There have been quite a few emails and Skype calls to the barganews office today enquiring about the condition of the work in the the painter Keane’s studio which was inundated with water earlier this week. As we have already published in an earlier article some older paintings and works on paper were damaged by the water but luckily most of his latest work – the series “the Nuns of Barga” were hanging on the walls and well above the creeping water.
It is precisely those paintings that most people seem to have been worried about and so we sent the award winning photographer O’Connor into the studio to see just what the state of play was
The last time we looked at the work was back in April (article here) In that article Keane told us that the work was based around a small group of people who have been living and working in Barga for generations, but now as a group are close to extinction – the nuns of Barga. Their numbers can be counted on one hand, and they always seemed to move around in a group.
Just what is the collective noun for a group of nuns .. a flock of nuns, a gaggle .. a pride maybe ?
Very rarely is it possible to spot a single nun in the streets of the city. The main group comprising of three very aged women, all diminutive in stature, and all three of formidable character.
Local residents, describe these three nuns, as always appearing aged. It would seem that nobody can remember them as young women. And there lies the problem, the young Italian women are no longer becoming nuns. It is very difficult to find recent data on the precise number of nuns living and working in Italy but their numbers are decreasing rapidly and even the new novices coming in from Africa and Asia can no longer fill the gap.
Shortly, this compact group of dark clad women moving ghost like through the streets of Barga will be just that – ghostly memories.