Cycling along the wild Maggia in Tessin we enjoyed with my youngest the day off, the warm sun, the fresh air and the scent of summer. There is always something to discover and so it was not long before after half an hour my youngest stopped by a stone mosaic beside the cycle trail.
What we saw there was an impressive piece of workmanship, which I would gladly have in my own garden. Someone must have invested hours upon hours and brought stones by the kilo to create this wonderful mosaic in the shade of the trees. We both stood there, admired the workmanship amd studied its fine nuances. Another cyclist stopped and stood next to the mosaic. Here someone had created something that delights the hearts of thousands without an entrance fee.
I turned round to the elder cyclist, greeted him and said that it was wonderful and I would gladly have known who and why someone had made it here. He laughed with pleasure and said he had constructed it. His answer surprised me. I wanted to learn more from him.
He explained that he came from Alsace, for many years had worked in various hotels with his wife and after retiring had moved to the Tessin. Three years ago he had begun constructing the mosaic and from his cycle tours had brought back stones of various sizes and colours. I was very impressed. I wanted to know whether anyone had ever damaged it.
He laughed and said that that had never happened. Only the beautiful white stone in the middle had once been stolen. My trust in the goodness of mankind was confirmed by his statement. I am pleased to belong where one respects beauty and esteems the work of others.
I wanted to photograph him beside his work, but he refused. My work should speak for itself, the constructor is unimportant, he said and impressed me even more with his frank modesty.
Then he looked at us searchingly in order to be certain whether we are worthy of the knowledge and suggested he show us some more artworks. We followed him into the thick undergrowth and after a few minutes we were standing in front of the next works of art made of wood. Some of these works of art stood beneath the tree, which was full of that wondrous web of a highly poisonous caterpillar.
Nature as watchman of art. I liked that even more. We listened to him for a while, enjoyed the location and the creations and went on our way with a good feeling.
In Ascona the 14th Street Art Festival was waiting for us. And this festival is really glorious. One holds one stomach for laughing, has one’s leg pulled and is tricked, but always in a sympathetic and kindly manner. We admired the artistic highlights, enjoyed the amusing incidents, watched how Otto Basotto squeezed himself into an inflatable balloon and a lot more.
It was so nimble and liberating. It was satisfying to be a member of this community and to laugh for hours.
Where art has created space and is protected and promoted, we feel at home. There the soul has wings.