The second 'art' life of a pair of shoes

The second 'art' life of a pair of shoes
The second 'art' life of a pair of shoes
L’idea: rendere opere d’arte vecchie calzature
The second 'art' life of a pair of shoes
The second 'art' life of a pair of shoes
Can a pair of shoes be transformed into a work of art? The answer is yes if you are talking to Lia Mancuso and Vincenza Policardi, two creative professionals who have decides to work on footwear to express their artistic talents. Lia and Vincenza, graduated in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, decided to join their forces to create something unique and at the same time able to represent in an original way the role of women in our society. Why shoes? The answer has to do with destiny.
How did you decide to turn old shoes into works of art, Lia?
Everything has born by chance, it happened in 2006, while Vincenza and I were engaged in a theater project dedicated to women. During a walk, we found by accident a couple of old abandoned shoes and we had the same idea: using them as a pictorial support, not as a static element, but something that we imagine in movement. A kind of alternative fabric, enriched with a strong symbolic value when applied to women: shoes represent women and their daily journey towards research and emancipation.
How is your work carried out? How do shoes have a second artistic life?
The shoes we work on can take two directions: a purely artistic one, and a "wearable" one. In the first case, we transform shoes into a sculptural and pictorial supports. We clothe them with cementite which makes them white and harden; in this way it can be painted. They become a "blank canvas" on which apply different materials, often recycled ones. In this way, they become small sculptures that can be used as a decoration. They often become real stories because on many shoes we have written texts.
And the second path, that of 'wearable' shoes?
The second way is not an idea of ours, but of our customers who wanted to "wear" our works of art. In this case we use new techniques and colors for fabrics and leather. A way to renew shoes that would otherwise end up in the trash.
The strangest request you have received?
A customer asked us to change a pair of his old shoes according to a particular theme: New York, his netx destination, where he dediced to wear them. We were inspired by the Big Apple building two pairs of different shoes, one on the theme of the underground journey, the subway, and the other on everything there is on this path, what the great American metropolis offers.
And now?
Currently our work took a different path, the teaching one. Unfortunately we had a moment of stasis. So, since I am a teacher, I decided to carry my passion with kids  through an original educational project.
What is it?
It is an educational and interdisciplinary project for the secondary school level, an awareness program on the theme of emigration; I read with my students a book called "Do not tell me you're afraid," the story of a Somali girl who wanted to be an athlete and who dreamed of a pair of shoes to run during the Olympics. But this little girl was one of the victims of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and became the symbol of this journey towards her dream. Each student brought to school a couple of old shoes to transform them and give a meaning to the dream of the Somali girl.
What do you wish for the future?
We would like to continue to transmit our passion and experience through educational. My artistic achievement also would materialize with this new path.