The story of a new life: Venice as the symbol of birth drawn on pregnant artist belly 

28 September 2021

Venezia, 27th September 2021 – Paintings embracing a new life as pregnancy gives birth to a new world that goes beyond the gaze. It had to be Venice, the final act of “Pance”, the project developed by artist Manuela Traini that wanted to dedicate a special painting on her belly to celebrate Venice 1600 years. The performance “Venezia 1600. Storia di una nuova vita” was carried out some days ago by the Rome based artist originally from the Marche region.  It took one day to choose an easy place to self-paint on her belly by using the blue colour, as for the baby boy that she’s waiting for, Enea, who is due in a couple of weeks. On her belly, a symbol of a new life, we can see a canal, some bricole, gondolas and palaces reflected in the water. A new birth as a wish to a city that the artist strongly wanted as the final part of her project and that, by chance, coincides with the year in which celebrated Venice foundation, March 25th, 421. Indeed, a new birth and a re-birth, since Venice's birthday mark the beginning of a new chapter of the city, all to be written. As baby Enea’s life and as all the other babies’ lives that, even before their birth, had Manuela’s artistic hands drawing for them. 

“To me there are two cities: Rome and Venice – she explains – Venice is the symbol of magnificence, the word “unique” truly represents Venice. You can go wherever you want but you’ll never find another Venice anywhere. I intended to conclude here a magic project that lasted 7 years and through which I painted more than 130 bellies. I aimed at providing a deeper value to this project and Venice 1600 years celebrations were the perfect occasion to give a higher intellectual and majestic value to what I did”. Belly as symbol of fertility, a nest that welcomes a new life and that projects Venice towards its rebirth.

“In Venice I felt the queen of the bellies – laughs the artist that has always been attached to the concept of body art – the idea came as a joke when my twin sister Martina was pregnant: hers was the first belly that I painted and since then, I began to travel all over Italy. Painting a pregnant woman’s belly is not just a nice photographic memory, it really means to live a unique experience”. 

Bellies became, for just one day, the memory of an art that survives to itself and that expresses the beauty of a woman ready to give birth to a new life. Cartoons, heroes with superpowers, famous painters, Walt Disney and cinema icons have come to life on women’s bellies. Make-up and costumes helped completing the work of art representing one of the most crucial and important moments in a woman’s life. Inspiration came from a picture that the artist was previously sent.

“For me, the difficulty is painting on myself. That’s why I chose an imperfect and not-so-definite landscape, as Van Gogh did” she comments. Nicolao venetian atelier costumes framed the belly’s painting. “Wearing horns had a specific meaning: I wanted to wear something royal – concludes –. Indeed, not so long ago I thought that if I had a baby, I would have painted Venice on my belly and today, this dream has come true”.