Biographical notes

Nenne Sanguineti Poggi was born in Savona in 1909 within a family where culture, arts and letters had been highly considered for generations.

She was part of a Ligurian group where she began her work as a painter; she then lived for thirty years in Eritrea absorbing the country’s culture: her painting remained permeated by its influence.

She worked for the Ethiopian Government and for private clients, making large murals in mosaic, ceramic, gouaches, concrete relief in official buildings, schools, banks, hotels, business offices and private and public chapels. Some of these works include the 1700 square feet mural in the African Hall in Addis Ababa; the 40’ mural at the Agazien school in Asmara; the seven 20’ high mosaics on the front of the Church Enda Mariam in Asmara; a lunette in front of the Church of Saint Stephan in Addis Ababa; a basin-shaped mosaic in the Church of the Savior in Addis Ababa; four mosaic panels in the chapel of Ras Tassa; the 860 square feet of the Talbot (the tabernacle) mosaic in the Church of Saint Mary in Axum; the 60’ mural ceramic in the front of the main office of Barattolo Cotton Company, in Asmara; the 45’ceramic panel in front of the “Ferdinando Martini” school of Asmara; two large ceramic panels at the French Hotel in Addis Ababa; a large mosaic at the EAL office in Cairo; mosaics for the swimming pool and murals at the “Pleasure Palace” in Bahrain; large ceramic panels for private residences in Johannesburg; a ceramic panel for the Italian club, Addis Ababa; wall mosaics for private funerary chapels in Asmara.

She also produced a great number of oil paintings “from real” on African subjects, which  were exhibited in personal exhibitions throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the USA.

She returned to Italy and settled in Finale Ligure where the urgency of her art was at first filtered through inner calm into African symbolism, and then transformed into the serenity of spaces, calculated and dreamed of, upon which were inscribed fragments of ancient illuminated Ethiopian scrolls and texts. In the process, Eastern and Western cultures merged to form the same dream, the same search for a single sacredness.

She also published in 2006 a “reasoned biography”, “Di che Colore Dipingersi?” (Of what Color to Paint Oneself?). Memories, impressions, experiences from over 90 years of life are narrated as vignettes, or as paintings contained in their own frames but also part of a vast personal exhibition. The book completes the many writings and illustrations, for newspapers and as chapters of books, that constellated her existence.

Totally independent until the end, she moved to another life, surrounded by her beloved angels, on the afternoon of Palm Sunday (the subject of a very dear painting of hers) 2012, one month short of her 103rd birthday.