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Contemporary art across Malta is becoming more popular with exhibitions popping up across the island. Showcasing work in different mediums, village craft fairs, alongside galleries, are a great place to see emerging artists at work. From the sublime to the more unusual, here’s just a sample of the contemporary art world Malta has to offer.
Joseph Agius works in the paediatric ward of Malta’s main hospital, Mater Dei, as a senior registered nurse. After studying ceramics in 1990 at the School of Art and Craft in Mosta, Agius has spent the following years honing his skills in creating art, namely, combining ceramics with rusted recycled sheet metal. His biggest piece adorns the walls of the hospital in which he works, entitled Ethnic Groups, made of three ceramic plaques mounted on wooden planks that have decorated the walls since 2009. Describing his work as ‘neo-social realism movements’, Joseph says the intention of his work is ‘making people think’.
Sue Misfud gained a First-Class BA (Hons) degree in design and ceramics from Glasgow School of Art. Self-employed in Malta as a ceramic artist and designer, Misfud mixes her own glazes in preference to buying ones already prepared. All her ceramic pieces are personally designed and individually created, making each piece that much more unique. As well as having private clients, work also includes pre-commissioned functional ceramic ware.
Initially a graphic designer, Matt Stroud found his true passion in illustration and animation. Today, Stroud’s work is featured in a number of children’s books, educational materials, commercials and short films, to name a few. Working alongside the National Literacy Agency, Stroud has animated popular Maltese nursery rhymes to help educate pre-school children. With his new website launched this year, it’s the perfect place to see Stroud’s varied work, including GIFs, heartwarming illustrations and animations, along with his blogs.
Working predominantly with watercolors, Joseph Casapinta is inspired by everyday sights around Malta. A little different than the paintings of fishing boats or baroque-style buildings, Casapinta focuses on daily Maltese scenes, including the often-eliminated street signs, road posts and telegraph wires in his art. With a popular collection of classic car watercolours under his belt, his work can be seen at The Dancing Brushes Gallery and Studio in Malta’s Hilton and as part of a collaboration at the Art Cove in the Cavalieri Hotel.
Kelsey May Connor takes her inspiration from portraying on paper her childhood, her take on the meaning of life and her role in the world as she sees it. Working in pencil predominantly, Connor is open to using other mediums depending on the piece she is creating. Sharing her passion with youngsters, Connor teaches children and teenagers art and holds classes at her co-owned Business Art Centre, AKartistry.
After graduating at Leeds University, Ġulja Holland now concentrates full-time on both paintings and mixed media artwork. Her abstract work derives from fields she has been part of such as fashion and photgraphy. Her metaphorical and figurative work uses bold colours, seeking to expose and express fragile realities while shattering ‘formal associations’.
Rebecca Bonaci, co-owner of Oddity Tattoo Shop, is gaining a rapid social media following, not just for her tattoo artwork but also for her artistic talent in customising bike helmets. After gaining a degree in Fine Arts from MCAST Art and Design Institute in Malta, she went on to launch her tattooing career at the tender age of 23. After then starting customising helmets at her boyfriend’s garage and promoting on Tumblr, Bonaci went on to then team up with Jeffrey Portelli and, promoting their work together, they now receive orders from all over the world.
Jenny Caruana paints for joy. With paintings in her collection including those of Maltese Temples and landscapes, her talent also rests in painting at speed from something happening in front of her. With dance and movement and music paintings, she manages to skillfully combine a number of factors, giving an overall feel of not just the subject matter but also capturing ambience at the same time.
After studying in London, Selina Scerri settled in Malta, her true home, in 2010. Her work is said to ‘evoke a dream-like freedom’. Portraying positivity, love and freedom, her paintings emphasise both adventure and femininity in a celebration of being human enhanced by her world of enchantment.
Painting in watercolours, acrylics, pastels and oils, Audrey Mercieca’s work is imaginative. Her mood determines the medium she will use. Mercieca’s paintings are described as both calming and tranquil. Also being able to work in clay, Audrey’s portfolio also includes sacred art, the human figure, wildlife and sculpture.