There is nothing else like these contemporary mosaic art symposia! Across the globe, in-person and virtually during Covid, master mosaic artist from the northern region of Udine, Itlay, Giulio Menossi, invites a different group of mosaic artists he selects from all over the world to gather in a specific country for two weeks and to embark upon an intense journey of hard work, camaraderie, and international diplomacy to promote contemporary mosaic art! As the artistic director, Maestro Menossi seeks both emerging and established mosaic artists to each create a significant work, all to be created in tandem in the same space and at the same time. Menossi pushes the boundaries of each artist’s ability while encouraging them to try something new, create works in 3-D, all inspired by his selected theme about each locality, and all drawing from the same table of materials! The locations where these symposia have taken place in-person the last decade have been the following: Claudiano, Italy; Ploaghe, Sardinia, Italy; Adana, Turkey; Patagonia, Argentina; and Baja California, Mexico in Rosarito.
Kim Emerson participated in 4 different international symposia. Her first in 2018, was for the 3rd annual symposium on location in the little village of Ploaghe, on the island of Sardinia, Italy. Second in 2020, she participated virtually during the shut-down of Covid again for Sardinia, Italy. And her third in 2021, Kim participated virtually for the symposium in Adana, Turkey. In-person in the summer of 2023, Kim assisted the participating artists in the production on their mosaic works for the Baja, Mexico Symposium.
See below the individual works that Kim created for each of these events.
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3rd INTERNATIONAL MOSAIC SYMPOSIUM in PLOAGHE, on the island of SARDINIA, ITALY August 2018
“PRIMORDIAL ELEMENTS” By Kim Emerson
THEME: TEXTURES, WARPS & PATHS – FRAGMENTS OF COLORS FROM EARTH
TESSERAE/MATERIALS: smalti glass, foraged natural stone and obsidian from Ploaghe, Sardinia, beach found treasures from Alghero, Sardinia, cork from Sardinia, and patina’d copper, and over a hand-sculpted EPS mounted on wood panel.
WALL MOSAIC: 28″ x 28″ x 3″ (70 x 70 x 8 cm)
SCOPE: This was an artist in residency experience consisting of artists from all over the world coming together to exchange creative ideas, be supportive, and work extremely hard in front of the public during the festival season of a very small village in Ploaghe. There were 9 women mosaic artists from 7 different countries who each created their own original and significant wall mosaic based on the selected theme of artist director Giulio Menossi.
This international symposium in-person event was facilitated, hosted and organized by the Sardinia Contemporary Mosaic & Art organization in Ploaghe. It was a huge honor for Kim to be invited to participate in this event that happens concurrently with the 500 year traditional festival known as the “Ferroagosto”.
ARTIST STATEMENT – While researching for inspiration for this project I came across a scientific explanation describing the island of Sardinia as being “likened to an unconnected mosaic” due to the tectonic divisions of fractures and fissures that has divided it. This geologic fact inspired my overall design of sections that seem to have been once connected but now divided, and they represent the rich earth that has given Sardinia its many treasures. The five primordial elements are represented in the blue tesserae for water, red for fire, copper for metal, cork for plants, and the locally sourced stone for the earth. The andamento of the stone circles and spirals and other found elements suggest the footprint of the ancient Nuragi Civilization.
Here are more detailed images of the work entitled “Primordial Elements” by Kim Emerson and her experience on the beautiful island of Sardinia, Italy:
INTERNATIONAL MOSAIC SYMPOSIUM SARDINIA, ITALY – a virtual event
“BE FREE” By Kim Emerson
THEME: An homage to the 16th century Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno.
TESSERAE/MATERIALS: Italian and Mexican smalti glass, tinted thin-set, over sculpted EPS, and mounted onto a Wediboard panel.
WALL MOSAIC: 20″ X 36″ X 3″ (50 X 91 X 8 cm)
When the Covid pandemic arrived it was apparent that these symposiums would make it impossible for artists to gather in groups and be together in one place at one time. Artistic director, Giulio Menossi, created a series of virtual symposiums with an open call to artists who would like to take the artist’s challenge and create their work instead privately solo in their own studio. This symposium was the first to go virtual and it was a test of self-discipline to work the long hours alone. Like all the other symposia, the time-frame from start to finish was two weeks. It was very helpful and encouraging to be in communication virtually with all of the other 21 artists from around the world in countries such as the following: Turkey, Russia, Belgium, England, France and Australia to name a few.
PERSONAL NOTE: I dedicated this piece to my mother Louise who passed away from cancer just months before the pandemic came upon us. This work was created during the silent and dark days of the pandemic. She was my butterfly!
ARTIST STATEMENT – Psyche was the ancient Greek word for both “soul” and “butterfly”. As well as in other ancient cultures, and still today for some, the belief is that human souls become butterflies while searching for a new metamorphosis or reincarnation. This personal work is an homage to my mother and to ALL souls around the globe who are lifting upward from the physical body to higher realms. The bright colors are intended to be uplifting and the heaviness of the intense black represents the physical body that no longer serves the spirit wanting to be free.
Here are more detail images of the making of the work entitled “Be Free” by Kim Emerson:
INTERNATIONAL MOSAIC SYMPOSIUM in ADANA, TURKEY – a virtual event
“CELESTIAL PORTAL: DISCOVERING GOBEKLI TEPE” By Kim Emerson
THEME: FROM STARS TO STONES: TRIBUTE TO KARAHAN TEPE & GOBEKLI TEPE – THE ZERO POINT OF HISTORY
TESSERAE/MATERIALS: Marble, limestone, quartz crystals, smalti (glass), glow-in-the-dark tesserae, mille fiori stars & handblown glass cabochons – on a wood panel.
WALL MOSAIC: 20” x 30” (50 x 76 cm)
ARTIST STATEMENT – The creation of this mosaic art project took me on a very personal and virtual journey to a faraway place I have always wanted to go – but never knew that it had existed. Ancient archeological sites located in Southern Turkey is where the theme of this symposium takes us as a virtually gathered group of talented and very determined women mosaic artists. The theme “From Stars to Stones” is the perfect topic for mosaic artists who love to smash stone and glass into tiny specifically cut fragments and arrange them in a way that tells a story – who are we, where do we come from, what happened, why, and where are we going? I learned in my research that the relatively recent discovery of Gobekli tepe has caused the rewriting of the historical timeline for humanity because it was built over 11,600 years old. The location of this architectural and structural marvel, with stone carvings of exotic animals, is in the Middle Eastern region and known as the fertile crescent where its placement provided the perfect environment as being one of the most important cradles of civilization where agriculture first emerged. And some believe the sites also had a celestial connection with the stars.
DESCRIPTION – I wanted my mosaic design to be a beautiful map of time, borrowing lines from the actual archeological site of Gobekli tepe, and building it in a way that appears thin, light and transparent, like it is floating in space – thus drawing the viewer through a portal into universal energy or Qi. The star that is most prominent in the composition represents Sirius, and the rays are in-part made with glow-in-the-dark tesserae. The placement of and the ray-points mark the consecutive circles that are traced footprints of the actual stone structures that make-up the site. The black and dark blue in the upper section represents the night sky. The three glow-in-the dark stars in the upper left are intended to be the part of Orion’s Belt that directs one to find the brightest star in the sky – that being Sirius. The seven stars in the upper right represent the Pleiades constellation, or the Seven Sisters. The bright blues and deep greens at the bottom portion represent the fertile crescent with its rich gifts and offerings from the Earth.
PERSONAL NOTE – I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my dear and beautiful friend Neriman Güzel for her organization, professionalism, and grace while virtually inviting us to visit her fascinating country of Turkey. I also want to thank Giulio Menossi of Italy for the invitation to participate in this virtual project, and especially for his development of all the international mosaic symposia of the recent years. I am honored and humbled to have worked in-tandem and along-side (virtually in our own private studios scattered around very different time zones) with this group of 22 amazing mosaic artists from Turkey, Greece, Israel, Holland, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, France, England, and the United States. I long to meet you all in person someday!
Here are more detail images of the work entitled “Celestial Portal: Discovering Globeki Tepe” by Kim Emerson: