstact Expressionist sculptor Ibram Lassaw (a friend and contemporary of Jackson Pollock and Miro) in a rock-hewn cave church with frescos that dated back to the 10th century and that had later been inhabited by poor local people as recently as the 1950's. A guide who was happy to use her English language skills told us that her father had lived in one of these caves until he was 11 years old, and she was a wealth of information about the living conditions.

Today we will head to the beach where we are building our sculptures - Pisticci is about an hour's drive away from our hotel.


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