Every Wednesday morning, on the roof of the parking silo of the Arnaldo Park in Brescia, a group of women volunteers take care of a plot of about 1200 sqm. It is the Keopi, half way between a garden and a vegetable garden, run by an all-female team. An open work of art which has transformed the roof of a parking silo into a suggestive green space, a colourful top above the grey metal of the cars. Behind the initiative is the Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadress and creator of MATERiainerte (relational art project) Patrizia Fratus, who manages the project with the help of her “staff”.
But before delving into the details of their activity, let’s go back to the beginning: “Three years ago, – explains the ambassadress – when we launched our group project, we were granted free use of part of an abandoned hill. It was the perfect opportunity to experiment: briers had colonized the area and worked in our favour; we then gradually started replacing them with edible herbs. We eventually had to leave, but our will to continue our work led us to have made available a plot of land of 1200 sqm on top of a parking silo in the centre of Brescia from Brescia Mobilità, thanks to the intercession of our assessor to culture Laura Castelletti.
Throughout the years, about fifty women of every age, ethnicity and qualification have worked at the space in synergy. Even if for different amounts of time (some occasionally, some for years), the team spirit has never waned and they have each left their personal mark on the development of the garden. Together, many hands have made the land thrive with flowers and vegetables. The group plans according to the principles of permaculture and follows the synergistic method, guaranteeing a natural harmony between the production and the ecosystem. “I know that art is the best tool to imagine and build a more responsible society, – continues Patrizia Fratus – but when I started this project and my training to have the skills to realize it I had no idea that land and women were so deeply interconnected. Our patriarchal culture has violated all that is generative. This process is therefore a sort of journey of knowledge of ourselves and what surrounds us. Working the land, in its apparent simplicity, is about self-caring, about seeing the value of our actions, about understanding how we are the authors of our surroundings.”
What does the group specifically work on? “First of all we grow awareness. We operate so that, besides fertility and vegetable for our kitchens, the project produces an economy and a way to experiment how self-production can be, more widely speaking, self-determination. We invite you to join us: we are there every Wednesday, on top of the Arnaldo Park in piazzale Arnaldo; if it rains, we meet opposite it, in the Largo Torrelunga library, kindly offering us the space. Bring your experiences and your seeds and we’ll give you ours. Anybody can take part in this relational work of art.”