As I stroll through the streets of Ortigia,
ceramic vases shaped like human heads,
seem to greet me from the balconies.
Some greet with flowers,
others with peppers and basil.
Ornaments flood the city’s historic center,
with shapes and colors.
But a dark story hides behind them:
Myths tell that in the 1100s when Sicily was still under Arab rule, a young Sicilian woman who lovingly cared for her plants on the balcony, was seduced by a handsome Moorish prince and his promises of love. She gave herself entirely to this romance, unaware he had a wife and children waiting for him in his homeland. Upon discovering the truth, anger consumed her; once her beloved had fallen asleep, she cut off his head and used it as a vase, planting basil on the balcony.
Some tales recount this story romantically, while others with a touch of humor, perhaps to convey the idea that Sicily is fertile not only because of its land but also its legends.
On my canvas, I am free.
Red aerosols whisper passion,
black acrylics depict the Moorish prince,
while markers dance with peppers.
This painting is made using acrylics, aerosols and markers. Painted on canvas.