Gigi Bon is a Venetian artist, one of the few true Venetian artists left on the Island, Bon proudly tells me on a visit to ther studio.
Mirabilia Studio D’Arte is part studio, part showroom, part cabinet of curios . A cosy space filled to the rooftop with oriental rugs, crocodiles and animal skins , bones, shells and gem stones interspersed amongst Bon’s sculptures and art work.
A striking and repeated motif in Bon’s work is the rhinoceros,appearing in almost every artwork. In these works the rhino tend to be either the main subject, such as in her range of large bronze sculptures, or gold gilt frames collages of a variety of subject matters of which the rhino motif invariably appears.
I asked Gigi about the rationale for the rhino ,particularly as it is so prolific in her work. She replied that she feels a strong connection to the animal and all it represents,as if she herself were a rhinoceros. She feels in a way the works are a kind of self portrait. It reminded me of the indigenous Australian concept of the totem, an animal that was symbolically given to an Aboriginal child as it’s life long protector, usually the first animal the mother saw after she gave birth.
On closer inspection of these bronze sculptures, the most common articulation is the foot high bronze version,the rhino muscular and dense with a strong and steadfast feel about them. Gigi has taken this form and meshed it with a variety of natural objects and Venetian symbols.
In one particular piece the horn of the rhino is replaced with the ‘ferro’, the symbol at the front of a gondola.On another piece,the rhino is embedded with a piece of amethyst, half exposed and half in its raw rock state.
Studio Mirabilia is a fascinating visit, cosy and inviting to any passerby. Gigi is welcoming and vital, eager to share her Venetian heritage and passion for her work.
What I enjoyed most about her studio is her clear passion and raw freedom in expressing her aesthetic, as well as her creation of a distinctive and unique space that certainly inspired me to keep pushing my creative dreams.
Visit Mirabilia Studio online at gigibonvenezia.com