About This Project

Franco Nonnis

Franco 58, lives and works in Cagliari, Italy. Franco is a self-taught painter. His passion started when he was a small child where he could often be found seeking inspiration in his Grandfathers workshop. Franco is incredibly well travelled and the different cultures he experienced are evident within his works.

Franco’s artistic works cover the spectrum of human lives, engaging his audience with his authentic expressions of delights, sufferings and the emotions that surround us all.



“Nonnis anthropomorphations lead again towards an image of freedom, where forms proliferate almost by themselves. Perhaps reference can be found in the iconic graffiti covering city walls or the imagery of simplified surrealism. The use of a clear priming, sets the painting in a kind of infantile elogy, like the little theatre fantasy world where characters and objects release themselves by their relationship with the conventional world. They generate a matrix of visionary and enigmatic context.”

by Art Critic Nicola Nuti



The creative path 2017



family, friends, work: these are the foundations of the relationships and interactions of my life, a life that is a path, a road, a feeling that on the road tickles my interest and pushes me to discover people, nourishes my curiosity, supports my pleasure of living among people and for people. New experiences, travels, known and unknown worlds: the list will be long, but the personal enrichment that I get is much more fulfilling and intense, it has the flavor of the future, of my future, and of the future of people who live with me this amazing world.



The sad habit of landing of African population on our shores prevents us from seeing the stories that these people carry with them on bargers, in bags full of rags and memories. Those bags that are the emblem of their escape from hunger and wars, and taht here become the cruel emblem of a mass exodus of women, old children, desperate men seeking shelter for their families, of dead men and women in the sea as never seen in recent history. Consciousness is, fortunately, still affected. My conscience comes out devastated. While all this was happening, another tragedy took place, quieter, less mass-media-appealing, less spectacular perhaps: the escape of Italians from Italy. The escape of young and old people looking for a job and dignity, looking for a future considered by many no longer possible in our country. Guided by the spasmodic search for social values to share, to convey to their children. It is the story of people who have lost their Paradise, it is the story of a people going away to look for another one.



The recent story features horrors unknown to the generation of the current 50-year-old men and women. Wars, terrorism, whole population migrations, economic crisis: all these are elements of the denial of a future that breaks the dream of most people. The search for new opportunities is spasmodic, long and difficult. The “comfort zone” we used to live in disappeared and in the crisis, you feel the need to put your talents into play to create your own perspective of a future. First, you have to be aware of having talents, you have to see them in front of you, you have to feel them within you. And then you have to find the courage to show them, to be proud of them and to carry them on with determination.

I’m looking for a starting point, digging into my roots, among the stories I know or the ones I’ve been told. I root around with childish and good curiosity the stories of people who have always driven their lives, those of humble origins, coming from socially difficult territories characterized by an ungenerous environment, by mountains that snow in winter, hiding bandits, calling for isolation, sacrifices. I discover peoples who have kept their original values and know-how, and I find my roots in the people that made those sacrifices. People who, unknowingly, have also allowed me to have a better life. Then, instead of loosing myself I feel pride and gratitude to those who have overcome those difficulties, and I find that those men and women have been everything far more than I ever perceived, strong, honest, and innovative. They knew how to look into reality without ever escaping it, building their future day by day with vision and consistency, opening new roads, seeking and finding new horizons. People that have been able to build their own Paradise with devotion, without presumption. I want to find this Lost Paradise, this value of know-how in order to look forward with determination, overcoming the obstacles that life inevitably presents, guided by loyalty, dignity, respect for myself and the others.

The Lost Heaven is the evolution of Exodus, my first exhibition dedicated to “those who leave”. It is the awareness of the need for new opportunities, for shared and strong values, and of the ability to express them.The Lost Heaven is inspired by my roots, by the colors of my homeland, by my daily life. The characters represented by the artworks are real, everyone has lived an “exodus” and worked on the construction or discovery of their Lost Heaven. They are people who live close to me, with whom I have shared significant moments of my life and to whom I want to give the richness of the colors and the power of the materials I use, which together express strong values. From here starts the road to find “The Lost Heaven”

Cagliari, 7 June 2017 – Franco Nonnis