ISSUE 02journal, literature, transcendence02 / Oasis

Photograph by Selina Sea Gutt




Leaving Italy after four weeks, packed with two huge suitcases ragged by its weight, trying to balance two big five liter olive oil cans on top, I’m thinking about what a man said to us seeing us in the streets of bologna pulling our stuff behind us.
He wouldn’t let us pass without sticky taping our olive oil cans to our suitcases because he believes its bad omen to spill olive oil.
This scene replays so beautifully in my head. To me the beauty of superstitions lies in their cultural and historical richness, and the narratives that often accompany them, offering people a way to navigate the complexities of the world.

 After spending the last days harvesting an olive grove in Tuscany region I learn with trees defining the landscape, oil defines culture. Their abstract forms reflect centuries of shaping, generation after generation, in the structure of these ancient trees, humans were nature's carving tool.
Initially, olives and their oil were not used for edible consumption. Oil gathered from pressing the fruit was used to salve priests, pharaohs and lubricated on wealthy bodies to keep good hygiene.
With time, this precious liquid was utilized in every facet of ancient Mediterranean life, from fuel and food to medicine and cosmetics.

The cultural significance of the olive tree can be traced back to ancient Greek culture. It was considered a sacred tree, associated with the goddess Athena. Olive oil, derived from the fruit of the olive tree, was also a valuable commodity in ancient Greece and had various uses, including in religious ceremonies. The olive wreath, made from the branches of the olive tree, became a symbol of peace, wisdom, and prosperity.

Offering an olive branch was a gesture of goodwill, and the symbolism extended to the crowns awarded to victorious athletes. It reinforced the idea that athletic competitions were not just about rivalry and conflict but also about celebrating skill and achievement.
Olive crowns were not limited to athletic events. They were also used to honor individuals for civic achievements or contributions to the community. This practice helped reinforce a sense of civic duty and encouraged individuals to strive for excellence in various aspects of life.
Over time, the tradition of wearing olive crowns became deeply ingrained in Greek culture and society. The crowns were seen as prestigious symbols of accomplishment and were often depicted in art and literature as well.

Working on my L’Oliva Rings I am drawing inspiration from the ancient wisdoms of the olive tree while adapting them to resonate with modern sensibilities, values and aesthetics that go beyond mere adornment, connecting with the person who wears them on a deeper level and promoting the idea of harmony and peace in contemporary life. 

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