Conceptualising Exceptional Installations




Shereen Shabnam
Lucia Oliva, born in Genoa Italy is an eclectic contemporary self taught artist who creates art on stones and plays with mirrors and other accessories to give life to her unique concept that combines sculpture, painting, installation and theatre. We met her in Dubai and saw some of her amazing artworks that were unique and breathtaking.

Lucia grew up with a joyful loving family where her parents (Nino Oliva and Ida Gazzeri) taught her to have faith in God, love people without judging and see the positive in all aspects of life. Her father instilled in her a deep love for nature in all its expressions while her mother gave her the passion for literature, scenic creation and theatre, hence both parents cultivating her artistic talents.

Married for 22 years to her agent Luca, a lawyer, journalist, artist himself (dancer, event organizer, creative mind) Lucia tells us he is her rock. Their company (Ludica Antiqua) has organised theatre and opera shows, classical concerts, cultural festivals and galas all over the world.

The events were historically themed, based on legends and old traditions so people could live the experience and “have fun through culture”. Both Luca and Lucia work and live together in a small paradise island in Sicily (Alicudi) in the south of Italy, where Lucia finds her inspiration most.

It is a magical place for the soul with a tiny fairytale house nestled on a big rock on one side of the island, facing the breathtaking panorama of the infinite sea and the other islands of the archipelago. Lucia enjoys music, poetry, dance, sculpting, painting, literature and drama, which influences her current work.

“Sculpting with colour”, Lucia creates subjects embodied in artworks rich in harmony and movement and creates a sort of contemporary “trompe l’oeil” effect. Her peculiar interpretation of the anamorphosis phenomenon gives life to artworks that consist in a tangible side on stone and a reflected ethereal one, which completes the enchantment.

Lucia studied as a teacher, a dancer, did a degree in law and then taught criminal law for a while seeing it as a tool to make justice prevail over injustice. She enjoyed primary school, which was her ‘Dream Period’ as her main teacher used techniques to stimulate creativity and curiosity. In high school, she enjoyed different disciplines, from literature, philosophy, psychology, history, to mathematics, physics and chemistry and she feels this was her ‘Expressing Myself’ period.

In University, Lucia realized that one of the best expression of “the fire” she always felt inside her soul was a deep love for JUSTICE and LOGIC and she hence studied and graduated in law, with a specialization in criminology.

For Lucia, inspiration always knocks on the door of her soul unexpectedly, in different moments and ways, as a sudden powerful lightning. This is why her work is so different one from one another. She represents her subjects in a 3D dimension, through a combination of sculpting, painting and installations, with mirrors and other totally different art techniques and accessories that create optical illusions. Lucia feels that Gulf cities show astonishing architectures and perspectives, which offer surprising light and reflection effects which inspire her. Her most leading figures among the great art masters of the past are Chaghal, Klimt and Gaudì.

Lucia loves to collect different objects, in which she sees new possible uses, always very different from their “normal” original one. She has various and mismatched dishes, glasses, cups or cutlery, each with a different story, to give a unique and special value even to a normal meal. Lucia loves supporting a sustainable lifestyle, the sea, the outdoor life, dancing, jogging, walking and obviously swimming.

Mahatma Ghandi influenced Lucia for his devotion to the values of peace and so does Tiziano Terzani, a famous Italian war reporter who promoted the values of a simple lifestyle in harmony with all human beings and nature. One of her most esteemed “heros” is Gino Strada, war surgeon and founder of Emergency, a non-profit organisation that provides free healthcare in conflict zones and poor areas of the world.

Lucia’s original art has found success in many solo and group exhibitions especially in the Gulf Area. Private collectors in Europe, Oman, Jordan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and other countries. Among the standing out collections: H.H. Sayyida Aliya bint Thuwaini Al Said (Oman), H.E. Dr. Mohammad Bin Al Zubair (founder-owner of Bait Al Zubair Musuem,Oman), H.E. Khalid Abdullah Al Ghurair (owner of ETA Star Ascon, Dubai), Dr. Amjad Aryan (owner of Pharmacy One Group, Jordan).

We wish her more success in this region with her artistic creations.