Calcúra is an editorial visual journey through Sardinia. Through a series of conversations and photographic stories Acre has created a showcase of the Sardinian creative scene.
Several voices have been involved, and each of them represents an interweave, a root in the soil that creates intimate worlds waiting to be discovered.
Choose a medium and make it your instrument and object of research. A bridge enabling the exploration of the space between the self and the other. This is photography for Piera Masala, a young Sardinian creative, who, without labelling it in a pre-established genre, uses the photographic medium in that personal and intimate movement that is her own identity construction. We thus interviewed her last August during our trip to Sardinia X Calcùra.
Tell us about yourself and how through your training you came to express yourself through the language of photography.
I am Piera Masala, I am Sardinian and I live in a town that is the second smallest in Sardinia. I start with this small detail because for me it has marked both my creative and personal process. My approach to the artistic world and to photography began by chance, when I realised that I was attracted to something that I basically did not know and could not touch, was not tangible. So I started to wonder, I tried to figure out which direction it was taking me and I discovered that the visual world was the one closest to my interests and vision.
I enrolled at the Institute of Photography and Graphics in Padua, a path that was decisive because I became passionate about photography and the visual in general. I do not prefer any particular photographic style because I consider myself quite versatile as my photography is in line with what I experience. There is no fashion, nude photography, portraits because in the end what I am looking for is simply something that brings me closer to myself.
In your photography there is a certain focus on the body, particularly the female body. How did this research come about?
It all started in Australia when I found myself sharing my space and time with many women from different ethnicities and places around the world. By sharing space with them, I found myself asking so many questions about myself, about my corporeality, getting closer to my vision of myself, and by detaching myself from this I got closer to them.
The medium of photography helped me to get closer, to be able to feel and to have both bodily, physical and mental contact. Through this experience I realised how much paranoia we have in inhabiting our own bodies. My aim is to get closer to myself and I do this by discovering other people’s worlds. Obviously being the more familiar feminine I will continue to get to know, experience as many women as possible because I believe it is the only way to make sense of my existence.
Would you call yourself a ‘photographer’ then?
My job is not photography. I think it is very limiting nowadays to ask “what do you do?“. “I do photography, I am a photographer” is how I am labelling myself, fitting into a word so interpretable by anyone that it is most likely far from my vision. My photographic projects are closer to sharing, doing something together, then trying to ‘eyeball’ a goal and take it forward together in Sardinia.
This is because Sardinia and I myself need this, that is, to have courage, to feel free to express what I think. My reason for living is also what brings me here: to do something for my land, to express myself and be an inspiration.
So what is your relationship with Sardinia, with your roots, also by virtue of the journeys you have made?
I have a special relationship with Sardinia. I’ve always felt that it doesn’t isolate me at all even though I’ve lived on the island all my life, apart from my travels. For me it is a quest and a gamble, I would say. Photography being quite in step with what I live and my life being quite eventful. I have everything here, I always try to link my somewhat more contemporary vision to what is my identity and existence, which is made up of faces, old people, sounds, bells, the sea […].
What I do when I am in Sardinia is to combine two characteristics: the somewhat visionary me who is inspired by what he reads or by a film, and the one who lives Sardinia. I left here because I thought it was limiting. As I went outside, I realised that the one with the limits was simply me. I created the limits for myself and everything could change the moment I changed my vision and approach to it.
I would be lying to tell you that there are projects or things I expect from Sardinia; I only know that it is a memory inside me. There is this constant going of tangible sensations: the bells, my grandmother telling stories, the veils (which often return in my photography). When I am in Sardinia, I often cover faces because in a way it is as if I ‘undress’ the body. I cover faces because I think that it is not yet time to see everything about Sardinia, I cannot and do not want to take it right away.
Surely awareness, really understanding what I want to communicate and who I am, will slowly lead me away from these veils, these memories, to create something of my own that tastes like this but has a life of its own.