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Titled “The Artist as Saint Roch squaring the circle on a wall in Gerocarne” and painted for the Nostoi Fest in Gerocarne, Italy, this new mural by Italian artist BASIK speaks about the concept of “return”.

Nostoi, from the Greek Νόστοι or “Returns”, is also known as Returns or Returns of the Greeks, a lost epic poem of ancient Greek literature. is in fact the title of a poem, part of the Trojan Cycle, which told the entire history of the Trojan War in epic verse.

As explained by Basik, the south of Italy has always been a place repeatedly conquered by different civilisations and therefore influenced by diverse cultures, mixed together over the centuries. Reflecting about this situation he adds:

“More than any other area in my country, it has experienced the immigration/emigration phenomenon, from the soldiers living in Magna Graecia, who had to go to war in places far away from their home, to the millions of Italian citizens emigrated abroad to find better living conditions, some of which now use to come back to their native place during holidays.
My personal reflection on such land has been to conceptually link and unify two distant things, here represented by the geometric task of squaring the circle, an impossible problem that philosophically aims to join earth and sky (respectively symbolized by a square and a circle since ancient times).

The Saint Roch’s imagery works as a reminder of the place in which the painting now lies. The inhabitants of Gerocarne are in fact strictly devoted to the saint, who has always been traditionally depicted with a seashell on his coat.
Nonetheless, the choice of painting a clam is intentional due the fact that it has been part of fishermen and poor people’s diet in Italy throughout centuries, and meant as a symbol for my birthplace too. A detail that comes with a double value, a metaphorical item linking two locations so distant by a thin, ideal line.”

A visually powerful and simple mural that through a flat rendition of hand gestures and cryptic symbolism speaks expresses the nature of the place and culture it was created for.

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Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.