Maria Rebecca Ballestra was born in 1974 in Italy, where she studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence. The visual artist focuses in her work on reprocessing and resetting social, political and environmental themes and on synthesizing ethno-cultural codes, investigated during journeys and several artist residencies program all around the world, among which Signal Fire (USA), Cambridge Sustainable Residency (UK), Transnational Culture (Brazil) Sunhoo Industrial Design Innovation Park (China), Sowing Seed (India), Taipei Artist Village (Taiwan), just to name a few.
Next to photography and installations, site specific operations, performances and video Maria Rebecca Ballestra produces trans-disciplinary projects, which emphasize environmental and social aspects; like in the two-year long project Journey into Fragility (2012-14): this art production was oriented towards the perception of the future in relation to climate change and multiple human interventions in the natural environment and sense of insecurity and anxiety that characterizes this new millennium. With Journey into Fragility Maria Rebecca has developed twelve projects in twelve different places around the world aiming to build a constructive dialogue on the environment and the value of living on Earth. After travelling through four continents, the project was concluded with an installation in Venice during the 56° Venice Biennale, and with several exhibitions, lectures and workshops in Europe and USA.
In 2014 she co-found with the artist Rachela Abbate the ongoing international project Social Soups: a collaborative platform of aesthetics of social practices focusing on food as elementary component. Social Soups invites artists, who focus in their researches and work on food, to contribute and participate with divers social, cultural, environmental, scientific and political interpretations. Social Soups organizes diverse events, artist s residencies, film productions and exhibitions. Furthermore Social Soups collaborates with different scientific and other institutions. (Artists invited: Panem et Circenses (Italia); Vagaram Chouddary (India); Rafram Chaddad (Tunisia); Sara Rees (UK); Ahmad Malki (Palestina); Zaid BaQeen (Giordania); Massimo Sacchetti (Italia); Serena Porrati (Italia);
In 2015 Maria Rebecca Ballestra launched together with Ca’Foscari University of Venice the first edition of the Festival for the Earth – sustainable visions in art and science, which Maria Rebecca Ballestra conceived and organized aiming to create a public forum of knowledge access. To Festival for the Earth were invited international guests from the academic and public realm to discuss on achievable models for a responsible living on Earth. Over the three days in this first edition in Venice, influential and awarded scholars, researchers, creative minds and environmental activists have presented and discussed their researches and results, innovative ideas and approaches in raising awareness for preserving the diversity of our planet and improve our fragile co-living on it.
Since a few months Maria Rebecca Ballestra has begun a new long term project, Echoes of the Void, curated by Rachela Abbate. Over two years this project will investigate the geological, cultural, spiritual, environmental meaning of the wastelands in the world. Different levels of topographical transformation will be considered, including desertification by industrialization and globalization. During this collaborative project, multimedia art works will be produced by co-operating with researchers of science and humanities. Through the artistic exploration of wastelands Ballestra tackles environmental matters, which are intrinsically connected to culture in terms of understanding “the other” and of creating continuously new combinations of expressions and therefore increasing constantly consciousness.
Maria Rebecca Ballestra was awarded with several international prizes in Europe, Asia and USA and she held lectures and participated at symposiums at Boston University (USA), Maraya Art Center (UAE); University of Hull (UK), Xiamen University (China), PROG Zentrum (Switzerland), University of Genoa (Italy), Taipei Artist Village (Taiwan).
Ballestra’s art works are showcased in international venues, group and personal exhibitions, museums, galleries and art fairs and are part of public and private collections.