Manca, Bonaria

A visit to Bonaria Manca in the Tuscan hills of Italy, 100 km north of Rome, is a fascinating experience. Her house hits you when you walk in, just like a cathedral does when you see it for the first time. Not only the walls of the enormous home are hung with pictures, but the paintings have also spread to the ceilings. Now they are even spilling over to the floor, where sculpture-like constructions stand. She exhibits her work with complete conviction: on board, cardboard, canvas or paper and with feathers, chalk or charcoal and even with shoe polish. Whilst Bonaria presents her work, wearing her theatrical, homemade clothes, she bursts into songs that tell of her eventful life. Her family was forced to flee her beloved Sardinia when she was still young due to a vendetta and she has been a shepherdess ever since. ‘Pastora’ she calls herself with pride.

Bonaria also makes mosaics using stones she finds that have a mythical meaning. Old paintings can sometimes become damaged but she carefully cherishes new pieces. She does not like to distance herself from them. If she is forced to make a sale, in order to raise finances, she first makes copies after wall paintings on canvas for the buyer.

Background: grew up in a large family of shepherds in Sardinia.
Start artwork: at the age of 50, after death of parents and divorce of husband.
Relevant info: her house decorated with colourful paintings and murals. Depicts her life story with a strong religious awareness.
(Solo-) exhibitions: from 2007 Verborgen werelden / Hidden worlds, Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent.
References: Famulicki, Marie; La Sérénité Sans Carburant (film, based on the ideas of Claire Margat), 2005, broadcast by France 3, Corse.
Margat, Claire; Bonaria Manca. Lost Paradise, in: exhib.cat. Masters of the Margin, Zwolle, Museum De Stadshof 1999, pp. 76-81.
Kooijman, Marianne; Bonaria Manca; De tuin van het leven, in Verborgen werelden, Tielt 2007, p.149-151. / Kooijman, Marianne; Bonaria Manca; The Garden of Life, in: Hidden Worlds, Tielt 2007, p.XLIV.
Konečný, Pavel & Trapani, Roberta; Bonaria Manca. Rinascere ogni giorno / Renaitre chaque jour / Reborn Every Day, Olomouc 2014.

Bonaria Manca
1925 Sardinia, Italy -