Bonaria Manca: her name says it all. “Bonaria” comes from the Spanish ‘Buen Ayre’, meaning “fair winds”, and is a typical name is some parts of Sardinia (Cagliari is home to the Sancturay of Our Lady of Bonaria, patron saint of sailors and inspiration for the name of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires).
Bonaria was born in Orune, in the province of Nuoro, almost ninety years ago, but now lives in Tuscania, Lazio, where her family moved to in the 1950s. Her house is filled with the colors of her paintings, which open up the walls like windows letting in the fairest wind – a wind that tells her story, and the story of her imagination.
Bonaria started painting when she was over fifty, right here in the region that Romans called Tuscia, where she used to walk and ride her horse far and wide, following the flocks of sheep she shepherded.
After a short-lived marriage, and the death of her mother and brother, Bonaria’s existence risked entering one of those sad phases of solitude that many people seem unable to escape. She could have closed off for days and years, avoiding the light.
That is when her destiny changed. Art came into her life like wind, opening the windows and growing stronger to steer her in a new direction. She says, “How was I supposed to know…” – so often it’s become almost her motto.
And while books are written and documentaries filmed about her, she simply goes on painting amid the wonderful winds in her home.