Title: Nicholas DeSimini
Medium: Acrylic on Wood
Size: 45.5 in. x 33.5 in
Nicolas DeSimini was a great-grandfather born in Bari, Italy who migrated at a young age to Jerusalem in the early 20th century/late 19th. My main recollection I have of him is my Sitti (grandmother) mentioning traveling with him to Cairo or Lebanon on leisure.
He was a merchant, builder, an architect, a shop owner, and tile designer. His tile was shipped throughout the region adorning hotels and homes across the Middle East. Today many of his buildings still stand – despite war and the obliteration of his legacy — as hotels, offices, and stores. One such building has the catastrophic irony of being occupied as a government office by the Israeli government near the Knesset building in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Despite the buildings and works of his lifetime being lost to the wars and cultural conflicts of the region – his legacy still carries on. His grandchildren were still given the name Nicholas: a reference to the St. Nicholas Cathedral that watches over the merchant city of Bari. The work, produced on an old shipping crate, is nostalgic for this enterprising ancestor and evokes the migrations his progeny would make.