One of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries, Malta is a melting pot of cultural histories, ranging from Roman to Norman to French and British. Since independence in 1974, Malta has become an interesting destination for art lovers, not only because of its ancient architecture, but also its shy yet up-and-coming contemporary art scene. We take a look at its 10 best art galleries and museums.
Both a contemporary art space and a working studio, Studio 104 is a relatively fresh hub of creativity, opened in Valletta in 2013. Exhibited works vary from contemporary art to audio visuals and installation pieces. The studio gallery also houses a working 1970s Malta Drydocks manufactured Printing Press, now used for educational workshops. Notable exhibitions include A Sense of Place, which displayed the expressionist works of the gallery’s owner and curator Michelle Morrissey. Another feature was a graduate exhibition from MCAST entitled Disclosure, which gave a fresh view on up-and-coming contemporary art in Malta through a variety of media such as drawing, photography and sculpture.
Studio 104, St. Lucia’s Street, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta, +356 2728 0028
Lily Agius Gallery
Previously known by the name Exposed Art by Lily Agius, Lily Agius Gallery marries the best of Maltese art with internationally renowned talent. Leaving her career in media, Lily Agius opened her gallery in Sliema in 2011 and has since become firmly rooted in Malta’s contemporary art sphere. The gallery’s long and spacious interior creates an inviting environment for visitors and a seamless flow through the contemporary exhibitions and solo artist shows. Previously acclaimed shows include performance and film artist Jimmy Grima and photographers Ritty Tacsum and Elisa Von Brockdorff. Lily Agius Gallery also hosts community-centred events, including yoga evenings where relaxation and art combine.
Lily Agius Gallery, Cathedral Mansions, 54 Cathedral Street, Sliema, Malta. +356 9929 2488
Palazzo de la Salle
This is the venue of the Malta Society of Arts, one of the oldest arts societies, which was given the Palazzo de la Salle as its seat in 1923. The space is renowned for its astylar façade, extensive bare walls and distinctive circular entrance. Luckily, the MSA offers up the exhibition and music halls at the Palazzo for public cultural events. Over the years, exhibitions hosted in this impressive space have included both solo and themed shows, as well as the National Exhibition of Student Art 2014.
Palazzo de La Salle, 219 Republic Str, Valletta, Malta, +356 21244339
Another recent gallery addition to Malta’s contemporary art scene is SO Galerie. The gallery’s mission is to bring the very best of international art to Malta and to feature a broad spectrum of techniques, media and styles. The gallery boasts an extraordinary range of original artworks sourced from the artists themselves. There is also a full cultural calendar of events, which are hugely popular. The space itself is neutral and spacious, creating a haven of calm that heightens the aura of the works on display. A number of artists are featured in the gallery, including art photographer David Pisani, and sculptor and painter Liliana Fleri Soler. With charity art auctions and workshops, there is plenty to attract any art lover to SO Galerie.
SO Galerie, Triq Dun Karm, L-Iklin, Malta, +356 99424020
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