SARA DOUEDARI meets Countess Chiara Modica Donà dalle Rose an active promoter of the Larnaca Biennale

She is not just a patron of the arts: Chiara Modica Donà dalle Rose is a lawyer, philanthropist, art curator and collector.

Descended from noble Hapsburg and Norman lineages, and married to Count Francesco Donà dalle Rose, Chiara has woven her ancestral legacy with a vibrant modern sensibility to protect and celebrate Italian culture. Together with her husband, she created a foundation in Venice dedicated to this mission, embodying a blend of courtly tradition and contemporary relevance.

Chiara’s approach to cultural stewardship is vividly illustrated in her perspective on Venice’s history of inclusivity and trade, seeing it as a model for modern democracy and cultural exchange.

“This city welcomed people from halfway around the world, the fondaci were an expression of that. The ghetto itself was a place of free trade where the community of Jewish believers could beat its own currency,” she explains.

Her thoughts echo the broader view that the democratic principles guiding modern societies, like those in America, have their roots in historical precedents set by the Venetian Republic.

Her connections extend beyond the borders of Italy and into the heart of Cyprus, where she is deeply involved in the art scene, particularly through the Larnaca Biennale. Her work in Cyprus reflects a continuation of her family’s mission to welcome, preserve and protect cultural heritage. Through her foundation, Chiara has been pivotal in bringing to light the island’s artistic narratives.

“Cyprus,” she says, “is a canvas, richly textured by its tumultuous history and the peaceful coexistence of contrasting cultures. It is a place where every stone and every face tells a story.”

Chiara’s profound connection with Cyprus is underpinned by a reverence for its ancient tales. “The myths of old are alive here,” she explains. “They guide me, allowing me to see beyond the physical, into the essence of what art really is – a bridge between the past and the present, between reality and imagination.”

This philosophical approach to art and history shapes her activities on the island, where she has been instrumental in both preserving and innovating its cultural expressions.

In her role as a major figure in the Larnaca Biennale, Chiara has brought a world-class perspective to the local art scene. Here, she has not only showcased international artists but has also highlighted native Cypriot talent, thus enriching the island’s artistic dialogue.

“Through the Biennale,” Chiara says, “I have discovered real gems of this island, comparing myself with them and with the community of scholars and critics who came to Cyprus for that occasion.”

Her engagement goes beyond mere participation, as she actively nurtures and integrates these artists into her global collection, promoting their work on an international scale.

Chiara’s influence is also felt through her philanthropic efforts, where she supports a variety of projects that align with her vision of art as a catalyst for social change and cultural preservation.

“It is a choice mixed with intuition, research, empathy, aesthetics, eco-sustainability, choice of materials, philosophy and luck,” she says of her approach to selecting projects. Her foundation reads every proposal, eschewing notoriety for genuine artistic and cultural merit.

feature 2A recent endeavour that particularly excites Chiara is her documentary project, aiming to capture the “soul of Cyprus”.

“On my last trip I shot over 18 hours of footage for my next film on the soul of this island, trying to highlight the cultural privilege and treasure contained in a dimension of heritage that contains, often unconsciously, all of this.” This project is a personal journey as much as a professional one, reflecting her commitment to delving deeper into the island’s heritage and bringing its stories to a global audience.

Chiara’s future plans include a grand biennale that will bridge Cyprus with other cultural centres, further promoting a global dialogue through art.

“Art should not be diminished by its belonging to a nation or nationality but should celebrate the spirituality of the artist and the universal themes that connect us all,” she says. This initiative reflects her belief in the power of art to unite diverse worlds, providing a platform for shared human experiences and mutual understanding.

Chiara’s passion is also deeply personal and rooted in a philosophical outlook. “The true value of art,” she says, “lies in its ability to resonate across time and space, to touch the soul, and to bring people together in a shared experience of beauty and understanding.” This statement sums up her mission in Cyprus – to forge connections through art that transcend temporal and geographical boundaries.

Chiara Modica Donà dalle Rose’s involvement in Cyprus’ cultural evolution is both profound and transformative. Through her efforts, the island’s rich heritage and contemporary artistic expressions are not only preserved but also celebrated. Her story is not merely about the promotion of art but about the creation of a legacy that intertwines Cyprus’ past, present and future, positioning it as a beacon of cultural enlightenment on the world stage.

In every project she undertakes, Chiara brings to Cyprus a world of ideas and a heart full of devotion, making her one of the most impactful figures in its artistic and cultural revival. Her narrative is a compelling testament to the power of art as a guardian of history and a herald of dialogue, making it clear that in her vision and hands, the arts in Cyprus will continue to thrive, evolve and inspire.