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EXHIBITION Dolls bravely step outside to meet others

S P OT L IGH T Do artists in Malta do enough to highlight land abuse?

ARCH IT ECT U RE The irreversible transformation of the Maltese environment





Art in Tunisia Maher Gnaoui, The Lady, 2018, A. Gorgi Gallery

Post Revolution

Joseph Beuys, Capri-Batterie, 1985 ©Photo by Reni-Hansen, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020 >> pg.32

In 1914, Paul Klee, like other artists, was inspired by the natural light and colours in nature and tapestries that Tunisia had to offer. Over a century later, Tunisian artists reclaimed their city with light art during the annual Interference Tunis light art festival. >> Review, pg.30


Debunking the most common (and dangerous)


INTERVIEW Debbie Caruana Dingli holds new exhibition DESIGN Artist and furniture designer NEWS Galleries reopen + New tribal art collection in Gozo + Tom Van Malderen brightens up a passageway Q&A Interview with Helena Gore about her new design store Cathedral Art Prints sources global talent FEATURE Reliving the past through books and paintings COMMENT How Baroque Maltese DNA ARCHITECTURE The Venice Architecture Biennale really is + Turner’s modernity and versions of truth EXHIBITIONS Dominique Cianco presents his latest collection of paintings + Young artists take is back EVENTS Highlights in Malta and around Tunisian art scene by storm + 100th anniversary of Joseph Beuys DIRECTORY A list of creative services in Malta the globe

“While in Malta bizarre skyscrapers are presented as the ultimate novelty and solution to all environmental problems, the rest of the western world is wondering whether it is time to find an alternative to these wasteful and outdated tributes to priapic issues.” >> Read about this and other building strategies to better understand the truth of what is happening around us daily. Pg.21


Welcome / Team / Inside March - June 2021

Editor Lily Agius (+356) 9929 2488 Graphic Designer Nicholas Cutajar Sales Manager Lily Agius (+356) 9929 2488 Printing Press Print It Contributors Konrad Buhagiar Glen Calleja Joanna Delia Ann Dingli Richard England Helena Gore Maria Galea Erica Giusta Bruce Micallef Eynaud Abigail Pace Lori Sauer Gabriele Spiller Christine Xuereb Seidu Kenneth Zammit Tabona


s this issue went to print, Malta entered a semi lockdown, with all non-essential shops closed for up to one month. Despite this, we hope that exhibitions will prevail, with galleries set to still re-open this year once restrictions have been lifted – even if temporarily online.

In line with this, we are pleased to hear of a number of gallery reopenings, including Marie5 by Maria Galea, who closed her doors for some time to help set up other galleries Iniala and a new online portal called ArtzID. Valletta’s staple contemporary art space, Valletta Contemporary, which has been closed since last year, is also reopening with a strong calendar of events. With restaurants and leisure facilities closed to the entire population, many of us have taken to the outdoors to rest our minds and bodies from the stresses of daily work. As such, the subject of the islands’ natural and built environment has never been more prevalent in our thoughts and discussions. Two of our writers, Joanna Delia and Erica Giusta take a look at the environmental state of affairs, discussing greenwashing and outlining a need for change. Their contributions look at how artists need to continue to use their weapon of choice – art – to help in the war of

over-development in Malta, as well as the misinformation being fed to the population, and how to dismiss it as opposed to succumbing to its distraction. At this moment of increased isolation and down time, this issue also highlights the escapism of art to its readers. Konrad Buhagiar invites us on a journey tracing the origins of a painting found in an antiques shop. Ann Dingli considers the impact of Turner as an uncompromising truth teller. An interview with artist Debbie Caruana Dingli discusses the trials of mothers with delinquent children, bringing to life imagined hardships that have been influenced by new stories or fictitious accounts. This content, and much more, we hope will signal the turn of a new season. Spring is here and, if nothing else, the awakening of the natural world is a true call for optimism. We should all have hope for brighter, warmer days. The team at Artpaper would like to wish all of its readers a Happy Easter. We have confidence that we won’t have to sign off with the customary #staysafe for much longer. Until then, enjoy the art. Our next issue is back again in June, but meanwhile please be sure to check out our website and sign up for updates.

Artpaper is owned / produced by Lily Agius and Chris Psaila [ V ] Publications

Supported by AP Valletta ArtHall Gozo Arts Council Malta Artz ID



17. ENVIRONMENT Do artists in Malta do enough to highlight land abuse and construction policies?

24. FEATURE Konrad Buhagiar relives the past through books and paintings

21. ENVIRONMENT Understanding the irreversible transformation of Maltese environment

27. BAROQUE Kenneth Zammit Tabona explains how Baroque Maltese DNA really is 28. TURNER Ann Dingli discusses Turner’s modernity in showing multiple versions of truth

Cathedral Art Prints Edwards Lowell Fimbank Heritage Malta


K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

05. NEW BOOK Valletta Contemporary publishes second annual book

La Bottega Art Bistro

05. FURNITURE Artist and furniture designer Tom Van Malderen brightens up a passageway

Light Design Solutions Lily Agius Gallery Malta Society of Arts Malta Tourism Authority Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts & Local Governance . MUZA National Gallery

06. REOPENING Marie Gallery 5 in the heart of Mosta reopens this April 06. REOPENING Valletta Contemporary reopens with first exhibition of the season 06. NEW COLLECTION Lazuli Art Gallery in Gozo launches latest tribal art collection 09. NEW GALLERY Cathedral Art Prints sources global talent 12. Q&A Interview with Helena Gore about her new design store

People & Skin

EXHIBITIONS + EVENTS 05. VENICE The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will run from May 07. RETURN ISLAND Dominique Cianco presents his latest collection painted during COVID-19 10. SURA An exhibition of a few hundred dolls stepping into the big world alone to meet others 14. DEBBIE CARUANA DINGLI Stories transformed into a series of paintings for a new exhibition 31. TUNISIA Young artists are taking the Tunisian art scene by storm 32. JOSEPH BEUYS A series of exhibitions staged in Germany for the 100th anniversary of his birth

Sistina Art Shop

36. EVENTS Highlights around the globe

Spazju Kreattiv

38. EVENTS Highlights in Malta

Tate Modern Teatru Manoel Valletta Contemporary Vee Gee Bee Art Shop

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DIRECTORY 35. LOCALIST A list of creative services in Malta


Go Figure! by Bruce Eynaud Can you guess the 3 artworks that make up this figure? Send your answers by email to by 19 April 2021, with ‘Competition’ as the subject, for a chance to win: First Prize: A pass to all Heritage Malta sites Second Prize: €20 voucher from VeeGeeBee Art Shop Third Prize: €20 voucher from Sistina Art Shop

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Art News / On the Scene March - June 2021




“The weakness of the political models being proposed today compels us to put space first and look at the way architecture shapes inhabitation for potential models for how we could live together.” Hashim Sarkiks, a curator for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition











Valletta Contemporary Second Annual Book Valletta Contemporary (VC) published its second annual book, VC002, last March 2020. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the gallery was shut down on lockdown two weeks prior to the launching date of the publication, which was due to take place on the 13th of March 2020. VC’s yearly publication is a manifestation of the exhibition programme, which is created by its founder and artistic director, Norbert Francis Attard. VC002 covers the exhibitions of the year 2019 and the participating artists.


From Storage to Sculpture Malta-based artist and designer Tom Van Malderen applied curves and colour to brighten up a passageway. For this customised furniture project, the designer playfully reflected the pragmatic requests for storage space, a small work surface, some shelving, and a child friendly environment. To liven up the passageway, the storage unit was purposely composed of alternating solid shapes and voids, applying both symmetry and asymmetry in its overall composition. Extending the clients’ wish to avoid sharp edges, the entire cabinet became a play between rounded and square shapes and arbitrarily alludes to earlier styles and designs of the ’60s and ‘80s. It is characterised by a vibrant yellow colour that creates a permanent sunny glow in the corridor and a joyful gesture in front of a child’s bedroom. For more information on Tom Van Malderen’s work, have a look at and

Anyone who would like to purchase and reserve a copy can email Any purchased book will be available for collection from the gallery shop from the 30th April 2021, when VC will be reopened.


Biennale Architettura 2021

Image courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

How will we live together? The 17th International Architecture Exhibition, titled How will we live together?, is being curated by Hashim Sarkis and organised by La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday 22nd May to Sunday 21st November 2021 at the Giardini and Arsenale venues. Curator Hashim Sarkis explains that, “The Biennale Architettura 2021 is motivated by new kinds of problems that the world is putting in front of architecture, but it is also inspired by the emerging activism of young architects and the radical revisions being proposed by the profession of architecture to take on these challenges. But more than ever, architects are called upon to propose alternatives...” For more information log onto

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Art News / Galleries / Malta March - June 2021 MALTA




Photograph of Maria Galea at Marie Gallery 5 by Joseph P Smith

riginally founded in 2016, Marie Gallery 5 represented some of the most promising artists and exhibited their work both locally and internationally. The gallery’s key initiative was to provide opportunities to artists entering the global art market. Maria Galea, also the founder of the new start-up ARTZID, founded the gallery on the principle that galleries are a voice for artists, giving them exposure, credibility, and ultimately enhancing their career. Located in the heart of Mosta, it is described as “one of a very few private art galleries – completely dedicated to showcasing some of the finest contemporary art in Malta”. Having represented local artists in international art fairs in New York, Miami and Dubai, the gallery has established itself as a space dedicated to cultivating and promoting local artists through a new lens.

Between 2017 and 2018, Marie Gallery 5 launched a new partnership with a well-known international hospitality company, Iniala. Together they opened a cluster of galleries across Malta, as well as one in Thailand called Iniala 5. During this time, the gallery was part of an intense exhibition calendar showcasing both local and international artists every month. Today the gallery moves back to its origins and re-launches its space with over 24 emerging and established artists, brought together through their work. Marie Gallery 5 was born out of a personal aspiration to give new opportunities to artists, acting as a connecting point, whilst increasing the awareness of the value of art to the market. Today the gallery continues on its journey to promote and connect artists to new opportunities whilst showcasing curated works to its esteemed clients and new art lovers.


Lazuli Art Gallery has just launched their 2021 Tribal art Collection in the heart of Gozo, just a short stroll from St George’s Square in Victoria. Established in Gozo five years ago, the gallery features work from artists from all around the world, with a focus on West Africa.

Re-Opening Valletta Contemporary

The ethos of Lazuli Art is a firm commitment to both fair trade and the celebration of cultural diversity and integration. The gallery is thus supporting talented contemporary artists from Burkina Faso and Haiti who work with bronze and recycled metal respectively, perpetuating ancient traditional techniques. The owner and curator Charlotte Lombard is also a specialist in antique pieces from various West African tribes, including bronzes, terracotta, wood sculpture and statuettes.

We are pleased to hear that Valletta Contempory will reopen – having been closed since March 2020 due to Covid-19 – on the 30th April, with the first exhibition of the season showing the work of multidisciplinary artist Laura Besancon, in an exhibition titled Playful Futures. The show will include photography, photographic-sculptural work, moving image and participatory-based works.

Lazuli Art, 26 Triq Mons. Guzeppi Farrugia, Victoria, Gozo. Telephone: +356 9943 6443; Instagram: @lazuliartgallery; Facebook: @Lazuli Art. Opening times during Covid: Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm, and by appointment.

Valletta Contemporary (VC) was conceived, designed and realised by its Founder and Artistic Director, architect Norbert Francis Attard, who is also one of Malta’s most established contemporary artists. The gallery is run by Meta Foundation (soon to be renamed Norbert Francis Attard Foundation) – a nonprofit organisation, opened officially on 13th April 2018 as Malta’s newest space for contemporary art. Located at the lower east end of Valletta – on the city’s periphery and away from the main centre – VC plays an important role in the regeneration of a lesser-known part of the city.

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Still Life (i), 2019 by Laura Besancon


Art News / Malta March - June 2021 MALTA

RETURN ISLAND For the past ten years Maltese born painter Dominique Ciancio (b. 1983) has worked as a freelance artist between Malta and Norway. Like many during the recent flight restrictions, he found himself unusually bound to the island. This time, however, has allowed for precious moments of reflection. The memories of growing up on a Mediterranean island with its temperament and traditions intertwined with present realities of urbanization, human relationships and a constant flow of sagas. Return Island started taking shape in his Floriana studio, which overlooks the narrow streetscapes, countless rooftops and overlapping towns. From the balcony, local expressions were heard, such as “Aw King!” or “Ghorrief hawn kemm trid...” [The wise and learned are plenty]. Despite its small scale, Malta’s somewhat intense vivacity, through thick and thin, has always provided a magnitude of inspiration for Ciancio. During this situation, the artist adopted a new mode of travel, mainly through observation and imagination. Compositions began to form, and actors took to a new stage. The backdrop of the island, with its intense light and character, has heightened the sense of drama and human condition. This new body of work portrays many individual stories, but it also suggests shared experiences – at times appearing simultaneously entertaining and disquieting. Malta is statistically the most densely populated country in the EU and ranks as one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Its inhabitants are surrounded with countless signs of civilization, landmarks and human interventions. Ciancio recalls how as a student of the late Isabelle Borg he was challenged to see spaces with a fresh set of eyes. After moving to Scandinavia in his early twenties, he was particularly struck by the vastness of land and the rawness of its natural wilderness. This evidently has a bearing on his work whenever he now revisits life on the island. The presence of intense blue skies and the glowing sun on its subjects is a tangible presence of nature, but many of the paintings convey a lack of greenery by its absence. Could this huddle lead to mental and emotional congestion? The artist’s protagonists recurrently bear something around their heads – often a paper crown; a fabricated headdress that attempts to keep their heads together. Some are exerting themselves while perhaps others are being consumed by their own frailty, pride or pretense.

Dominique Ciancio describes his latest body of work as ‘fictional realism’. Fiction and realism are two words that may seem diametrically opposed, however both come across through a passion to convey the artist’s surroundings. The visual narrative brings forth an element of fiction while the aspect of realism is intrinsic to the storytelling. In its contemporary narrative, people and objects jostle for attention in settings that may seem bizarre, humorous and tragic all at once. Could such feelings perhaps occur after witnessing a rather surreal experience in an everyday setting? It may be anything from encountering a dramatic argument on the streets to reading someone’s absurd internet comment that leaves you with the question – ‘wait, what did I just see, read or hear?’. The viewers are invited to form interpretations and develop stories of their own. Return Island presents a journey that gives rise to a number of questions: how many of our experiences are actually shared? How much can we relate to people from different backgrounds? And how far do our surroundings shape our personal decisions? At the time of writing this solo exhibition of paintings is scheduled to run from the 6 - 27 May 2021 at the Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo De La Salle, Valletta. A virtual format of the exhibition will also be available online. For updates follow:


MICAS #BeSafe Face Mask Collection

Designed for adults, teenagers, and children, the MICAS #BeSafe Face Mask Collection is MICAS’ initiative in raising awareness to keep our communities safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The collection forms part of the National Textiles Collection housed at one of Heritage Malta’s sites, the Inquisitor’s Palace – National Museum of Ethnography. For further details on how to purchase a MICAS face mask visit the website All proceeds will go towards the MICAS Educational Programme.

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Art News / Malta March - June 2021 MALTA


NEW Print Gallery Artists from top left, clockwise: 1. Alessandra Carloni (Italy) 2. Fefe Talavera (Brazil) 3. Clyde Haber (Malta) 4. Co_ma (Malta)

veryone should have the opportunity to buy good quality art. This is why Cathedral Art Prints has recently been created to offer a wide range of styles to a wide customer base. Founded by two women with a united vision and years of experience in the field of art, Lily Agius and Helena Gore are adapting to the times and their own desire to offer quality art at affordable prices. Sourcing artists from Malta and around the world, they have begun to create an expanding and exclusive portfolio of contemporary and classic themed limited editions. “The limitations of our times with COVID-19 have only made me want to overcome the uncertainties and keep things alive and kicking,” says Agius, “and extending the gallery with a large selection of quality prints has been the perfect opportunity to offer more in terms of style and price-range, as well as to finally collaborate with various artists that I have been wanting to work with but never had the opportunity to do so before. There is a misconception in Malta that prints are not valuable and incomparable to the worth that other unique works of art, such as paintings, might fetch. There is a difference however between a poster and a high quality signed and numbered limited edition on durable paper by a notable artist. Prints hold value and, if you buy well, you can get a great investment piece at an affordable price.” Gore adds that, “by pioneering this project here in Malta, we are allowing artists to experiment with different mediums, and we are witnessing some artists blossom with ideas and enthusiasm when creating something completely new for us. Whilst some painters take a long time to complete one piece and are restricted by the medium with its preparation and materials, making a silk or screen print, digital work etc., is more instant and in turn more fun to create, so they are likely to go all the way with its final look.” Follow Cathedral Art Prints on Facebook and Instagram and contact Lily Agius and Helena Gore by email on or call +356 7908 3800 or +356 9929 2488.


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Art News / Exhibition / SURA March - June 2021 MALTA


Photos by Giola Cassar

Notes on the SURA exhibition


he SURA exhibition comprises a crowd of handmade dolls that are leaving their studios of birth and their maker parents for the first time. Born or made? Perhaps both. SURA is an exhibition about a few hundred dolls – sculptures in fabric, paper, metal, vellum and hair – stepping into the big world alone to meet others. Others being anything; mostly people but also, anything.

through a common bloodline, united in blood. Stories equal kinfolk, pregnant with memories and aspirations, fleeting thoughts, foggy or forgotten experience – a heritage brimming with tales. And emotions. Blood and emotional ties for forever.

They themselves don’t know how they were created. Only we do. Perhaps that’s what they’re here for. This is what the exhibition is about: origins, parentage.

Ancestors equals futures Attempts to create objects in our own likeness follow precedents set by those who come before. This goes a long, long way back. Sometimes these attempts turn into dolls. Clearly, whatever desire, impulse or reason we started making them with hasn’t been fulfilled yet for it hasn’t stopped reincarnating. We know it from somewhere else, from some other time.

Our stories change. The Venus of Willendorf calls to her descendants. Her body of stories has been passing from generation to generation, coursing

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Venus calls. Alliances form, reform, move sideways, disperse. Within our family live time and myth. We are the cause and the because. We are the new generation. We cannot be erased.

Dolls, universal and accessible, live on a plane that is both obvious and arcane. They come to mirror life, accompany you and me through life, to reveal our pasts, confirm our present and deliver wisdom to safeguard our futures. Made as likenesses, revered as icons, dolls tread paths away from yesterday. We’ve met before. We’ve definitely met before. The SURA dolls wade through their fluid narratives in an attempt to map the edge of the worlds they come from. It’s an exercise in futility, perhaps, but transformative. What we find are two related families, long lost cousins, meeting anew on neutral ground. This is point zero, the source of a new life. A new language is negotiated. Stories are exchanged, parcels of memory and feeling. They talk in allegories, their explanations metaphorical, at once pleasing and disconcerting.

Dolls are shaman, benefactor, talisman and they tell you and me more than we think we know. We are made. The SURA dolls are sculptural bearers of repeated motifs; circles, knots, wound threads, wrapped bundles. Each component speaks of their makers, their physical parents. Their spiritual parents are another story altogether. As composed objects, they’re living witnesses of every stage of their own generation. Unlike you and me, they saw themselves being made. They saw themselves being put together and reworked, over and over again in a continuous metamorphosis until their maker was satisfied with how they looked, how they spoke, how they behaved. We are yours. Some or all of the SURA dolls can only speak of where they come from or hope they came from. Some just don’t know.

Others hope that their spiritual parents are kinder, smarter or funnier than their blood parents and there they find solace or discord. Once set loose they make new stories in new hands. The language they left home with changes. Their conversation assumes new rhythms and characters and patterns emerge. Dolls start speaking to each other in a language that is unfamiliar to their makers. We are not just toys. Total reset. Children must approach with care. The SURA dolls can be dark, moody, refined, untrustworthy, kind, insensitive, selfish, frivolous, short-tem-

pered and foul-mouthed, intense, stoic, dangerous, delinquent, evil even.

familiar. But we share a mother tongue. We listen. We listen hard.

Yes, these dolls are made for us to interact with. That doesn’t make them toys. Symbols? Perhaps.

That’s what we’re made for.

Their powers are transcendent. Like children, if they like you, they speak to you and make it impossible for you to abandon or forget them. This extraordinary character is celebrated with each doll reincarnation across cultures and across time.

These SURA dolls are ready to do as they are told and lead their handlers forward. Their attention never wavers. The details of what they hear vanish into dust. Then deafness descends. No one is better at keeping secrets.

That’s what these bodies are for.

The exhibition will take place at Spazju Kreattiv between 13 April and 16 May 2021. SURA, curated by Elyse Tonna, will feature a collection of dolls by Glen Calleja and Lori Sauer, stories Clare Azzopardi and translated by Albert Gatt and a soundscape by Matyou Galea. The project supported by Arts Council Malta and Spazju Kreattiv.

No one is better at remembering. We listen. We lean in close to hear cries, whispers and songs. Words might not always be

We speak.

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Q&A / News / Cathedral Design Store March - June 2021 MALTA

Seeking some Soul With my experience with antiques, contemporary furniture, functional home objects made by the world’s best designers, and my appreciation for the vintage (mid-century, clean Italian and Scandinavian) design, it’s no wonder I wanted to introduce something new to Malta. My thinking was simple – to enhance homes and bring different design brands such as Scandinavian, Spanish, Italian, Polish, and Dutch over to the islands, ultimately giving people an option to choose something different for their homes. What is the concept behind the Cathedral Design Store? I have had this idea brewing in my head for a few years. It started with the simple idea of wanting to bring funky and colourful things to Malta. After a few years of living here, I noticed that a lot of home interiors follow a similar design formula – I strongly feel that a home should have the owner’s personal touch and be surrounded with things that bring them happiness. And no one should be afraid of colour! After all, this is where we live, where we wake up every morning and draw energy from and come back to in the evening. No one lives on a set of a home design photoshoot – you will leave your slippers here, and your bag there, add a photo frame, put artwork or something on the walls. Home is our sanctuary where we draw inspiration from, and it should say everything about you without restricting your lifestyle.

Tell us a bit about your past work experience. I used to work for an antiques dealer, Jack Hall, in Jersey, where I learned the trade from him – styles, techniques, evaluations. I then moved to London and joined Aasdhair Willis (the Wallpaper* magazine founder) when he created a

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What made you take the plunge and start your own business? And has COVID-19 affected the set-up? I took a long break to concentrate on the biggest project in my life – my child. As a single mum, I had to put my passion aside and get the 9-5 job (HR positions in various gaming companies) to get a life/work balance right and give my child all the attention he needed. Now that he is settled, I decided that it was now or never! Surely COVID-19 will affect the start – in fact, the shop doors are closed for the time being at the time of this interview, and some items are taking longer to arrive, especially from the UK – but I also know that bad moments come

Kay Bojesen Song Birds

Set of 6 tumblers by Bitossi Home

contemporary furniture design and manufacturing company, Established & Sons, working with the likes of Zaha Hadid, Barber Osgerby, Konstantin Grcic, Jaime Hayon, the Boroullec Brothers and so on. After a couple of years, I completed degree in Curating from the University of the Arts, London and joined the Black Rat Projects Art Gallery, which was the biggest Banksy original works dealer in the (secondary) market at the time (and Black Rat Press printing leg of the business) and represented many great artists. Here I worked with artists such as Swoon, ROA, Banksy, Faile, D*Face, Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos, Mathew Small, Damien Hirst, Peter Blake. Black Rat Press published prints by Blek Le Rat, Swoon, Herakut, Know Hope, Lucas Price, Elbow Toe, Nick Walker and so on.

Charlie the beetle by Miho Unexpected

Helena Gore was once new to Malta, coming to the islands as a single mother of a one-year-old baby. Six years on, she has taken the plunge into returning to her expertise and doing what she loves: promoting and selling art and design via the new Cathedral Design Store.

Wind-up critter by Kikkerland

How would you describe the result of the shop? Cathedral Design Store offers a collection of quality pieces made for anyone seeking something with soul – be it funky plates, tea pot, sleek table topped with a trinket tray, or gifts for parentsto-be.

drawn to all beautiful pieces, regardless of style. Having an eclectic taste for things, I feel, makes me open to everything and better equipped at helping others with their own design choices. Meet Helena at the Cathedral Design Store when Covid restrictions are over, at 54 Cathedral Street, Sliema, Tuesday to Saturday 10 - 2pm & 3 6pm. Follow Cathedral Design Store on Instagram & Facebook. Contact Helena by email on cathedraldesign@ and by phone on (+356) 7908 3800.

Gore’s favourite design piece is the PH5 lamp designed by Poul Henningsen.

“It is timeless with beautiful shading, glare-free, and the contours are amazing!”

Who do you represent? Currently we represent international and local designers. We are in fact constantly on the look out for emerging local designers – some of whom are painters or architects who make specific design pieces. It is so exciting to see what talent there is on the island and we are working with a few now to produce a new collection specifically for the store and reveal them soon. Current international names

Cale lamp by Dyberg Larsen

and go, and I have much to keep busy with until we open our doors again. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, we will all bounce back smarter from this new life experience. I deeply believe that art and design are needed, be it during good or bad times. A carefully chosen artwork or a nice design piece can cheer up everyone and that feeling is timeless and priceless.

include the Italian brands Miho Unexpected, Alessi; Danish brands Kahler, Kay Bojesen, HAY Design and Design Letters; and the iconic wind-up toys for kids and adults, Critters, designed back in 60’s by the Dutch brand Kikkerland. Soon we will add the colourful Italian brand Seletti, a cult Italian ceramic house Bitossi, a few Spanish eco-friendly home design brands, and a selection from Vitra. What would you say is your own design style? My own design style is bohemian with a few mid-century pieces however I am

Kay Bojesen Song Bird

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Exhibition /Malta / Debbie Caruana Dingli March - June 2021 MALTA

“But if nothing really does matter for the artist, Debbie Caruana Dingli, then surely this exhibition would not have materialised”




magined’ mothers of ‘imagined’ convicted criminals are the protagonists in Debbie Caruana Dingli’s upcoming exhibition, Nothing Really Matters. These works are a reflection of stories that Caruana Dingli came across in newspapers or read about in books and, after working on them for three years, they were transformed into this series of paintings. We often read about stories of crime, which label someone as a criminal, often forgetting that they are human beings who also have mothers. Being a mother herself, Caruana Dingli was struck by what she was reading and in this series of works wanted to portray the emotions that mothers of convicted criminals go through. There is a dark sense of humour in Caruana Dingli’s work. For such a serious subject we might laugh when viewing some of the works, such as Qalbi!, where the mother is depicted spoiling her son. The spontaneity and impulsiveness of cartoons allows Caurana Dingli to depict such serious matters through exaggerated emotions and overexpressed facial expressions, which may lighten the heaviness of the subject. Most of the paintings in this exhibition are executed in oil on canvas, but there is one in particular titled I was young and carefree, which is oil on granite. Caruana Dingli describes finding this piece of granite on the beach and immediately thinking about how the paint would be absorbed and make it look old. This would give off the image as though a long time has passed for the woman depicted, who as the title suggests, was once young and carefree, an emotion that, as a mother, can get lost. There have been different stories and books – a lot of which had been stored in her subconscious over the years – which really struck Caruana Dingli to create this series of works. For example, the painting The School Shooting was triggered off by the novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck was also an important reference for her, as it discusses evil as a condition which needs to be studied, similarly to schizophrenia. These snippets brought about the feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, and resentment that the mothers’ experience and are all evident themes in the artists’ works. These are after all, the mothers who are mourning the

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ABIGAIL PACE is a host at Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum, Mdina and is also involved in the organisation of the children’s workshops. She has written articles about her research in local publications after completing her studies in History of Art in 2019 with her Bachelor of Art which focused on British-Maltese artist Isabelle Borg and her Masters thesis which focused on the role of Olga Galea Naudi in the art and life of Edward Caruana Dingli.

the same title, that depicts a mother who is going shopping with a cane basket or qoffa and who forgets to put her clothes on. She is at her very lowest, and at that point in her life nothing really matters to her. But for Caruana Dingli, nothing does not not matter – she is an artist who advocates for what she believes in and perhaps worries too much about everything, this is the very reason why she chooses to paint the hardships of mothers whose children have been imprisoned. If nothing really does matter for the artist, then surely this exhibition would not have materialised.

loss of their child’s freedom. Another aspect that Caruana Dingli depicts in her works is the way society can impact the mothers state of mind, this is seen in the painting Paranoia where she depicts the mothers fear of what others are saying about them whilst contrary there are the mothers who will pretend that all is well as seen in the painting Two Mothers. What is fascinating about Debbie Caruana Dingli is the importance she gives to the process of letting out her thoughts. She doodles in her head and eventually these thoughts find themselves on paper. As she herself exclaims, those who can release their thoughts usually through writing, music, dance, painting or any other form of art, are blessed. Some artists develop a strong spiritual bond with the works of art that they create mirroring the bond created between a mother and her child as though the artists have ‘given birth’ to their works of art after months of preparations. For Caruana Dingli, it is in fact this exact process of releasing these thoughts through her art that is most important. Her works are precious and personal, but once the work of art has been created, she is ready to move on and it brings her happiness knowing that her work will find its place in someone else’s home. Debbie Caruana Dingli’s art has progressed over the years, looking back from her first solo exhibition in 1985, her works focused on simple themes of animals and people. When she became a mother, her children reintroduced her love of nature, but after hitting some

Nothing Really Matters runs from 16 April until 23 May 2021 at Space A Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta. Visit www. for an online viewing.

hard times, Caruana Dingli, started to look inwards and began to paint what she was thinking. This has been her pattern for several years now, she paints the issues that are close to her heart and the subjects have varied from immigration to abandoned animals. With too much being thrown at us in the media, it can become all too overwhelming; however, she believes it shouldn’t all overwhelm us and there should be certain topics that stick with us and upset us in ways that make us want to speak up. A painting is also a chance for people to stop and think, it is a tool to send a message across. We may flip through a newspaper or scroll through our newsfeed, read stories or headlines, and simply keep scrolling, but when you are in front of a work of

art you are invited to stop and really think. We look at the expressions and emotions and perhaps we can, for a few minutes, try and place ourselves in their shoes. The title of the exhibition Nothing Really Matters is rather paradoxical to Caruana Dingli’s own principles. It is derived from one of her paintings, with

Everything for the artist!

Sistina Art Shop 8 AMERY STREET, SLIEMA (near Scotts Supermarket) Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm & Saturdays 9.30am to 1.30pm Parking available opposite the shop (in front of blue garage)

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JOANNA DELIA is a medical doctor who specialises in cosmetic medicine. She is also a cultural consumer and art collector who tirelessly supports local contemporary art and culture.

Comment /Environment + Art / Malta March - June 2021 MALTA


Make some noise Do artists in Malta do enough to highlight the pathetic state of our land abuse and construction rampage policies? Does anybody care?


alta is on an uglification spree. It has become a bulldozers’ paradise and is rife with every form of pollution. Our levels of noise pollution, for instance, are nauseating – and yet for the man on the street, construction noise is more tolerated than music. Laughter is not. I’m generalising here, but I believe that, for most, the idea of wide open space seems to be a newly inaugurated five-lane road, or a car park. We like the colour green on a wall, or the plastic plants on the ceiling of a new American fast-food chain. We enjoy the little countryside that’s left from our car windows. Landscaping here is understood as the act of laying travertine down so that we can stroll on it pushing prams and buggies covered in plastic with children inside. We prefer to cut down 300-year old trees so that their roots don’t crack the surrounding tarmac and we won’t have to clean after the birds that roost in them. We like birds to be dead and stuffed. It’s dystopian. Pathetic. In this regard, my exasperation at the callous disregard for the environment, which has gone beyond indifference towards a delusional justification of destruction for the ‘greater good’ of greed, leaves me speechless. So perhaps I’ll let the art speak for itself. Many Malta-based artists have produced powerful works to express the pain they feel when witnessing this environmental apathy, highlighting the cause – the blatant destruction of the natural environment and the rampage of the construction industry. But are we listening? “It’s art, it has a strong voice it can project, and with it the potential to change perceptions and catalyse emotion. Artists work within the sphere of wider society given they are part of it. How amplified that voice becomes is up to them, but it is nonetheless part of public discourse and they do perturb the system every now and then.”

Sliema Towers, Charlene Vella

Says established contemporary artist Pierre Portelli, whose own practice has engaged consistently with environmental issues as well as other contemporary social issues. Discussing the launch of EarthSpeakr when asked what can be done to balance our economic needs with the well-being of the people in an interview with Laura Swale in The Times of Malta in July 2020, artist Olafur Eliasson said “I could recommend a few things, still. Put an artist on every board of every company, put an artist in every political meeting room, put a child in every government advisory board, put a young person in every evaluation board about the impact of what they’re doing. Integrate a just choice of people”. So, I looked back at the recent work of several artists exhibited in solo or collective exhibitions to refresh our collective memory; tapping into the

force of powerful works that scream to our core. HUDHA (Take it) was a collective popup exhibition with works that represented the sentiment of the prevalent ‘take what you want’ attitude in relation to the local environmental consciousness. It brought together thirteen visual artists, each of whom brought their own statement based on the current environmental situation in Malta. I was particularly struck by new on-thescene artists like Alessio Cuschieri and his Maltese Quarry/ashtray and Yan Pirotta’s Distorr. The last work refers in part to the distorted information we receive – where we are shown parts of a whole out of context and, in the words of the artist himself, “we force ourselves to believe for the ‘greater good’ of a country, but it turns out to be a force of greed”.

IBLALIBA, by Pierre Portelli, is a strong visual comment on the gluttonous avarice of uncontrolled land speculation. “The forks here become implements that stretch the buccal cavity in an attempt to over ingest. In this work I chose to represent an oral cavity, whether it is a head or not, it is up to the viewer”. In her significant body of work, and as per her essay on, artist Charlene Galea talks about How the sea has become Malta’s only pavement. How staring at the horizon over the sea is the only way to escape the rampage and the destruction and the only way to absolve us and allow us to connect with nature. In general, Galea’s topics relate to owning the trash that is left in painfully over-developed spaces. The raw imagery contrasts the luxury of what is about to become of that ‘stolen’ space in the future. >>

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Comment /Environment + Art / Malta March - June 2021 MALTA Continued

“I started going for long walks and documented [what I saw], immediately drawn to the heaps of rubbish on the pavements and the construction sites always digging and piling. That is when I started to focus my research on urban landscapes, the Anthropocene and how we humans live. I collected whatever rubbish I could and created digital collages which later have been presented in St James Cavalier, 2019 an multi-installation called Is-Salott”. Her fascination with over-development on hysterical levels continued with her project Bodysuits, sneaking girls into construction sites when the workers leave and taking over the space as a playground. “Our bodies playfully climbed cranes, fell in the cement and posed seductively in these spaces”. This project was presented in Arles and as well in Malta in her exhibition, Hudha. Recently in her project Island Girls, presented in Vienna in Kunsthalle Enexergasse, Galea took a model to a huge construction site that was half filled with water and they pretended it was a sea spot in Malta. “What most images like

to do in art is relax not disturb. When I create collages, I try to have a sense of humour and portray something akin to prettiness in all the ugliness with a funny title. But a selfie of me looking sexy gets triple the attention than any of these collages”. Matthew Attard’s contribution to Hudha took the form of a number of ‘eye-drawings’ that started from the common perception that having a house plant is enough for a sustainable way of living. “Of course, in no way is the work meant to discourage anyone from living with house plants — the highlight is on how important they are — but also on how they cannot stand alone in face of an unsustainable development on a bigger picture. The drawings are a bit of a satirical pun on this: the act of making them derives from directly looking at the plants, which looking is being translated by the eye-tracker into data points (from which I then post-produce the drawing). I also liked the idea of having something that it purely organic represented through a digital process, which can

19.05.09. ‘And in the end the hardest thing for Xummiemu was to find a tree...’, Sebastian Tanti Burlò

Distorr, Yan Pirotta. Photo by KitzKlikz

Inharsu lejn il-Pjanti, Digital Print, Matthew Attard

“Many Malta-based artists have produced powerful works to express the pain they feel when witnessing this environmental apathy, highlighting the cause….. BUT ARE WE LISTENING?”

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raise interesting questions and comments in itself.” Attard has been working on other works dealing with environmental issues. “Using the eye-tracker as a medium for drawing, also means that the captured data is ‘witnessing’ what one sees”. I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of this. ARTNA, a poster exhibition, was a project set up by a newly-formed community of creative illustrators who felt compelled to join forces and create a response to the extreme frustration felt over the unsustainable over-construction and general disregard for the environment by successive administrations and the general public. Malta lacks guerrilla and street art examples, both of which are usually deemed controversial by our mostly conservative society.

IBLALIBA, Vince Briffa. Photo by Pierre Portelli

Seb Tanti Burlo’s And in the end the hardest thing for Xummiemu was to find a tree... is incredibly powerful. Ed Dingli, the project’s organiser says, “with today’s oversaturation of images, it’s up to the creativity of the artist to get their image seen and their voice heard beyond their echo chamber, but getting support from entities, organisations and publications is vital in helping to spread awareness to a wider audience. In my opinion, one of the main problems contributing to

For Our Children, Ed Dingli

The illustrators were encouraged by the increase in awareness and amount of young people getting involved in protests, and created a set of posters that were available for anyone to download, print out, take to protests or paste up as a form of demonstration. The public was urged to join and support local NGOs who work tirelessly to lobby the authorities on a range of related issues.

the unsustainable development is the sense of apathy among the public, and general unwillingness to hold the authorities to account. We see something that upsets us, react with a sigh or a shrug, and quickly move on to something else. What we really need to do is harness that frustration and turn it into something productive – and that was essentially the impetus behind the idea for Artna”. Dingli continues to remind the authorities that the local artists’ community, for instance, have been lobbying collectively for empty public heritage buildings to be assigned for artist residencies and creative communities and not be given away to commercial entities. The artist is trying hard to raise the bar of collective consciousness and if support is not forthcoming, the artist is suffocated. As Yan Pirotta says, “my voice is usually silent, but loud when exhibited – leaving a breathing space for the viewer to judge on his own.” An artist must engage with society. As Pierre Portelli says, “changing perceptions requires persistence and creative energy and in my case through soliciting proactive and participatory engagement of the viewers of my work. If viewers engage positively, neutrally, negatively, actively or passively, then it’s an opportunity to engender an interaction. It’s where the possibility to initiate some change in perception and bring about an emotive response occurs.”

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Architecture / Environment / Malta March - June 2021

ERICA GIUSTA is Director of Innovation at architecture firm AP Valletta. She read for an MA in Architecture, and has a Post-Graduate Master from the Sole24Ore Business School in Milan. She contributes regularly to academic journals and international architecture magazines such as A10 New European Architecture and Il Giornale dell’Architettura.



Debunking the most common (and dangerous)

‘The Last Tree’ by Glen Ellul, ink on paper, 210 x 297mm - A submission for Artna, an online poster exhibition. Artist statement: “When the urge of doing something different meets the fear of losing everything. The Last Tree is a hyperbole of anger and concern about what world we want to pass on to future generations.”


Since categorising and labelling form is the cornerstone of contemporary positivistic society, responsible for the current irreversible transformation of Maltese environment in a number of rather unimaginative ways, an exercise in cataloguing the latter might be the best way to expose, analyse and better understand what’s happening around us, on a daily basis. >>

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Architecture / Environment / Malta March - June 2021 MALTA Continued

Il Fosos, Floriana by Glen Ellul

The ‘certified environmental champion’ type Some of the most controversial developments currently being built are marketed as the ‘next generation buildings for a healthier tomorrow’, thanks to the use of super-efficient technologies and performing materials. What these long list of technical specifications aim at achieving, really, is the ‘green building badge’ of some international certification institute, which will shield the development from the critique of its detractors whilst reassuring its supporters that the ‘sustainability’ box has been ticked and that their money is therefore safely invested. But are merely technical qualities enough to define sustainability in built environment? Let’s take an example. What is truly sustainable in a large-scale brownfield development aiming at green building certification, but simultaneously significantly contributing to the levels of air, noise and light pollution on an island with the highest rate in Europe of exposure to pollution, where air pollution only costs the life of more than one person a day*? Shouldn’t sustainability be a mind-set questioning the need for such development in the first place, and its legitimacy in relation to the bigger picture? Environmental performances are a crucial parameter to take into account when evaluating sustainability and should never become a trick of some crafty businessman justifying highly speculative developments. A badge with a fancy acronym won’t save us. The good old density argument ‘better to build high to save land’ type While in Malta bizarre skyscrapers are presented as the ultimate novelty and solution to all environmental problems, the rest of the western world is wondering whether it is time to find an alternative to these wasteful and outdated tributes to priapic issues. Picking up an article from architecture magazine Domus, in which Tim Snelson from Arup (one of the globe’s biggest and most successful design consultancy firms) exposed how a typical skyscraper will have at least double the carbon footprint of a

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10-storey building of the same floor area, The Guardian’s journalist Rowan Moore recently asked: “if no one ever built a skyscraper ever again, anywhere, who would truly miss them?” Would you? Tall buildings have been sold for decades on the basis that they’re environmentally friendly thanks to their reduced use of land, which could in turn be used for better organisation of infrastructures and public spaces. While there is some truth in it, especially for an island with the highest proportion in Europe of land covered by man-made surfaces (23,7%)**, it is also important to point out how the same efficiency of density could be achieved with lower buildings and better planning. As Rowan Moore put it, “[t]hey have got away with it in part because embodied energy hasn’t until recently been paid as much attention as energy in use. It has been deemed acceptable – by the building regulations, by architects, by the professional media – to rip untold tonnes of matter from the earth and to pump similar tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, in order to produce magical architectural devices that might, if all their wizardry were to function as promised, pay back some of their carbon debt some time in the next century. By when it might be too late.” The ‘generous greenery pouring from balconies’ type, also known as ‘wanna-be-Bosco-Verticale’ Thanks to its unprecedent commercial success, the Milanese skyscraper know as Bosco Verticale (literally ‘vertical forest’) has become the ultimate symbol of sustainability in architecture. Locally, at least one every ten articles on the matter would use a photo of its lavish greenery, and almost any developer and aspiring ‘stararchitect’ out there regard it as a life goal. But the concept of Bosco Verticale is not particularly innovative nor exceptionally environmentally friendly: it’s a tower made of concrete with lots of small trees and high-maintenance plants on its balconies. If that sounds familiar, you probably just read about one of the greening government-launched schemes. The underlying principle is very similar: both cases propose a cosmetic, photogenic, short-term and easily marketable solution to all

“The need to investigate alternatives to the endless growth model on which Malta still seems to rely, is more urgent than ever.”

While it’s important to avoid indulging in nostalgic and conservative views on the subject, it also crucial to take definite decisions towards what the approach towards built heritage is - or should be. To allow a dull, 12-storey development behind an existing 19th century façade, or the erection of a tower literally on top of an Art Deco villa, is the equivalent of not taking a decision – and surely not a sustainable approach either. Certain developments are just not compatible with the preservation of heritage. The debate should focus on questioning their legitimacy in the first place, and take consequential decisions regarding any heritage element involved, in a coherent and rigorous manner.

those buildings whose carbon footprint is almost impossible to offset – and, in the Maltese case, whose contribution to the obliteration of built heritage should be condemned rather than embellished. If on one hand it’s undeniable that these buildings exist and that all we can do about them now is to soften their impact with measures that could be beneficial to the environment (because, no, unfortunately all these blank party walls and overdesigned facades won’t just vanish overnight), on the other hand it’s important not to fool ourselves with the belief that some green walls will solve the problem. They are the equivalent of a dose of morphine to a dying patient. The facadism fanatic type Is preserving just the main façade of a building a good strategy to ensure the sustainable development of built heritage? How many times have facadism’s requirements generated giant monstrosities? A quick look at Ugly Malta’s Instagram profile will enlighten all those who can’t answer these questions straight away.

The I love tarmac (and my car) type Together with the so-called ‘upgrading of roads’ (in other words, widening of roads and building of flyovers), the ‘upgrading of carpark facilities’ (meaning, covering in fresh tarmac any corner which could potentially fit a car) is afflicting Malta like a vicious disease – as if the actual health emergency wasn’t enough. Lots of statistics on how much air pollution will drop thanks to certain infrastructural projects are boasted on site boards, banners, newspapers’ adverts, everywhere. But no percentage of reduction of traffic nor number of new trees planted on the sides of widened streets will offset the damage done by a culture encouraging the use of private vehicles and prioritising its needs over strategic investments on public transport, pedestrian areas, bicycle lanes and any other intervention aiming at offering an alternative to the use of cars.

more difficult to plan and implement in the short term, but potentially so much more rewarding in the long term. What all the above types of intervention share is a blatant greenwashing attitude. In other words, a specific way of conveying false positive impressions or promoting misleading information about how climate change and sustainability issues are tackled. These issues are extremely complex in nature, they include historical, social and political aspects of built environment too, beyond the most direct and easy-to-convey technical facts. It sounds logical that solutions should be just as complex. The need to investigate alternatives to the endless growth model on which Malta still seems to rely, is more urgent than ever. Strategies and ideas to make circularity possible on an island have just started being discussed and tested: the Malta Sustainability Forum hosted pioneers of the ‘Doughnut Economics’

model applied to urban transformations, while the Engineering department of the University of Malta recently presented results of its research on reconstituted stone, an innovative building material derived from the recycling of waste limestone and concrete. In Malta, circular economy (the new buzzword) is particularly challenging since our Mediterranean climate is getting dryer and hotter, and we don’t have the abundance of natural resources and the industrial possibilities that are countries have. More efforts should be made towards research on alternative methods and processes that will address our specific needs in the long run, and collaboration with all the professionals willing to seriously contribute should be fostered. No greenwashing operation will lead to the re-establishment of balance between development and protection of our environment, only the adoption of a genuinely critical mindset on actions against climate change might.

While in most major cities the COVID-19 crisis has been exploited as an opportunity to re-think urban priorities and create lasting change – among the most interesting examples, the pedestrianisation of more than 35km of central Milanese streets and the famous Champs Elysée in Paris – local entities seem never to have even considered giving up the status quo for something certainly Valletta Waterfront by Glen Ellul

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Comment / Two Men in a Boat March - June 2021 MALTA


TWO MEN in a Boat


s I was growing up, a young boy on an island colony during the Cold War, I was aware of a strange enemy, greater than the USSR and just as invisible, that was all around us. Difficult to define, it had something to do with the lack of information about things, a weakness stemming from an uncertain future and the fear of being alone and independent. I guess you could call this enemy the Unknown. It lingered darkly in the shadows, ubiquitous and inaccessible, getting mixed up, sadly, with ominous operations on the battlefield of my conscience, where good and evil were in perpetual confrontation. The unknown didn’t concede complacency. It needed, with enormous effort and action, to be defeated, in order to dispel the malevolent mists of ignorance and superstition. That battle found its symbols in the stories that fed my fantasy during early adolescence, tales, mostly, of exploration into uncharted territories. One of my favourite books, I remember, was called The Silent Places by Stewart Edward White. It was redolent with the idealism of the trail scout, which I avidly absorbed, and full of a fascination for the great, white, quiet forests – the Silent Places –beautifully painted with words that drew me in, straight from the first paragraph. “At about eight o’clock one evening of the early summer a group of men were seated on a grass-plot overlooking a broad river. The sun was just setting through the forest fringe directly behind them. Of this group some reclined in the short grass, others lay flat on the bank’s slope, while still others leaned against the carriages of two highly ornamented field-guns, whose embossed muzzles gaped silently at an eastern shore nearly two miles distant. The men were busy with soft-voiced talk, punctuating their remarks with low laughter of a singularly infectious character. It was strange speech, richly embroidered with the musical names of places, with unfamiliar names of beasts, and with unintelligible names of things”. The text was accompanied by colourful illustrations that bridged the eager space between those bright words and the imagination of the reader. They were painted by Philip R. Goodwin who became well known for his so-called ‘predicament picture’: the struggle between man and beast and the trials of life in the untamed natural landscapes of the northern forests and lakes. In

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KONRAD BUHAGIAR is a founding partner of Architecture Project and has been responsible for numerous restoration and rehabilitation works in historic buildings and urban sites. He has lectured in Malta and several countries abroad, published numerous historical articles and has been the Chairman of both the Heritage Advisory Committee and the Valletta Rehabilitation Committee.

his illustrations he often depicted his heroes from behind as they faced the treacherous wild, putting the animal and the protagonist, whether Mountie or lumberjack, right up against the picture plane. Whether it was a grizzly bear and a scout meeting each other on a trail, or two mates on a duck-hunting expedition, rowing through the rushes in a little Indian canoe, Goodwin’s signature style was his impressionistic depiction of the wonder of the American scenery, the woods, the plains and the waters of the Great Lakes and the border provinces of Canada and the States. The book had a lasting impression on me. Recently, in an antique shop, a painting caught my attention that, in hindsight, must have reminded me somehow of the northern American landscapes described in the book. I was in search of more useful stuff, chairs and mirrors and the like, but the subject of the painting – two men in a boat – must have caused a long-buried memory to resurface. It was a charming oil painting, naive in a way that suited the subject well. I looked at it closely, catching the scent of the fine day that had inspired its creation almost a hundred years ago. For a moment I was there, the still air, the lilac haze in the distance tracing the line of the opposite shores and the lush sweep of grass in the foreground embracing the boat and its silent, watchful occupants. There was silence all around except for the soft, rustling splashes of a duck, filtering its bill along the surface of the water. The two men are waiting intently to catch louder splashes, a sign of the duck running on the water and about to take flight. The sound, then, of the ensuing thumps and swishes of the duck’s wings in the mild air, woke me from my reverie and I was back in the cluttered curiosity shop.

The painting was dated 1933 and, strangely, in spite of the foreign landscape it portrayed, was signed by a Maltese artist called Micallef. Seeing my hesitation, the antique dealer egged me on, declaring that the picture came from a ‘good’ house. ‘It’s cute’, I thought, characteristically letting the capricious side of me take over. I decided to purchase it. As I was writing out the cheque, however, my curiosity got the better of me and I spontaneously asked about its provenance. “I got it from Villa Francia,” the dealer proudly announced. “After the auction was concluded and the best items were gone, I bought the rest”. I pricked up my ears. Villa Francia was the residence of Sir Ugo Mifsud, Malta’s third Prime Minister who had succeeded my grandfather as Head of the Ministry during the first years of Self-Government. I remembered my mother repeatedly mentioning how Ugo Mifsud was married to the daughter of Francia, a miller and one of the richest men on the island, and how my grandfather, was no match for his wealthy political rival. I had a vague idea of what Sir Ugo Mifsud looked like, his moustache and projecting ears, and it suddenly struck me that the man in the boat with the gun on his lap and the cigarette hanging casually from his lips, patiently waiting for a flapping, hissing, soaring duck to emerge from the rushes, was the exPrime Minister himself. Were it not for a remembered family myth, and my curiosity of the moment, what could have remained forever a pleasant, but anonymous, painting of an ordinary hunting day out on the marshes, suddenly acquired historical relevance. I was thrilled. There was a mystery still to be unravelled though. Where was that grass-

slope or riverbank that served as a backdrop to Sir Ugo Mifsud’s duck-hunting expedition? That evening, a cursory surf on the internet painlessly provided the coveted answer. In 1928, after having lost the general election, Sir Ugo Mifsud attended, as Head of the Opposition, the Empire Parliamentary Conference that was convened in Canada where he made the case for the first official Maltese ‘settlers’, as he called them, in Canada. Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, President Emeritus, has patiently transcribed and published on the net, a small number of letters that Sir Ugo Mifsud sent to his father, Dr Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, who was Minister of the Treasury in Sir Ugo Mifsud’s Cabinet. The letters, in his handwriting and jotted down mostly on hotel stationery, trace his journey from Calgary to Winnipeg and eventually to Sault Ste. Marie and Port William and Port Arthur, Lake Heads of Ontario. His participation was amply recorded in the Mid-Day News of the moment, but no mention of course was made of a day that he must have taken off from his official duties to enjoy hunting for duck on the shores of the Great Lakes – a beautiful day that was memorable enough for him to commission a painting some years later based, no doubt, on a photograph he brought back with him. Sir Ugo Mifsud was thirty-five when he became Prime Minister in 1924, the youngest Prime Minister in the British Empire. He was the son of a judge, an able lawyer and married to a very rich lady. I remember stories being told during my childhood of my grandfather’s struggle to keep his party, the largest at the time, alive, how the small fish that eventually became the Nationalist Party, swallowed the big fish. Today, as I study an old photo of the members of Malta’s first Legislative As-

sembly in 1921, I cannot help but compare the two men – my grandfather in the centre, with his sweetly tilted head, his grand moustache and Gladstone collar still reminiscent of the previous century, and Sir Ugo Mifsud in the front, sitting back, relaxed, his armed folded and legs crossed at the ankles, a confident, debonair expression on his face and an attitude of someone living the present to the full, but looking eagerly to the future. In those first years of self-government, what were they but two earnest men in a small boat called Malta that was just about leaving the safe harbour of the British Empire? They took it in turns to skipper the boat, sailing it safely out into unknown territory and steering it across troubled waters towards independence and that beautiful, ‘silent place’ we call the Future.

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Comment / Baroque / Malta March - June 2021

Photo by Ray Attard

KENNETH ZAMMIT TABONA is Artistic Director of the Valletta International Baroque Festival and of Malta’s Teatru Manoel. He is also one of Malta’s best-known visual artists and illustrators.





s the founder and director of the Valletta Baroque Festival I frequently get asked the question ‘what is baroque?’.

every aspiring court in Europe, from St Petersburg to Lisbon, and from Stockholm to Valletta. Not only the sovereigns but also the church, the nobility, and the well-to-do had this ongoing link with music making rather like today’s plutocrat would have their Bang and Olufsen at the ready!

I find this a little unnerving and very disconcerting. In a country like ours, which is dyed in the wool baroque, I find it alarming how little the general public realise that wherever we look, the sights, the sounds, the temperaments are altogether baroque. It’s literally genetic; the architecture, the art, the feasts, the politics, you name it and its dramatic and larger than life; the epitome of Baroque with a capital B! The origin of the word is a ‘misshapen pearl’ in Portuguese, which in the 15th and 16th century was used as a centerpiece by jewellers to create a masterpiece; a triton or a horse or a griffon decorated with other pearls and precious stones. Very OTT jewellery was transcribed into other artistic disciplines, and while we had the classical basics that were revived in the Renaissance, they were given new theatrical extravagances that became more and more fantastical, until they evolved in the phantasmagoria of the Germanic Rococo of a Balthazar Neumann! It was as if the Baroque had reached such an apogee that something had to give and post French Revolution the artistic world returned to the classicism of David. But not for long. Romanticism then took over, but I digress. Malta developed into a sovereign principality during the period when it was ruled by the scions of the most illustrious

Malta was no exception. Maltese composers mingled with and were influenced by Neapolitan figures, which were from the nearest and most illustrious royal court – reaching its creative height during the reign of the Bourbon Charles III. Abos, Zerafa, Azzopardi and Balzano were all in Naples at some point, and our cathedral archives are full of their work along with that of Neapolitan composers. In fact, the great Gerolomini archive in Naples has copies of practically everything we have here in Malta.

Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc - Unsplash

Catholic noblesse of Europe, from 1530 to 1798, which covers the Baroque period perfectly. So, when after the Siege of 1565 the Grandmaster de Valette persuaded his Knights to make Malta their permanent home, and founded the city that still bears his name, this new city was planned and built on baroque lines – starting from the mannerist and relatively uncomplicated lines of the Auberge D’Aragon to the extravaganza that is Auberge de Castille! Churches, palaces and houses within the enormous ramparts based on a gridiron, which was considered to be the

dernier cri in town planning so much so New Amsterdam across the Atlantic follows the same concept and is now called New York!

Tragically, it was only the church that preserved their musical archives, and one must presume that the music composed for the grandmaster, his court, the auberges and the rich Knights, as well as the well-to-do Maltese were transformed into covers for other books at best, and fish and chip wrappers at worst!

Back to music! All over the world, there has been a revival of what we now refer to as Early Music. It was essential that this wonderful and magnificent setting needed the music that went with it. In creating Versailles, Louis XIV had Jean Baptiste Lully compose operas and ballets that reflected the ‘gloire’ he wished to use as a political tool. This was reflected in

This is why the Baroque Music Festival is so important, as it performs the music that was created at the height of the reign of an order, the magnificence of which has been altogether unsurpassed and which has left such a strong baroque stamp in our DNA, that many of us are unaware of it and need to realise it.

“Wherever we look, the sights, the sounds, the temperaments are altogether baroque. It’s literally genetic; the architecture, the art, the feasts, the politics, you name it and its dramatic and larger than life” No.14__ Artpaper / 027

Review / Turner / London March - June 2021

Fons Americanus, Kara Walker, Tate Modern Hyundai Turbine Commission. Photo by Ben Fisher





he walk along the Thames river path in London from Rotherhithe Street, stretching two miles westward towards Tower Bridge, defines the kind of urban palimpsest typical of the city. Its restored waterside warehouses, each duly concierged and key-fobbed, deliver the not-so-secret comforts of gentrification; its council houses – sitting directly opposite – restore the collective conscience of richer tenants with just the right amount of grit. The Fighting Temeraire (1838), J.M.W Turner’s most famous painting showing a great warship being tugged to berth by a paddle-wheel steam tug, is also known as an emblem of British duality. It represents two types of hero – the champion of the empire and the warrior of the workforce. On its last journey, the HMS Temeraire came to final rest in Rotherhithe, somewhere along the aforementioned route that still tells a tale of two cities. I know the route well. I lived in Rotherhithe for almost four years. I moved there in 2013, three years before another dichotomous gulf – leave versus remain – would newly define the UK. Pre-Brexit, the nationalism embodied by Turner’s Temeraire

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was still coloured by my own British colonial Stockholm Syndrome. Beguiling in its heroism. Magnetic in its war-wounded fortitude. Turner painted The Slave Ship in 1840, potentially after reading about a ship known as Zong in Thomas Clarkson’s The History and Abolition of the Slave Trade, published in 1839. This second painting depicts a frothing deluge of human carnage – a vicious storm where treacherous weather meets gross immorality. Many believe it to have been based on the account of the actual slave ship as it travelled inbound to Jamaica, its captain hurling over a hundred slaves overboard in a bid to claim insurance against their lives. Turner’s blood stained, white hot waters gush and coalesce frantically inwards and outwards, playing host to pathetically waving arms and legs. Flying fish and swooping birds peck at the hopeless figures, each taut with desperation and the final breaths of life. The Fighting Temeraire and The Slave Ship are separated in time by only a couple of years, but in attitude and sentiment exist lightyears apart. Taken sideby-side, they demonstrate two very different sides to one coin. The coin is Britain, the sides are honour and virtue versus evil and inhumanity.

ANN DINGLI is an art and design writer with an MA in Design Criticism from the University of the Arts, London. She has worked as a freelance writer and content consultant for four years, writing remotely from London, New York and Malta since 2016. (

In 2019, almost two hundred years after Turner’s slave ship was first exhibited, Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus became the nineteenth Turbine Hall installation at Tate Modern. Her work – a towering fountain inspired by the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace – provided sardonic reflection on the horrors of empire and colonialism. Layered with allegory and allusions, Walker presented ailing figures that recall Turner’s discarded slaves. Pre-C, as Tate visitors stood on and around the installation talking jovially against the sound of splashing water, or posing for selfies alongside its staggering verticality, art once again exposed duality. On the one hand, the reintroduction of historic evils so pervasive that they still hold water after centuries of progress. On the other, a collective vanity and apathy so omnipresent that it can stand side by side with those evils, rendering them normal. In summer of 2020, I purchased tickets to Turner’s Modern World, an exhibition opening at Tate Britain at the end of that year’s October. The show’s informational blurb described Turner as a figure who captured the revolutionary changes of his time, describing him as an artist who “faced up to these new challenges”, transforming the way he painted to “better capture this new world”.

The Slave Ship, J.M.W. Turner, 1840, oil on canvas. Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston

Predictably, I never got to see the exhibition. The UK entered its second lockdown two days after its official opening. In doing so, it highlighted polarities still prevalent within the nation. The unjust inequality between rich and poor, between white and black and ethnic minorities – each still metaphorically living on opposite sides of the road. The latter of both groups have been excessively affected by the economic, social and fatality fallout of the virus. On many levels, the powers that be had again failed to protect their people with parity, figuratively throwing overboard those deemed more expendable. The modernity of Turner does not only lie in his willingness to portray new and urgent subject-matter. Nor does it solely rest on his courage to depict subjects that expose uncomfortable realities. Turner’s modernity exists in his ability to present the faceted versions of truth as swelling, morphing, competing dimensions of one whole. Turner’s work forgives us for categorically defining singular aspects or episodes of our personal histories as either brave or brutal; reminding us that, very often, they are both.

The Fighting Temeraire, J.M.W. Turner, 1839, oil on canvas. National Gallery

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Review /Art Scene / Tunisia March - June 2021 TUNISIA



in Tunisia Post Revolution

Ismail Bahri, Dénouement, 2011- Selma Feriani Gallery

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CHRISTINE XUEREB SEIDU founded Christine X Art Gallery in 2004 after a university degree in Art History and Anthropology. She has returned to Malta after a year in Ghana where she explored African art and culture.

Tunisia mainly sees its best contemporary artists in those who have been heavily engaged in their native Tunisian culture, whilst having developed techniques and means of expression acquired abroad. These include photographer Mouna Karray, represented by Tyburn Gallery; Nadia Kaabi Linke, represented by Dallas Contemporary; and Nidhal Chamekh and Ismail Bahri, represented by Selma Feriani Gallery. Young artists like Nidhal Chamekh and Maher Gnaoui are said to be saving the Tunisian contemporary art scene by offering their original aesthetic propositions, and by remaining far removed from the post-revolutionary opportunism displayed by the elder generation of artists who allowed government interference in the arts. Other artists like Nicene Kossentini, Lina Ben Rejeb, Amel Bennys, Rafik El Kamel, Jellel Gasteli and Thameur Mejri – who are all represented by Selma Feriani Gallery – are also taking the Tunisian art scene by storm, together with a few more represented by other galleries.

Maher Gnaoui, The Lady, 2018- A. Gorgi Gallery


There appears to be a dearth of critical platforms as not a single academic review is dedicated to fine art in Tunisia. Nevertheless, art shows are taking place, and although Covid-19 has put a hold on most shows, in the coming months exhibitions such as the international art exhibition organised by Goethe Institute titled, Matter of Time, will take place between the 20th and 22nd May 2021 at Ennejma Ezzahra Palace in Sidi Bou Said. Ismail Bahri will be exhibiting at Selma Feriani Gallery until the 4th of April 2021.

n 1914, Paul Klee, like other artists, was inspired by the natural light and colours in nature and tapestries that Tunisia had to offer. Over a century later, Tunisian artists reclaimed their city with light art during the annual Interference Tunis light art festival.

Jaou Tunis is another annual art festival that since 2013 has been organised by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation, aimed at bringing heritage sites to life. This is the same foundation behind B7L9, the contemporary art space that opened its doors just outside Tunis in 2019. This venue and incubator, comprising a 1500 square metre art gallery, library and residency, is meant to show works by local and international artists but to also engage the poverty-stricken neighbourhood community. Besides the strong contemporary art galleries and spaces like Selma Feriani Gallery, A.Gorgi Gallery, Yosr Ben Ammar Gallery, La Boite and some others, Tunis has hitherto lacked a functioning contemporary art museum. The state funded high-rise Cité de la Culture may technically contain a modern art museum, but is known to be unpopular with many artists. In November 2019, it housed one of the exhibitions of the Carthage Days for Contemporary Art.

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Review / Exhibition / Germany March - June 2021 GERMANY


“Everyone Is an Artist”



t began ingloriously – a child of his time, Joseph Beuys joined the Hitler Youth as a teenager and volunteered for the Luftwaffe in 1941. After training as a radio operator, he was deployed on the Eastern Front. Many of his drawings have survived from his time at war. In March 1944, Beuys was flying a dive bomber (Stuka) that hit the ground due to poor visibility and crashed. A German search party found him as a survivor, and three weeks later he was able to leave the military hospital. However, the incident served him throughout his life in creating a myth around his oeuvre: Beuys liked to work with organic materials such as fat, honey and felt. He claimed that nomadic Crimean Tatars had rescued him after the plane crash, packed him onto a sledge and anointed his wounds with animal fat. In the process, he was kept warm in felt for eight days. This legend was only disproved in 2000.

On the occasion of the 100th birthday of Joseph Beuys, a large number of exhibitions are being staged in Germany. Joseph Beuys, Festival der neuen Kunst, 1964 ©Photo by Heinrich-Riebesehl, G-Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020

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After the end of the Second World War and a short period as a prisoner of war, Beuys returned to his parents. In his home town of Kleve, he joined an artists’ group as early as 1945. He studied monumental sculpture in Düsseldorf and was allowed to work as a ‘Meisterschüler’ (postgraduate) on major projects such as Cologne Cathedral. At the same time, the class was intensively occupied with the philosophical teachings of the anthroposophist, Rudolf Steiner. This is where Beuys’ later world-view and theory of social sculpture took form. He demanded that man, society, be shaped by the means of art.

GABRIELE SPILLER is a journalist with an MA in Art Education. She lives in Berlin and Ghajnsielem. Her book 50 Reasons to Love Gozo is an expression of her enthusiasm for Malta’s culture.

From 1961, he held the chair for monumental sculpture at the State Academy of Art in Düsseldorf but soon attracted more attention because of his unconventional performances. He supported the new Fluxus movement, according to which it was not the work of art that mattered, but the creative idea. Beuys coined the ‘expanded concept of art’, which took social aspects into account: “I am certainly not an artist. Unless we all regard ourselves as artists, in which case count me in. Otherwise, no,” he said shortly before his death. However, his provocative postulate that “everyone is an artist” angered the establishment. At the Festival of New Art, a student punched Professor Beuys in the nose. Beuys rejected admission procedures such as application folders and took all the rejected applicants for a teaching degree into his class (which thus grew to 400 students). After the Ministry of Education and Science did not approve of his action, he and a group of students occupied the secretariat of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1971. In negotiations with the minister, he ob-

tained a one-time exception. But when Beuys did the same the next semester and allowed 268 students in his class instead of 30, he was dismissed without notice and escorted out of the academy by police officers. International artists such as David Hockney, Jim Dine and Gerhard Richter demonstrated against the dismissal because Beuys had celebrated groundbreaking successes in previous years. He exhibited regularly at Documenta in Kassel/Germany, probably the most important show for contemporary art, as well as at the Biennale di Venezia. For his first vernissage in a commercial gallery (1965), he made guests wait three hours outside the locked door. Meanwhile – as they were able to look in through a window – Beuys walked through the presentation with a dead hare in his arms and explained the pictures. He himself was covered in honey and gold dust. With this satirised ritual of ‘explaining art’, he criticised what he perceived as an elitist approach to art. Today, the performance is considered a key work, which Marina Abramovic re-

Joseph Beuy, Verleihung Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Preis der Stadt, Duisburg, 1986 ©Photo by Britta-Lauer

peated in 2005 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to draw attention to its topicality. In a New York gallery, Beuys once spent three days living with a coyote, mostly wrapped in a felt blanket and leaning on a shepherd’s crook (I Like America and America Likes Me). In anoth-

er performance, he cut his finger and bandaged the knife. His later iconic outfit – jeans, white shirt, anglers’ waistcoat and felt hat – is said to have been advised by his wife so that he would attract more attention during an interview. He spoke to the media a lot and used the emerging medium of television to spread his art. According to his biographer, he was an ideal-typical counterpart to Andy Warhol, the two worked together in 1980 for a gallery in Naples. At the end of the 1970s, the Green Party emerged in Germany and Joseph Beuys ran for the European Parliament. In an election campaign song, We Want Sun instead of Rain, (= onomatopoeic: Reagan), he sang in 1982 against the rearmament plans of American President Ronald Reagan and nuclear power plants (and for the expansion of solar energy). When Joseph Beuys died at the age of 64, he had proven that as an artist you can critically question politics and society and integrate them into practice. The main exhibition is scheduled to take place from 27 March to 15 August 2021 at the k20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Due to protective Covid-19 measures, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen was closed until further notice at the time of going to press. The organisers are working on an alternative digital opening scenario. www.kunstsammlung. de/en/ An overview of the planned events:

Joseph Beuys, Capri-Batterie, 1985 ©Photo by Reni-Hansen, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020

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Localist / Directory / Malta March - June 2021

get with...









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ART SUPPLIES GALEA’S ART STUDIO Galea’s Art Studio was established in 1920 by Chev. Joseph Galea and today it is run by Pierre, Eddie and Heather. Apart from the studio which sells prints and artist materials they have also opened an art café on Strait St which provides a space for events such as poetry readings, drawing clubs and good coffee, and a third venue used for art lessons, drawing classes and creative workshops. Art Studio, 70 South Street, Valletta. Art Gallery, 221 Strait Street, Valletta M: 9943 8965 E: W: SISTINA ART SUPPLIES Sistina Art Supplies offer high quality art materials for all artistic levels and needs: students, artists, restorers, and gilders, as well as framing services. 8 Amery Street, Sliema T: 2131 4453 VEE GEE BEE ART Vee Gee Bee Art represents leading art material brands such as Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, La Franc et Bougouis, Caran D’Ache, Unison, Arches, Saunders, and Bockingford as well as a varied range of art and craft products for children. Vee Gee Bee Art staff are specifically trained to help the artist and hobbyist get the most out of the products, which are also available online and by delivery across Malta. Bellavista Street, San Gwann T: 2138 5584 E: W:

ARCHITECTS AP VALLETTA AP Valletta is a research-based practice. Their vision is to create an architecture that is a place-maker, a container of meaning, a catalyst of myth and a producer of narratives. 4 Sappers Street, Valletta T: 2124 3981 E: & W:

CHRIS BRIFFA ARCHITECTS Founded in 2004, Chris Briffa Architects’ work is renowned for its distinctive and contemporary approach to context, with a strong emphasis on detail and craftsmanship. In their quest to create sense of place, projects include various hospitality missions - such as the Reef Guesthouse in Bahrain and the local Valletta Vintage - places where many have recounted a timeless experience. W: MJM|DA Total design professional services and value – architecture, structures, building services, interiors, and project management. 125 Naxxar Road, Birkirkara T: 2747 7777 M: 9947 7777 E: W:

SISTINA Sistina Art Supplies offers bespoke framing services as well as high quality art materials for all levels and needs: students, artists, restorers, and gilders. 8 Amery Street, Sliema T: 2131 4453

A R T C O N S U LT A N T LILY AGIUS GALLERY With over 15 years of experience, Lily Agius has a keen eye for talented emerging and established artists from Malta and abroad and offers a personalised service for anyone looking for one work of art or wishing to start a collection. 54 Cathedral Street, Sliema M: 9929 2488 E: W:

BESPOKE DESIGN MODEL The Malta Office of Design for Environments and Living (MODEL) is motivated by the underlying simple principle that through good design of our built and unbuilt environment we can improve the way we live. MODEL is curated by architects Simon Grech and Alan Galea who seek to challenge and question existing working models in the creative and construction industry today, where no boundaries exist between art, science, business and technology, by adopting an interdisciplinary approach to design both within the MODEL office structure and through relationships with other talented individuals, continuously embracing the complexity of design today. 42 Bisazza Street, Sliema T: 2701 7337 E: ​W:

FRAMING SERVICES PICTURE HOUSE Picture House offers Profile Collections from Madrid, Bilbao, Naples, Florence, and London, and designs and creates its own collection every year. They offer three grades of conservation glass, museum paper and boards, custom coloured finishes and hand carved wood. Transport and installation service are also available. 6 Triq Geronimo Abos, L-Iklin T: 2141 6716 M: 7985 8054 (Diane) / 9946 2928 (Kevin) E: / W:

TOM VAN MALDEREN Whilst exploring the intersections between art, design and architecture, Tom Van Malderen‘s work ranges from bespoke furniture to objects, installations and exhibition design. M: 7961 9391 E: W:

C U LT U R A L M A N A G E M E N T UNFINISHED ART SPACE Unfinished Art Space Project is a management and consultancy for visual arts projects and exhibitions, large or small. M: 9943 1420 W: L I G H T I N G DONEO LIGHTING Doneo Co Ltd offers specialised services in Lighting Design and Control, from Lighting Plans and 3D lighting renders to intelligent lighting and home automation. Doneo, Park Lane Building, Mountbatten Street, Hamrun (by Appointment) T: 2123 0741 E: W:

LIGHT DESIGN SOLUTIONS Light Design Solutions offers a specialist lighting design service that enhances space. For LDS, light enriches the character and qualities of the designated area, whether it is a house, a working environment, outdoor space or entertainment area, and in collaboration with their partners around the globe, offer good quality products that are in line with the latest lighting technologies and constantly revolutionising the world of light. 38/1 Emmanuel Schembri Street, Birkirkara. T: 2149 6843 E: W:

INTERIOR DESIGN PIPPA TOLEDO With over 30 years’ experience in interior design, Pippa Toledo is one of Malta’s best-known names in the field with a large portfolio of successful projects including numerous apartments in Portomaso and Tigne Point, Hotel Juliani, Zest restaurant, Barracuda Restaurant, Club 22 at the Portomaso Tower, EMD Offices at the Valletta Waterfront, The Dragonara Casino, the Grandmasters’ Suite, The Drawing Room and the informal dining room at the President’s Palace in San Anton, and Cardini Restaurant. Garden Terrace Court, Triq il-Baltiku, The Village, St Julians T: 2132 3616 / 2134 1367 E: W: VERA SANT FOURNIER VSF strives to deliver a luxury service for individuals who appreciate personalised design, quality materials and workmanship and desire a space made just for them. M: 7709 9194. E:

P H OT O G R A P H Y MATT THOMPSON Matt is a photographer based between Malta and London, with a love of photographing people. Passionate about what he does, you can trust Matt will work with imagination, creativity, and integrity on every private or commercial commission. M: 9936 3600 E: email on W:

To be listed on the Localist here and on the website email or call 9929 2488. No.14__ Artpaper / 035

Spotlight / Events / Global March - June 2021 EXHIBITIONS


A selection of art events from around the world

Until 9 May 2021

Until 24 April 2021

Until 11 July 2021

Until 31 May 2021

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14.03.21 Until 7 August 2021

Until 24 May 2021







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Despite the UK’s museum closures over lockdown, audiences will hopefully still get to see the first major survey of the celebrated London-based painter, Lynette YiadomBoakye, come spring. Widely considered to be one of the most important painters of her generation, Yiadom-Boakye is known for her enigmatic portraits of fictitious people. Through her focus on the depiction of imagined black characters, the artist’s work raises important questions of identity and representation. The exhibition, showing at London’s Tate Britain, will include over 80 paintings and works on paper, comprising a collection of works from 2003 to present day. Yiadom-Boakye was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Prize in 2018 and was the 2012 recipient of the Pinchuk Foundation Future Generation Prize. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2013. Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom Image: Tie the Temptress to the Trojan, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 2018, Collection of Michael Bertrand, Toronto, © Courtesy of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

04. 02. 21

Galleria Raffaella Cortese in Milan presents the fourth solo show by Czech photographer, Jitka Hanzlová. This exhibition follows her first major presentation in her native country at the National Gallery Prague in 2019, SILENCES, curated by Adam Budak. In the past 30 years, Hanzlová has repeatedly depicted portraits of a world in which subjects exist in a nonhierarchical composition: people, nature, animals, architecture exist in a unity of sense, shown in all their specificity and contradicting moments. In each of her series, Hanzlová composes her vision in sequences, displaying a self-evident constellation of relationships that draw on the structures of existence. The exhibition Architectures of Life allows these relationships to become evident in a new composition – one that collects images from a variety of series spanning through the years. Via A.Stradella 7, Via A.Stradella 1-4, Milan, Lombardy, 20129, Italy Image: Architectures of Life, Jitka Hanzlová, 2021, Installation view at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, via Stradella 1, Milan

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The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona presents a fascinating project that looks at Mars from different approaches and disciplines. The exhibition’s story unfolds as open and with multiple meanings, mirroring current knowledge of the ultimate nature of the universe. With more than 400 objects, including incunabula, sculptures, drawings, comics, films, manuscript documents, collector’s items and even a Martian meteorite, the exhibition presents a comprehensive commitment to knowledge of artistic, literary and scientific creation based around the red planet. Mars. The Red Mirror is curated by Juan Insua, bringing together the views of a variety of audiovisual and digital creators, artists, scientists, experts and inquiring minds. Montalegre 5, Barcelona, Barcelona 08001, Spain Image: Missió LATAM III realitzada a les instal·lacions de la Mars Desert Research Station, a Utah (USA), el maig de 2019. © Mariona Badenes Agustí

Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America is MoMA’s first exhibition exploring the relationship between architecture and the spaces of African American and African diaspora communities. The show presents 10 newly commissioned works by architects, designers, and artists that shed light on the ways in which histories can be made visible and equity can be built. Reconstructions includes works by Emanuel Admassu, Germane Barnes, Sekou Cooke, J. Yolande Daniels, Felecia Davis, Mario Gooden, Walter Hood, Olalekan Jeyifous, V. Mitch McEwen, and Amanda Williams, as well as new photographs by artist David Hartt. MoMA, 11 West 53 Street, New York, New York, NY 10019, United States Image: Fabricating Networks: Fabricating Networks: Transmissions and Receptions from Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Felecia Davis, 2020, Digital file, 24 × 24” (50.8 × 50.8 cm). Image courtesy of the artist. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

One of the world’s most well-known modern artists, Alexander Calder reimagined sculpture as an experiment in space and motion, rejecting conventional ideas around sculpture as static, grounded, and dense. His artworks often move freely, interacting with their surroundings and the audience members who walk around and past them. Bringing together early wire and wood figures, works on paper, jewellery, mobiles in motion, and monumental abstract sculptures, the new MoMA exhibition immerses into the full breadth of Calder’s varied career. Work are drawn from MoMA’s collection along with key loans from the Calder Foundation. The exhibition celebrates one of the most beloved artists of the 20th century and presents rarely seen works, including the large-scale Man-Eater with Pennants, which will be on view in the Sculpture Garden for the first time in more than 50 years after new conservation. MoMA, 11 West 53 Street, New York, New York, NY 10019, United States Image: Installation view of Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 14, 2021 – August 7, 2021 © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Robert Gerhardt


The globally renowned artist, Ai Weiwei, will take over the atrium space at London’s Imperial War Museum with a new artwork. Viewers will be immersed in a site-specific installation, with the atrium being given in its entirety to an artist for the first time in the history of the building. Interrogating ‘international migration, conflict as a root cause of human flow, and the relationship between the individual, society and the state’, History of Bombs draws on the artist’s ongoing investigation into politics and power. Commenting on the work, Ai Weiwei has said; “History of Bombs is about the essential facts of our modern history, which have not been shown all in one space to the public. The work focuses on our human capacity for destruction; how we attempt to solve political, religious, and economic crises through the use of explosives, which is against any humanity and rationality. Today, we have many more bombs with unthinkably destructive power, capable of reducing civilization to dust and smoke. This is the first time the work has been presented in such a unique museum. The space allows for a total viewing, experiencing and understanding of human behaviour today, and perhaps the future as well.” Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ, United Kingdom, Imperial War Museum Image: © IWM Ai Weiwei’s commission History of Bombs forms part of IWM’s Refugees season and is on display at IWM London

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Spotlight / Events / Malta March - June 2021 VISUAL ART EXHIBITIONS

A selection of curated events in Malta



Until 11th April 2021

Until 28 April 2021

14. 04. 21

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21.05.21 Until 20 June 2021

Until 4 July 2021





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A debut solo show by UKbased Maltese illustrator and designer, iella (Daniela Attard), focusing on leaving home, longdistance relationships, life in constant transit and the phases in-between. Taking place in Malta, London, and Sydney, this exhibition will travel to key places that inspired and pivoted the work produced. Works will differ slightly between the three shows, although some core pieces will show in all three exhibitions. The work will feature highly detailed figurative work rendered primarily in pencil, along with a selection of sketchbooks and travel sketches. This project is supported by the Malta Arts Fund.

This collective exhibition – including the work of Mario Abela, Victor Agius and Tony Briffa – is inhabited by undefined shapes, strange creatures, and ghosts that with its powerful indifference makes us consider who we really are and what we are creating or, perhaps even more, what we are destroying. Mario Abela participates with large paintings referring to a time where humans started to impact the planet’s climate and ecosystems. Victor Agius focuses on earthy elements with sculptures made from organic materials, reminding the fragility of nature and humanity. Briffa puts the cherry on the cake with his three-dimensional creatures that appear to jump from a fantasy land directly into the Arthall show.


In Variable depth, shallow water, Izabela Pluta a Polish-born, Australianbased artist, brings together disparate elements, comprising handmade contact negatives of unhinged atlases; fauxartefacts cast in bronze from the depths of where the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea meet; footage from the vast Australian landscape; and neon components that implode in on themselves. Where: Online Image: Courtesy of the artist

Where: Desko, St Lucy Street, Valletta Tuesday to Saturday 11.30-2pm & 4-7pm, Sunday 12-4pm Image: Courtesy of the artist

Until 30 May 2021

Where: Arthall, 8, Triq Agius de Soldanis, Victoria, Gozo Wednesday to Saturday: 10-1pm and 5-7pm & Sunday: 10-12

Until 17 May 2021

Shadows of Reason is an exhibition by Roderick Camilleri which brings together a selection of etchings and paintings from two different series of work. It comprises a variety of artistic processes. The exhibition is rooted in the personal thoughts of the young artist, disclosing existential reflections. Where: The Malta Postal Museum, 135 Archbishop Street, Valletta Monday to Friday 10am4pm, Saturdays 10am2pm Image: The Glowers, Etching, Hardground, Aquatint, by Roderick Camilleri

Adopting digital reproduction techniques for the purposes of artistic creation, this event aims to create a project about light which presents fire not from a thermal stance, but from a visual perspective. Malta is a place where the tradition of fireworks lives on. We read this as a way of drawing pleasure from communing with the energy and vigour of light. ARTISTS: Tomasz Dobiszewski (Poland), Zsolt Gyenes (Hungary), Robert Sochacki (Poland), Matyou Galea (Malta), Matthew Attard (Malta), Eric Souther (USA), Shusaku Kaji (Japan), not a Number Group (Poland). Where: Spazju Kreattiv, St James Cavalier, Castille Place, Valletta, Malta Tuesday – Friday 9am 9pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am - 9pm Image: Courtesy of the artist


For Burlò and Lydia, 64a Flat 1 became the site that collated their separate and complimentary interpretations of Gozo. Here they set up a studio overlooking Marsalforn valley that gradually turned greener as autumn moved to winter. Prior to the pandemic, Lydia’s figurative oil painting took her from London to Florence to Samoa, where she painted on location and from life. Deprived of life models to work from in 2020, Lydia turned to photography for her figurative references. Swapping the pen and ink of his political cartoons for brush and oils, Burlò’s new body of work still retains his brand of social commentary born from his lived experiences on the island of Gozo. Where: Arthall, 8, Triq Agius de Soldanis, Victoria, Gozo Wednesday to Saturday: 10-1pm and 5-7pm & Sunday: 10-12 Image: Birdman by Mario Abela

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Image: il-Laring ta’ Leon by Seb Tanti Burlò

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