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A Look at Contemporary Arts in Malta
A Look at Contemporary Arts in Malta
Over the last few decades, Malta has undergone a series of radical cultural changes, with new avenues of expression opening up as the country continues to develop economically and socially. No area of cultural expression is perhaps as representative of this as the field of contemporary arts, an area of intellectual exploration that may be viewed as a barometer for a society’s engagement with new ideas and expanding social norms.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that in parallel with Malta’s rapidly diversifying economy, has come a new focus and thirst for contemporary expression — perhaps reflecting an unconscious need to more accurately reflect what it means to be an artist and a citizen in modern day Malta.
From music to visual arts, dance and architecture, Malta’s cultural landscape has welcomed many new contemporary art forms and artists in recent years, and, crucially, invested considerably in this burgeoning field.
As such, we thought that now, at the start of 2022, it would be a good time to explore this in more detail, and help those of you interested in the contemporary arts to more easily connect with this exciting movement.
Spazju Kreattiv (St James Cavalier)
Long seen as the home for contemporary arts in Malta, Valletta’s Spazju Kreattiv (“Creative Space”), housed in the city’s St James Cavalier, is known for its bold and engaging contemporary art installations and exhibitions, as well as regular movie screenings and other events. Benefitting from a major restoration project in the 1990s and early 2000 led by the internationally renowned architect, Richard England, modern-day Spazju Kreattiv expertly marries historical architecture and cutting-edge technology to create a bold, yet invitingly familiar environment perfect for hosting new and innovative artistic endeavors. Current events include the Carnival Costumes Exhibition (ending 6th March), an exhibition entitled The Ordinary Lives of Women (ending 13th March), an art installation from contemporary composer Ruben Zahra (LA PIETÀ, ending 17th April), as well as numerous thought-provoking feature length films. (For full details of events taking place at Spazju Kreattiv, visit their website).
Established in 2014, Malta’s national dance company is known locally and internationally for its innovative and diverse artistic output, providing a leading voice for Malta’s dance community and raising the profile of Maltese contemporary performing arts around the world. Led by its Artistic Director, Paolo Mangiola, ŻfinMalta has rapidly carved out a respected place in Malta’s contemporary arts scene, staging numerous and varied bold new productions, and collaborating with other respected organisations and artists across the globe. The company’s newest upcoming production Intimate Żfin (26th to 27th March), comprises a series of choreographic miniatures created by Mangiola, and features well-known Maltese singer and musician, Alexandra Alden.
One of Malta’s newer arts spaces, Valletta Contemporary (VC) first opened its doors to the public in April 2018 following an extensive regeneration project to convert the 400-year-old former warehouse to the independent art gallery and exhibition space seen today. VC provides a vital platform to showcase the work of prominent local and international contemporary artists, as well as providing engaging educational and outreach programmes. Its latest exhibition, The Feather Collector (5th March to 16th April) by Wioletta Kulewska and curated by Anna Stec, reflects on the complex relationship between human civilization and the natural world, and the influence of the wild on human consciousness, mythology and archetypal symbolism.
Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS)
Scheduled to open this year, this ambitious project represents Malta’s newest contemporary arts venture, and, once completed, will be hosted in Floriana’s Balzunetta district — made possible via the repurposing of the area’s Ospizio and Ritirata sites. Set to feature stunning new architectural design and a firm commitment to expanding Malta’s presence on the international landscape, this upcoming contemporary institute promises to provide important and exciting opportunities for leading Maltese and international artists. To keep up to date with the MICAS’ development, visit the official website.