The excellent exhibition “Faith and images” at the Faroese National Gallery gives reflections on my own picture gallery. We often tend to value the most inaccessible things, such as the original paintings and drawings, but in this case, it is a reprint of a work of Gino Covili from 1992-93. The title of the work is “The preach to the birds”.
Gino Covili (2018-2005) is a well-known Italian artist. However, he was unknown to me until 2017 when we got a visit from Italy, including a lecture at the National Library about the artist. The visit was arranged by Gianfranco Contri, who is from the same area where Gino Covili worked.
The world of Gino Covili is out of a fairy tale, often a scary one. The creatures are fantastic, and the topic is often political, with a strong sympathy for those at the bottom of society, the poor and those who struggle. In my view, the motives can, to some extent, be considered a merger of William Heinesen and Sigrun Gunnarsdóttir.
Faith was not important for Gino Covili before his son Vladimir had an accident in 1992 and ended up in a coma, from which he took quite a long time to recover. In this situation, Gino Covili expressed himself through his art, using Saint Francis of Assisi. In the Faroes, Saint Francis is well known, as the nuns in the convent in Havn belong to the Franciscan order.
Francis of Assisi was known for his adoration of the creation, which is so well expressed in the Canticle of the Sun, stressing that we are in harmony with nature and must take care of it.
In Gino Covili’s pictures, the motifs of faith were illustrated through the activities of Francis in Assisi. It is well expressed, with a focus on humans and their struggle and the hope for peace between all nature’s creatures. The optimal description of faith.