White Canvas #15 Silvia Salvagno Back home

Silvia Salvagno

Silvia Salvagno is a gifted artist of the art24 community. In this White Canvas text, she talks about her life in different places and how she discovered art.

Returning Home

In this text I explore how my roots influence my artistic practice and help it to evolve and change across time and cultures.

It has been many years since I last visited my home town in Argentina. San Francisco, in the Province of Córdoba. It is a quiet place in a agricultural region of our Pampa. I have the best memories of my childhood and teenage years here: Riding my bike to school in my white uniform (guardapolvo), collecting leaves and bugs in the neighborhood park with friends, the swimming pool and games during the long, lazy summer months, ballet, and drawing classes after school, “fiestas de quince” (the traditional coming-of-age parties to celebrate a girl turning 15 years old), spring parties, Sundays at my grandparents' (nonnos) farm, learning how to crochet with my nonna, playing cards with my aunts and uncles, and so many other moments that I will treasure forever.

Many of my school friends have chosen to raise their families here. Some have studied and worked abroad but still found their way back after some years because it’s “just such a good place to live and to raise a family.” 


1 - Reunion with my High School friends


2 - My parents, Rita and Luis. My mentors and the best parents you can wish for


In my case, once I left, life took me to many cities and countries around the world. I can’t deny that this journey changed me in many ways, and I saw my view of the world expand as my possibilities grew. But along the way, I always gravitated back to the one thing that made me the happiest: art. I saw this love transform from a dream into my profession. It sounds so simple in just a few lines, but it took me many years, failures, getting up and finding new perspectives and lots of courage to build my artistic practice and keep moving forward as I continue learning and reinventing myself.

Even though my practice has grown and evolved in each new country I’ve explored, I can recognise that everything I learned and experienced in my hometown always shines through in my paintings and my way of sharing art. Coming from a small town, the sense of belonging to a community that you can rely on, that “gets you”, is deeply ingrained in me. It has always inspired me to look for ways to share what I do with other nomads like me and the communities that have welcomed us on our journey. 

My Open Studio has been my way to give back by creating a sense of community reminiscent of my childhood, while sharing the love of art with kindred spirits. I strive to offer a welcoming space where people can feel the freedom to create and connect through the unique language of art. Nowadays, thanks to social media, I can also find belonging in communities like the one of art24 and share my journey with artists and art lovers all over the world. These kinds of interactions have allowed me to connect with so many artistic backgrounds and access exciting new opportunities. 

In my work, you can always see many layers, as well as the layers of experiences life has blessed me with. The whole piece can only be complete or the composition balanced with all of them mixing in harmony. I keep my palette simple, always returning to primary tones to create various colours and hues, departing from the most essentials. I ask myself: can this be the longing for the simple, slow, but rich life I lived in this small place of the world? I am not sure if I can answer this question now, but it is one that keeps my research alive and pushes me to find the most authentic, raw, and honest way to tell my story to the world.

While the values of my hometown have inspired my own artistic practice in so many ways, I was overjoyed to see other local artists participating in this practice on my last trip home. It was so uplifting and inspiring to see the streets of my city lined with vibrant street art as part of the “Las Paredes Hablan” The Walls Speak programme. This cultural initiative, funded mainly by the city's Department of Culture, was born in May 2022 with the aim of transforming public spaces through art. From a plaza to the big city’s water tank, I was able to see my beloved city through different lenses. And to witness local artists expressing their views, dreams, and ideas in a way I could’ve only dreamed of growing up fills me with joy.


3 - Mural painted by Vivas at my neighborhood park. At Plaza Barrio Jardin


Mural by Alfredo Segatori alfredosegatori. "Las vacas que vuelan" cows that fly.


5 - Murals by Ramón Cortez


6 - homage to the first Italian immigrants in San Francisco


I also had the opportunity to visit an exhibition at the city’s “Tecnoteca,” a relatively new space dedicated to activities and workshops on technology, culture, and education. The end-of-the-year art exhibition reunited 25 local painters and sculptors, presenting the public with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of techniques and styles. 

Another highlight of my contact with the local artist community was the discovery of the work of artist Anahí Venica (@anahigracielavenica). Anahí describes herself as a woman constantly experiencing new things and moving forward. “I don't like routine; the same thing happens to me with art. I have monochrome works and others with polychromy, the same with traditional and digital drawings. I remember that out of curiosity, I started working to find out what I could do on my cell phone in terms of drawing; then, during the pandemic, with a tablet, I dedicated myself to making digital drawings. I always liked to challenge myself. My art is honest and comes from a place of enjoyment.”

Needless to say, I returned to my home away from home with renovated energies to continue creating and telling the story of my journey to the world in the most honest way I know—with brushes and paint. Having visited the place where this journey started and reconnecting with the local art scene there was a real treat, and poignant reminder that we can grow higher and stronger by staying grounded in our roots.


7- Espacio El Periodico. Exhibiton of local artists at the "Tecnoteca" San Francisco.


8 - Anahi Venica with her work in her studio


9 - Some pieces of my Nostalgia Series, inspired by my childhood memories.


10 - Nonnos (grandparents) I - Oil, charcoal and embroidery on linen


11 - Nonnos (grandparents) II - Oil, charcoal and embroidery on linen


12 - Nonnos (grandparents) III - Oil, charcoal and embroidery on linen