The Head of My Enemy 7x5 oil by Shirley Fachilla
Sicilians are famous for their long memories and slightly less famous for their ceramics which are vibrant in color and strong in design. One of their very traditional ceramic pieces is the “head,” a full-color ceramic human head made into a flower pot. According to the story I was told, a ceramic head always portrays an enemy. Sicilians do not lack for enemies.
Over the centuries, Sicily has been invaded multiple times; unsurprisingly, many of those invaders have made the enemy list. The Spanish invasion and occupation is considered one of the worst. As you might guess, many of those pots, like the little one I painted here, bear Spanish faces, beautiful Spanish faces.
In Sicily, you can find all sorts of heads, big and little, factory-made and hand-crafted. Mine was hand-made in Caltagirone and signed by the artist. It was intended for the tourist trade to be sure; but as discussed earlier, tourist art can find its way into museums. Right now, however, our Sicilian ceramic head is quite at home in our living room.