Many feel that our country is changing at an unprecedented rate. Some would even say that it has become unrecognisable. Valletta Contemporary’s Dr Joanna Delia writes about the growing appreciation for contemporary art in Malta.
Why now? What is behind this new movement? These new ways of thinking in the local art scene?
Contemporary art tells us that it is time to start questioning things—to rethink our priorities, not just as individuals but as a community. We do not only need to think laterally, but three dimensionally and with multiple senses. META foundation opened its Valletta Contemporary galleries on East Street, Valletta, in April. Three of the exhibitions held since then—Electromorphologies, Parallel Existences, and That Golden Stain of Time—all dealt with the concept of the passage of time.
Electromorphologies is a look-back at some of the most renowned pioneering videos in the media art world, showcasing works by artists such as Mona Hatoum and Bill Viola. Parallel Existences, an exhibition of contemporary fine art photography by Alex Attard, is a magnificent homage to old documents from the 600-year-old collection at Malta’s Notarial Archives. The work deals with art’s role in archiving precious objects that may have lost their original function and become unrestorable. These objects are shown to still retain their importance by being transformed into artworks.
Dan Hudson’s video show, That Golden Stain of Time, tackles the eternal presence of the life-giving sun. Many perceive the sun as an instrument that marks the passage of time, as if the sun were designed and constructed for this purpose—as a timepiece that serves us. Such attitudes ignore the obvious fact that the sun predates us and will maybe out-live us. The work thus questions human attitudes of entitlement and the importance we attribute to ourselves. Ultimately, it pushes us to ask whether we may have sacrificed our heritage for the gods of economic success and the short-lived pleasures of innovation.
Contemporary art invites people to interact with the here and now through media as diverse as the world and our societies. It presents myriad of views. The exhibits at Valletta Contemporary change every month, and artists from all disciplines and backgrounds are chosen to participate. Run by a foundation whose only aim is to provide the space and opportunity for people to experience all that contemporary art has to offer, Valletta Contemporary also promises to become a patron of new ideas, of the thought-germinating, concept-shaking world that is contemporary art. Times are changing and we are all on board for the ride.
Valletta Contemporary will be hosting a fundraising initiative showcasing some of the best art by Maltese and Malta-based artists and launching its first catalogue with these works. For more information visit: www.vallettacontemporary.com.