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From the concept to the project


I came closer to Judaism during the War. Although my family were not practicing Jews, my grandmother thought it important to keep certain traditions: we celebrated Jewish holidays at home and I remember the festive meals for Pesach (Passover) and Rosh HaShanah (New Year). I therefore feel that I have my roots in this culture. While exiled in Lausanne I also learnt about the world of the Jews from the East, refugees with whom, as a fellow refugee, I have always felt a close affinity. With them I set up a theatre, dedicated to preserving the memories of our people, and we produced a show called La recita di Salomone e della regina di Saba (Solomon and the Queen of Sheba). That marked the start of my career as a stage designer. Then came illustrations and ceramics, which took up most of my time between the 1950s and 1970s. Those were the years of the rebirth of ceramics, driven by Picasso and Chagall in Vallauris and by Fontana, Sassu and others in Albisola. The hanukkiot I have made for Casale are not actually suitable to be used as such. The figures are depicted as humans and could not therefore be used in a Synagogue: they are objects to be looked at and admired. The last lamp is the most elaborate: the rabbis are pots… or the pots are rabbis: they hold the candles or oil, almost as a reminder that, as teachers, they are vessels of knowledge and responsible for perpetuating our traditions.