“I want this sculpture to serve as a place where children can come and make a wish,” says sculptor Antonio Signorini who resides between Dubai and Florence. The work, which is 150 centimetres in height and weighs 180kilos, is created in bronze using the lost wax technique by which a duplicate metal sculpture is cast from an original sculpture.
The finished product is a captivating four-legged creature that resembles a unicorn entirely painted in 24-carat gold leaf while the single horn on its head is derived from a real Buffalo. It also has two wings, an aspect that recalls mythological creatures of ancient Greece and Rome. “I took inspiration from Renaissance sculpture of a mythological creature,” says Signorini. “I tried to give the idea of happiness seen through the creature’s faint bow and subtle smile. I wanted to portray the link between ancient and modern sculpture.”
Views of Signorini’s large sculpture from his Fantasie series for the Tamanna Foundation
Courtesy of the artist
The work is a project by Tamanna, a non-profit organization in Lebanon founded in 2015 that grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses. The initiative believes that by turning a child’s wish into reality it empowers a child to fight against his illness through hope and happiness even during great times of hardship.
Wishes come in the form of parties, a visit from Spiderman and even a trip to NASA in Houston. Any child between the ages of three and 18 years suffering from a critical illness and residing or being treated in Lebanon is eligible for a wish. Tamanna covers 21 hospitals across the country and wishes are served regardless of nationality, religion or socio-economic background.
Signorini’s sculpture will be unveiled in October by the govenor of Beirut, Ziad Chebib in a park next to the municipality’s office. “It’s like a Trevi Fountain for children,” said Chebib. Indeed, the work’s glistening surface and fantasy-like depiction are sure to make it a much-loved public art piece by children and also adults in the city.
The piece is part of Signorini’s Fantasie (2019) series that represents a child’s free way of thinking and expression and which, like all of the sculptor’s work, incorporates references to antiquity, the east and modernity through various techniques, mediums and artistry. The series is scheduled to go on view in Europe and North America in 2020. Signorini’s I Guardiani del Patrimonio (2017) bronze series of sculptures can also be viewed in Beirut at the Samir Kassir Pool across from Le Gray Hotel in downtown Beirut. tamanna.me