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Refugee is a work of grass and earth, a symbol of what a person leaves behind when they must leave their country. Each blade of grass represents a person. In a boat, in an ocean, towards a different future.



Alessandra Beltrame has been an artist in residence at Salem Art Works for two seasons. In both years, she participated in our Salem2Salem initiative, now in its sixth year. This residency exchange program occurs consecutively in both Germany and The United States. This year, she returned to SAW as a Fellow Artist two months before the residency.


She is as boldly curious as she is passionate. Her exploration centers on the human spiritual condition. All of Alessandra's creations are non-linear and alchemically ephemeral.

Her pursuit is quiet yet deeply thought-provoking, questioning the sense of self and the relationship we all have with the world around us and with each other.


Her recent installation, REFUGEE BOAT, created in Barn 2 at Salem Art Works, is a truly remarkable creation. Initially, I experienced an unusual density where the installation seems heavier than it is, almost halfway sinking into the ground. This installation is made of grass from our fields, yet it resembles small pieces of blue stone or something dense and permanent, amassed. Grass is used as a medium that transcends its original nature. In this context, grass as a material becomes transformative not because it's out of place, but due to its poetic intent and impermanence.


I believe this installation is unique; it exists independently, not requiring prior work from history to validate its origin or experience. I believe it's exceptionally special and distinctive.


Anthony Cafritz, Founder

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