The Salt Queen Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit educational institution dedicated to support, conserve, and protect works of art created with the textured colorized salt technique invented in the early 1980s by Bettina Werner. Her work in salt crystal, recognized and selected from prestigious collections in the U.S., Europe and Russia, are representative of her twenty five years’ affection for SALT, as the “fifth element” and its historical, philosophical and timeless presence on earth.
A preserver, healer, symbol of incorruptibility and undeniable necessity of life, salt and all its qualities are revered and revealed in Werner’s diverse body of works- paintings, sculptures and functional pieces, such as her salt sculpture-table, salt sculpture-bed and salt sculpture-backgammon boards.
The title “Queen of Salt” refers to Bettina Werner’s faithful devotion as the first artist to exclusively utilize salt in the history of Art, as an artistic medium. The mystery of salt as well as its beautiful crystalline quality attracted the artist while studying painting at the prestigious Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy. While still a student, Werner experimented with combinations of colorations and the myriad gradations into which salt can be reduced. She developed the technique of fixing salt crystals with colors that render what is a mutable compound into a permanent surface that is attractive to the eye.
Born in Milan, Italy in 1965, she was sworn in as a new American Citizen on July 23rd, 2010. She now bears a dual citizenship status in USA and her native Italy. The artist directs the Foundation while continuing to produce major works. “The millions of reflecting facets transmute a single color into all possible shades,” she says as she works on the painting lying on the floor. The smell of salt water spices the breeze off nearby Atlantic Ocean as the artist wipes back a strand of jet- dark hair with her rubber-gloved hand. Barefoot, she bends over the miniature lunar landscape of salt beneath her working hands, and speaks of the mystique of her medium. “Salt is the essence of the sea and all life on this planet, our life’s blood itself is the same salinity as the ocean” she says and she quoted what Homer said : " Salt belongs to the sphere of divine and stands far above human".
In recognition and appreciation of this unique artistic medium, the Foundation will also promote education of the value and importance of salt in the history of humanity. Likewise, The Foundation will encourage the profound and often unquantifiable values utilized by other artists working with innovative artistic techniques and extraordinary media, celebrating freedom of imagination, wisdom, knowledge and expression.
By hosting unique artistic events, The Salt Queen Foundation has also found inventive and extraordinary ways to benefit other nonprofit organizations. Ms. Werner says “I believe that artists can help heal the world through the life-giving power of art, and I plan to hold several events each year where art and life are married in joyous celebration”.