The “Enchanted Woods” contest has always been dedicated to the world of fairy tales and the imagination. This time we have chosen the world of animal therapy for two reasons: if the world of the imaginary stimulates fantasy and intelligence, with animal therapy one can deepen the relationship between man and animal and also create a beneficial effect which softens and lessens the stress that this day-and-age reserves for just about everyone.
Pet Therapy is a remedy based on the interaction between man and animal, and whilst both benefit from it, it is essentially the human who gets the most. This doesn’t replace, but integrates, traditional remedies and can be used for patients of varying pathologies with the objective of improving physical, cognitive, psycho-social and psycho-emotional behaviour. The goal of this co-therapy is to facilitate the therapeutic approach of medical and rehabilitation professionals, especially in cases where a patient is not showing signs of voluntary collaboration. The presence of an animal, in many cases, reinforces an emotional connection with the patient and through this relationship a channel of communication can be established, which stimulates the patient’s active participation.
For these reasons, the theme of the edition “Best Friends” was dedicated to our closest friends: Animals, indistinctively. We would rather not have had to dedicate this Ex Libris specifically to Olly & Spank, crossbred Labrador twins, who by a sad twist of fate, at the hands of a distracted driver, lost one of the two Olly. Just like any person who is close to us, he will always be in our hearts and although we may have short memories, for Spank, the twin left, the sadness in his eyes speaks volumes about his continuous thoughts of the brother he lived with for 12 years.
As always happens, this competition brings with it something of its own past, but also the embryos of what will be its future: reinventing itself on each occasion in a natural evolution that also takes account of the suggestions of artists and enthusiasts.
Now we come to the Ex Libris: they have a propaedeutic component that may make it easier to love (and collect) both contemporary and past artwork, and give more visibility to the engravers of today, because the vitality of the Ex Libris world is certainly superior to that of so-called free graphics. The main feature of this year’s “The Enchanted Woods” compared to the previous edition was that this time entry was free and extended to Italian and foreign artists, rather than only being open to specially invited artists selected from the leading exponents of the genre.
The number of works was considerable, though somewhat lacking compared to the past in distinguished foreign entries. Invitations reached Italy, Russia, Turkey and France, Belarus and Lithuania, and China, India, Argentina and Japan, and the response was significant, though not always in accordance with the regulations of the competition. This is why significant works had to be excluded, irrespective of their appeal and content.
We must end with a well-deserved thank you to all the artists who chose to take part in this venture, in the hope that we will able to count on their precious co-operation again for the next edition of our competition, whose theme will be "Alice in Wonderland"