The Belarusian artist Irina Belaeva repairs potholes with mosaics inspired by Sicily

Belarusian artist Irina Belaeva’s solution to solve the scourge of potholes on public roads which more and more often plague Italian cities. While some propose to use eco-friendly cold asphalt and others ironically organize mini golf tournaments between one crack and the other, Irina Belaeva, has decided to patch the holes in viale Boccetta (Messina) with some mosaics portraying colourful buds or the many wonders of our land.

FROM BELARUS WITH LOVE. The artist, who has always passionate about painting, rediscovered the love for watercolours twelve years ago, when she moved from the cold Minsk to Messina. However, by walking through the streets of the city, she soon noticed many sidewalks riddled with cracks and dangerous gaps, which she set out to fill in her own way.  Thus, was born “Irma’s carpets”, the mosaic project which already consists of more than 35 works. However, roads paved with good intentions are not always easy to follow. Despite Irina’s offer to fix the city’s streets for free, the authorities kept on withholding the necessary authorizations. When the go-ahead was finally given, she used broken shards found in a nearby construction site as tiles arranged in beautiful mosaics with the help of friends and relatives. A creative and sustainable way to help fixing the neighborhood.

Irina Balaeva

BONDS. Sicilian music in her headphones, even when drawing, Irina’s colourful mosaics come to life between the grey tiles of the sidewalks of Messina. But that requires great dedication:  you have to cut every tile, compose it, bed it on a plastic net and then set it in the street with cement after having signaled it properly, so that nobody can ruin it. Her dream? Creating a small group of citizens willing to take care of their city because there are many holes and new ones arise every day. Who knows that maybe one day can even get a compensation for the hard work. The desire to improve your country and to feel an active part of the community should push all of us, since we are often used to looking at rather than doing something. For our part, we can only wish her to spread her initiative maybe starting from Rome, where the potholes are very deep. Moreover, one of her learned colleagues, the American mosaic artist Jim Bachor started just like this, plugging a hole in his street of Chicago in 2013 with one of his amazing works. Since then he has traveled far and wide across the world making known his social and environmental protection missions in addition to his extraordinary works.

Translated by Daniela Marsala