Gola and Some “Olio Santo” to Heal Italy’s Olive Trees

Barcelona based Italian Street Artist Gola is worshipping at the mystical the tree of life. He even emulates a tree as he stands atop the scissor lift; arms pulled inside his roomy sweater and extending branches out of the openings where hands would normally appear, reaching skyward, striking an open and powerful stance.

If only his power could save the olive trees of South Italy.

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

A bacterium spread by insects has been blamed for the devastation of tens of thousands of acres in Apulia (Puglia), and now the European Commission is proposing the destruction of up to 11 million olive trees. France has just announced that it will ban import of vegetables from the region.

Gola is looking for some holy oil (“Olio Santo”), or some sort of miraculous solution to a growing crisis that strikes at the heart of Italian cuisine, history, its economy, and cultural identity. With “Olio Santo” as a campaign he has created this image of an olive tree in trouble on paper, on canvas, as a t-shirt design, and now upon a huge wall.

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

“It symbolizes the obscure circumstances around Xylella fastidiosa (the plant pathogen) and the olive trees sickness, the epidemic, and the dramatic measures that have been proposed to solve it. Zoology and botany are his baliwick, and his murals often include these natural elements combined with his unique appropriation of spiritual traditions and innovative aesthetic weaving. He’s taken this worldview to Russia and Palestine, Brazil, and Kazakistan, Canada and Japan.

But this land is his home, so a sacred healing ointment is sorely wished for. The gold and masonic symbols hold special meaning to him and Olio Santo is actually the name of a popular olive oil made with the fruits of these endangered trees. Luckily for us the sacred oil here is shared for anyone who happens to be walking by.

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

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Gola. “Olio Santo” Bari, Italy. (photo © Mario Nardulli)

 

The artist wishes to express his most heartfelt thank you to Pigment Workroom for facilitating this project.

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