The visual arts programme was bursting with new talents, new collaborations and artists making their return to Malta’s contemporary art scene with collective and solo exhibitions.
The season included two major exhibitions this year: LEIVA | Anger is a Lazy Form of Grief and Sea Sunset Moon: Variations on Solitude. LEIVA | Anger is a Lazy Form of Grief curated by Rosa Martinez and Irene Biolchini with artist Austin Camilleri, returning with a solo exhibition after more than ten years, took inspiration from Western art history, popular culture, and power image traditions to explore the tension between the material and the digital, the personal and public by layering techniques and modalities. On the other hand, Sea Sunset Moon: Variations on Solitude explored solitude, in a collective exhibition which sought to find an answer, however tentative, to the question of what it truly means to be alone at a time when our routines have been forcibly changed due to the pandemic.
Spazju Kreattiv was also involved in many collaborations throughout its yearly programme. REFRACTION, with Allied Rainbow Communities, opened our season with a variety of art mediums from local and international artists in a celebration of what is usually unseen, forgotten about, or misunderstood, as well as a recognition that the ongoing fight for LGBTIQ+ rights is global.
Malta – Tunis – Marseille by Katel Delia dealt with the topic of migration through the artist’s family story. As it echoed the life-story of many migrants, the exhibition asked: where can you find a shelter when your native country does not accept your return?
Later on in 2021, Spaces in Suspension, showcased the documentation work done by the prominent photographers Joseph S. Smith and Therese Debono of the ruins of Grand Hotel Verdala. The project featured as well memories of people who worked and experienced the building in its heyday, and memorabilia items from the site.
The literary giant Oliver Friggieri and local artist Isabelle Borg were both commemorated in two solo exhibitions. Mogħdija ta’ Tifkiriet – Tislima lil Poeta was an ode to Oliver Friggieri’s notable episodes from his life through his writings, and never-before-seen illustrations that gave a look into Friggieri’s thought process and personal upbringing. While Isabelle’s body of work was presented in an exhibition titled The Streak – Isabelle Borg Retrospective. This exhibition showcased for the first time a large collection of her most prominent paintings, sketchbooks, landscapes and early work.
The Ordinary Lives of Women, curated by Margerita Pulè, recognised the value of everyday women, and women’s contribution to humanity. It acknowledged the trillions of woman-hours that are spent daily around the world in undervalued tasks of cleaning, caring and maintenance and the exhibition also recognised that ‘ordinary’ women have been pushed to extraordinary acts when their rights and lives – and those of their societies – have come under threat.
Our programme also included a variety of other exhibitions such as the video installation La Pietá by Ruben Zahra, which was postponed from last year due to the pandemic, Migratory Birds in Malta: A Street Art Guide showcasing work by James Micallef Grimaud, in collaboration with the Malta Street Art Collective and BirdLife Malta, the interdisciplinary project Such Stuff as Worlds are Made On, The Trail Valletta by Allura, the multidisciplinary initiative Documents of Socially Engaged Art by head curator Raphael Vella and involving 6 universities from Malta, the Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Sweden and Finland and 2 civil society organisations from Portugal and Italy and Past Continuous – an archival multimedia project by Italian creative Alex Urso with sound artist Yasmin Kuymizakis and Magna Żmien in collaboration with ŻiguŻajg Festival.
The international representation was also evident in projects such as the Night of Ideas : Creating Together installation, in collaboration with the French Embassy in Malta, Ambassade de France à Malte, The Alliance Française de Malte-Méditerranée and Institut Française; the touring exhibition Faces of Europe by Carsten Sander, exhibiting portraits from all across Europe including portraits from Malta, supported by the German Embassy in Valletta; and lastly, an exhibition on Art and AI, first of its kind in Malta – SAAI Factory – Malta Editions.
Palettes, the result of Katarina Radovic’s Artist’s Residency with Spazju Kreattiv, showcased her exploration of Maltese identity, as a small, densely inhabited and multicultural society, seen through food (its preparation, presentation and consumption), expressed in the form of an installation of photographs and texts.
There was also an exhibition at the end of the season by Matthew Schembri and Thomas Scerri and curated by Vince Briffa. The artists, brought together by the Shifting Contexts prize given in 2018, sought to address dualities such as life and death, presence and absence, the visible and the hidden, the tangible and the intangible and focus on the ‘in-between’ states.
The programme also had a number of partnerships with other national entities meant to reach a more diverse demographic. The second edition of Il-Kartolina tal-Milied under the patronage of the wife of the Prime Minister Dr Lydia Abela brought together a range of artworks and Christmas christmas cards created by young people all over Malta and Gozo. For the Carnival period, together with Festivals Malta, our spaces hosted a Costume Exhibition showcasing the talent of many production houses participating in Carnival competitions, and also a photographic exhibition, Through The Eyes of A Friend by German photographer Frank Kirchner.
Staples in our programme such as Shifting Contexts II in collaboration with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ brought together 8 artists and 1 collective from different areas of practice to respond to the theme of ‘change’, successfully hosting an exhibition in Space C at the end of the 6- month research practice. And, lastly, the MCAST ICA Festival, a celebration of creativity by upcoming artists that took over our spaces throughout the month of July. From art, to theatre, media, and graphic design amongst others. Alongside these exhibitions, a collaboration with SACES was also established and Spazju Kreattiv hosted the first ever Architecture Student EXPO in October. This included designs, sketches, digital graphics and architectural models by students studying in the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of Malta.
This vast programme was supported by the Art Additives series where the creative teams had the opportunity to discuss their process, while also linking the exhibition themes with topical subjects. These continued to be live streamed and recorded, shared on our social media and website. The creation of online galleries continued to give access to those who could not attend physically at the centre continuing our efforts to make art accessible.
|Title||Start Date||End Date||Venue/s||Creative Team||Collaborators|
|Muże X. Exhibition||2021-09-09 00:00:00||2021-10-20 00:00:00||Space B|
|REFRACTION||2021-09-10 00:00:00||2021-10-24 00:00:00||Space C||Artists|
Samar Hazboun, Leart Rama, HUSS, Kristian Chalakov, Mohsin Shafi, Elle Conant & Roux Noel, Imad Zoukanni, Roxman Gatt, Robert Andy Coombs, Dirk H Wilms, Lin Zhipeng (aka. No 223), Daphne Sammut, Agataukoxxx, Noah Fabri, Lau Baldo & م ح س ن
|Allied Rainbow Communities, Soura Film Festival, iLab Photo|
|Malta – Tunis – Marseille||2021-09-17 00:00:00||2021-10-31 00:00:00||Space A||Artist|
Prof. Raphael Vella
|Arts Council Malta, Ambassade de France à Malte, iLab Photo|
|Architecture Student EXPO 2021||2021-09-30 00:00:00||2021-10-31 00:00:00||Atrium & Upper Atrium, Tunnel and Meditation Area||SACES (Society of Architecture and Civil Engineering Students)||MASP Awards 2021, Planning Authority|
|Spaces in Suspension||2021-10-29 00:00:00||2021-12-12 00:00:00||Space C||Artists|
Joseph P. Smith
Prof. Vince Briffa
|Arts Council Malta|
|The Trail of Valletta||2021-10-30 00:00:00||2021-10-31 00:00:00||Theatre Foyer||Allura||Parliament of Malta, La Valette Philharmonic Society Band Club, China Cultural Centre, Malta School of Art, Valletta Design Cluster, Russian Centre for Science and Culture, German-Maltese Circle, Iniala|
|Mogħdija ta’ Tifkiriet – Tislima lil Poeta||2021-11-04 00:00:00||2021-12-05 00:00:00||Atrium Approach||Curator|
|Past Continuous||2021-11-04 00:00:00||2021-12-05 00:00:00||Space A||ARTIST|
|ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children & Young People, Valletta Design Cluster|
|Migratory Bird Handbook: A Street Art Guide||2021-12-02 00:00:00||2022-01-16 00:00:00||Space B||ARTIST |
James Micallef Grimaud a.k.a TWITCH
|Documents of Socially Engaged Art||2021-12-10 00:00:00||2022-01-23 00:00:00||Space A||Arts as Social Sculpture (AMASS)||European Unionís Horizon 2020|
|Kartolini tal-Milied||2021-12-16 00:00:00||2022-01-09 00:00:00||Kartolini tal-Milied||ARTISTS|
|The Streak – Isabelle Borg retrospective||2021-12-17 00:00:00||2022-01-16 00:00:00||Space C||CURATOR|
Lisa Gwenn in collaboration with Creative Director Maria Galea
|The Isabelle Borg Collection and Marie Gallery 5|
|Through the Eyes of a Friend||2022-01-20 00:00:00||2022-03-06 00:00:00||Space B||PHOTOGRAPHER|
|Malta Carnival 2022, Festivals Malta|
|Such Stuff as Worlds are Made On||2022-01-21 00:00:00||2022-02-20 00:00:00||Space C||CURATORS|
Anna Dumitriu & Alex May
Kornelia Remø Klokk
Rakel Vella & Jamie Barbara, Emanuel Polidano, Jacob Saliba
|Arts Council Malta, the German Embassy Valletta and Pico Interactive, Inc|
|Carnival Costumes Exhibition||2022-01-27 00:00:00||2022-03-06 00:00:00||Atrium and Upper Atrium||CARNIVAL PARTICIPANTS|
Company – Beqqu Stiefnu Carnival Company, Leaders – Stiefnu Debattista and Paul Chircop
Company – Tad-Deheb Carnival Company in Collaboration with Continental Cars, Leaders – Chris Aquilina and Marvic Aquilina
Company – Titti Carnival Company, Leaders – Raymond Mallia and Mark Mallia
Company – Għaqda Kultura u Armar Maria Annunziata Ħal Tarxien, Leaders – Clinton Abela Galea
Company – The Dancing Angels , Leaders – Heidi Camillari and Alan Bianco Galea
Company – Shake Dencers Żejtun, Leaders – Christian Caruana
Company – Tarxien Lookstar Dancers, Leaders – Gabriella Stagno Piscopo
Company – Żejtun Carnival Troupe , Leaders – Wendy Caruana
Company – Hypnotic Dancers Carnival Group, Leaders – Angele Vella
Company – Sezzjoni Żgħażagħ Stillieri Tarxien, Leaders – Kluivert Caruana
Company – Spagu and Friends Carnival Company, Leaders – Joseph Barbara
|Malta Carnival 2022, Festivals Malta|
|The Ordinary Lives of Women||2022-01-28 00:00:00||2022-03-13 00:00:00||Space A||CURATORS|
Elise Billiard Pisani & Margerita Pulè
Florinda Camilleri, Abigail Agius, Charlie Cauchi, Edith Dekyndt, Katel Delia, Rachel Fallon, Syowia Kyambi, Julieta Gil, Fatima Mazmouz & Francesca Saraullo
EXHIBITION DESIGN & PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Unfinished Art Space, Brazza Art Residency, Art+Feminism & Wikimedia Community Malta
APS Bank, Arts Council Malta, Melita Foundation, Embassy of France in Malta & Embassy of Ireland in Malta
|LE.IVA | Anger is a Lazy Form of Grief||2022-02-25 00:00:00||2022-04-10 00:00:00||Space C||ARTIST|
|Visit Malta, ReCoop, Magro Group, Express Trailers, Arkafort, iLabPHOTO, Pictures & Frames|
|La Pietà – a videodance installation by Ruben Zahra||2022-03-03 00:00:00||2022-04-17 00:00:00||Atrium Approach||CURATOR |
|Anatomy of a Viral Landscape||2021-03-10 00:00:00||2022-04-17 00:00:00||Atrium & Upper Atrium||ARTIST|
|U.S. Embassy, VALLETTA, MALTA; Heritage Malta|
|Night of Ideas – Exhibition||2022-03-11 00:00:00||2022-04-10 00:00:00||Space B||CREATIVE TEAM|
Gaëtan Le Coarer
|Sea Sunset Moon – Variations on Solitude||2022-03-18 00:00:00||2022-05-08 00:00:00||Space A||ARTISTS|
Paul Scerri, Norbert Francis Attard, Katie Sims, Glen Calleja, Anna Calleja, Chelsea Muscat, Sarah Bonaci, with essays by Ruth Bianco and Michael Zammit
|Ambassade de France à Malte; Alliance Française de Malte; Institut Français|
|Palettes||2022-04-13 00:00:00||2022-05-29 00:00:00||Space B||ARTIST|
|Faces of Europe||2022-04-14 00:00:00||2022-05-29 00:00:00||Space C||ARTIST|
|Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, VALLETTA|
|SAAI Factory – Malta Edition||2022-05-12 00:00:00||2022-06-29 00:00:00||Space A, Atrium and Atrium Approach||CREATIVE TEAM |
ARTIST AND CURATOR
ARTISTS AI Wondergirls: Sneha Bahl, Rosana de Oliveira Gomes, Tanjiha Mahmud, Erum Afzal, Sara EL-ATEIF
Creative Quantum AI: Hannah Reber, Michael Sträubig, Gert-Jan Akerboom, Grishma Prasad
Rico A. Beti
Itl. Summer Festival Hamburg 2021 Kampnagel
AUTONOM – Fonds Darstellende Künste
KAUST University Thuwal
India Week Hamburg 2021
The Goethe Institute’s Visual Arts Project Fund
Hamburg Ministry for Culture and Media
KI Biennale Essen 2022
Woods Art Institute Wentorf/Hamburg
Hertz Lab – ZKM Karlsruhe
Zayed University Dubai
The Goethe Institutes: Riyadh, Bangalore, Gulf Region, San Francisco, Hyderabad, Lagos, Mumbai
|Shifting Contexts II||2022-06-02 00:00:00||2022-07-03 00:00:00||Space C||CURATOR|
Text Catalogue (Ella Marie Fleri Soler & Andrew Darmanin)
Giulia Elena Xuereb
|MCAST ICA Festival||2022-07-07 00:00:00||2022-07-31 00:00:00||Space A, Space C, Space B, Atrium, Atrium Approach, Meditation area & Main Staircase||MCAST’s Institute for the Creative Arts|
In Between – Matthew Schembri & Thomas Scerri exhibition
|2022-08-05 00:00:00||2022-09-11 00:00:00||Space C|