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Artist secrets: the allura open art studios programme

Every wondered how they do it? Well, today’s your lucky day. Allura, an award-winning arts organisation that specialises in showcasing creative talent, is inviting the public to meet some of Malta’s most exciting contemporary painters, listen to their stories and discover their creative secrets.

The brand new series gives viewers a rare and exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the creative process of leading local artists and reveals the inspirations, ideas and techniques that shape their striking work. Intrigued yet?

Host Laura Swale will be joining prominent local artists in their studios, as well as at beautiful locations all over the islands, as they capture distinctive and beloved national landmarks and scenes. Every episode will start with a blank canvas and will follow the making of a new and previously unseen piece of original art, as it’s brought to life.

The series will be launched on Facebook on Sunday, the 26th of September at 8pm and the team will be available online for comments and questions. Here’s a link to Allura’s Facebook page.

Christopher Saliba

The audience

Relatively unexplored in Malta, Allura’s ‘open studio’ format offers creative inspiration and a fresh new way to enjoy art. While it will no doubt engage Malta’s vast community of artists, aspiring artists and art-lovers, it is hoped that the emphasis on process over finished work may also resonate with a more mainstream audience.

The artists involved are known by reputation for their distinctive landscapes and townscapes. Since filming takes place at the locations the artists go on to paint, the series will also appeal to anyone with an interest in Maltese scenery, history and architecture.

The content

Debbie Bonello

Besides being of general interest, the programme delivers unique educational experiences which draw upon the strength of each artist. Informative and inspiring, the content is designed to entertain while imparting artistic knowledge and skills. With episodes dedicated to topics such as colour, composition, storytelling and artistic license, fellow artists and art students can learn from familiar faces, who have valuable experience to share. 

While their styles and approaches differ, the series is unified by the artists’ subject-matter of choice – Malta. The on-site conversations explore their motivations and their journeys so far, as well as their personal techniques and use of media, from oil to acrylic to watercolour and beyond.

The artists

Mark Schembri

In this series and with the broader Allura Art collection, Allura works to identify the collectible artists of the future, while promoting and sharing the work of these reputable local painters, in all its character and diversity.

The series follows three of the artists featured in the Allura Art online gallery, with a further special episode which spotlights a gifted local art student who recently won the prestigious Sovereign Student Global Art Prize. 

The three visual artists from Allura are Gozitan expressionist Christopher Saliba, the versatile and inimitable Mark Schembri, and passionate plein-air painter Debbie Bonello, fresh from her recent sell-out solo show.

Paraskovia Podorvana

For details, including their biographies and a selection of works, please visit: 

Debbie Bonello- check out their work here.

Chris Saliba: check out their work here.

Mark Schembri: check out their work here.

The fourth artist featured is local art student and winner of the Sovereign Student Global Art Prize: Paraskovia Podorvana. This exceptionally talented young woman has just completed her A Levels at Junior College and is working towards a career as a professional illustrator. Check out their work here.

The Allura Open Art Studios Programme is supported by the Arts Council Malta, through the Programme Support Scheme. Check them out here.