week 24: Sophia Khan

The Art

“Unadorned Intimacy”, Ferrandina, Italy, by Sophia Khan
Watercolor on Arches paper
twitter: sophiasstudio


"unadorned intimacy", Ferrandina, Italy. Watercolor_copyright-sophia-khan

“unadorned intimacy”, Ferrandina, Italy. Watercolor_copyright-sophia-khan

The Music

“Ferrandina” (5:29 mins) © Helen Davey
(for 6 voice, accordion, guitar)  

Artist’s Comments

Sophia Khan

Unadorned Intimacy, Ferrandina, Italy

Italy is more than its monuments.  More than its museums, churches, piazzas, and ruins. There is a beauty to Italy that is sometimes just around the corner from its more obvious charms. One that is found in weathered cobblestones, peeling paint, spalling stones. One that is seen where laundry hangs to dry in the sunlight outside a window. One that is heard when two women exchange pleasantries and laughs with each other, through the upper floor windows of their opposite homes. One that is observed in the dedicated hands of the barista, the violin maker, the jeweler, the farmer, each leading their simple and content lives in the backdrop of immense beauty and history.

In celebration of all this, is an unadorned view of House No. 50 in Ferrandina, in the south of Italy.  A place like so many others in Italy where the boundaries between public and private are blurred, where outside and inside coalesce.  Where meaning lies not in knowing the history of the site, the architect, the street name, or where it lies on a map, but how it moves us. How it reminds us to see beauty in the unadorned, simple and intimate world that so often mirrors our own.

text, chart and scribbles for "Ferrandina"

text, chart and scribbles for “Ferrandina”

My Music 

I wondered of this painting, who might live there? A large family? Through the open doorway, I imagined families and neighbourhood friends gathering, exchanging and experiencing daily life and rites of passage together.

Due to the subtle pastels and sense of tenderness in this beautiful watercolour, I opted for a slower tempo with a gentle feel to create a simple folk song.  I have chosen some tone colours from the Southern Italian folk music palette (guitar, voices, accordion) to evoke stability and mystery, using a verse and chorus format.

For my text, I took the river as a metaphor for moving forward in our respective walks of life, pondering the future, with a sense of contentment that ultimately, all will be well.  With warmest thanks to Silvia Callegari and Fiona McCarthy for some extremely short notice coaching re the Italian language. Any mistakes are all mine!

Washburn & Hohner

Washburn & Hohner


I appreciate all of your comments and emails. Thank you for hanging out with me and sharing my project with people you know.

Buon giorno! Wherever you are.





2 comments to week 24: Sophia Khan

  • Thank you Helen for this so very beautiful sound painting. I especially love the expression of ‘private’ and ‘public’ sounds, so very poetically layered one after the other, as the painting alludes to. The vocals are dreamlike, soothing, and simply delightful and the music, with nostalgic undertones, takes me back….. A true joy to be part of this project!

    • Helen

      Sophia, you’re so welcome! It was fun working on the juxtaposition of public and private. So glad it takes you back there – must be such a beautiful village… Thanks again for being part of the project.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>