Between spring and summer 2018, curator Maren Richter brings Valletta 2018’s major visual arts exhibition to our European Capital of Culture, with large installations, performances and public interventions taking place in both traditional and unexpected locales across the country. Among the exhibition’s star sites is the Pixkerija at Barriera Wharf, a Grade 2 scheduled building that was built in the 1930’s.
Richter is working with more than twenty-five established and emerging artists from fifteen countries –including Malta, France, Austria, Egypt, Germany, Syria, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ghana, Spain, and Palestine – who are collaborating with local partners around the Islands.
The title Dal-Baħar Madwarha is inspired by a quote from the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze, ‘The island is what the sea surrounds’. This sets the tone for newly commissioned and existing pieces that explore the idea of “islandness” in playful and critical ways. It’s an artistic journey through the contemporary realities of the Maltese Islands, placing at their helm the Islands’ relationship with their closest neighbour – the Mediterranean Sea.
The exhibition re-traces borders, imagining new geographies that view the sea as fluid and transformable rather than another physical barrier between people, places and culture.
In Richter’s words: “The multi-site programme invites international and Maltese artists to recast and respond to current and past urgencies and challenges, in which the Mediterranean Sea plays a significant role […] The island is a mode of pausing, familiarised by a certain romanticism. Whereas the sea looms large in the language of our imaginations; it is a site of reflection, voyage, and volatile freedom.”
In the light of such thought-provoking inquiries, the exhibition explores the identity of our Islands within a wider global context, bringing creative, social and political visions of the Mediterranean to light through the region’s most iconic and enduring image: the deep blue sea.