“We exist in as much as the others interpret us”
In spite of having always been in poor health Maria Lai, at almost one hundred years of age, keeps writing and producing works of art.
When I get to the house in the heart of Sardinia where she lives with her sister, I have a very high curiosity to ask her what her secret is. But it is enough for me to see her curious eyes and how she bends her own body to laugh, just like a child, that I understand it myself. Maria Lai is a child for whom life is a big play that, if she could, would play over again, “better though”, for another century.
“Everybody asks me ‘at your age, why don’t you give up working?’ and I answer ‘why don’t you give up breathing?’ I am really lucky for having always played and keep doing it. All my plays have been a thrust to daydream, to tell lies. Only afterwards did I realize they called it art”.
She informs me right away that she doesn’t like to be interviewed “because I’m not important and in the end it’s always about gossiping”. I ask her how we can do it to avoid it. “First of all let us forget it is an interview”. We try it, sitting at the wooden table of the big house looking at the mountains where she has spent most of her childhood until the war, when she left the island to study art, first in Rome and then at the academy of art in Venice.