Fichi d’india e paladini
Description by the artist
Fichi d’india e paladini (Italian for Prickly pears and paladins) is the title of this artwork. Canvas on wooden frame. Acrylic painting on canvas depicting a set of Sicilian symbols inscribed in a circle. What better representation of Sicily with its myths, symbols taken from the Sicilian carts, the cart wheel, prickly pears, the Sicilian puppets who face each other in duel, all composed in a colorful ensemble.
Details and dimensions
The artwork in the Sicilian culture
Prickly pears are one of the great symbols of Sicily. They grow everywhere: on the sides of cliffs, in gardens, on the roofs of abandoned houses, on the sides of roads … Its fruit (ripe by the end of August) is delicious and much loved by Sicilians who also make rosoli and mostarda, a sweet typically prepared in jars, with the addition of carnations, cinnamon and almonds. Gelo is also very appreciated, a sort of gelatinous cream. Prickly pears were imported by Arabs during their domination (IX-XI century).
The Opera of the Puppets has made the joy of the people since 1700, when the puppeteer and his traveling theater were expected in the squares of the villages of Sicily. It narrates the deeds of the paladins Charlemagne. The main characters are Orlando, Rinaldo and the beautiful Angelica. To the cry of “Death to the Saracens” the paladins fight the Moors. To this day it remains a really exciting and fun moment to watch the exploits of these wooden puppets to which the puppeteers give life and character by acting and, at the same time, moving them from behind the scenes, while often a piano is the soundtrack to the whole thing. It should be noted that when the puppet theater withdrew from a village, the elders continued to tell the exploits of the paladins, sometimes even adding more to the story, around the conca (brazier for heating) or in the square, with friends and relatives.
(photo) Siracusa, San Giovanni Evangelista, children posing in front of the church facade, 1906