At its core, the event is a celebration and showcase of this vital, integral role Light plays in Japanese culture. By presenting it to a Maltese audience, it can also serve to highlight certain similar or contrasting aspects of our local experiences with it.

What results is a weekend aiming to bring together two distant island nations in a spectacle of sights for all to enjoy. It features several foreign and local artists spanning across various formats and media, adding up to an exciting and interactive experience for all to enjoy. In this contemporary Japanese themed exhibition, light and dark take centre stage as the main stars of the show. Within the old walls of Dar Qalb ta’ Ġesù in Santa Venera, the darkened spaces of this festival of art will act as the perfect canvas for the bright and dazzling works that will be on show.

The varied styles of GROUNDRIDDIM’s artists Aoi Yamaguchi, Yang02, Akiko Nakayama and HOUXO QUE, as well as local talent I+A and Jean-Luc Portelli will comprise the eclectic mix of exhibited installations. In addition, live performances and workshops organized by Nobuaki Tomita and Rakugo Without Borders will be taking place over the two days of the event, providing no shortage of things to see and do.

Island Lights is perfect for anyone who is interested in Japanese culture, technology, or contemporary and modern art.

Island Lights was curated in collaboration with GROUNDRIDDIM.

Performances & Workshops

Mister Nobuaki Tomita – Kimono Workshop

The Embassy of Japan invites the Maltese public to the Lecture and demonstration by Mr. Nobuaki Tomita, Kimono stylist and designer. In this interactive workshop, he is delighted to show you his artworks, illustrating how to wear the most precious masterpieces woven with the finest materials. He will also teach the basics of Japanese traditional clothes from their formalities and meanings, to their integration in contemporary life.

Rakugo Without Borders / Master Sentatsu – Rakugo Performance

Master Sentatsu brings the art of Rakugo to the Maltese shores as part of Island Lights. Come and see this minimalist, traditional style of storytelling for yourself, and be entertained by the talents of a Rakugo master armed with the barest of essentials. A paper fan, a piece of cloth, and the master’s skills are all that’s needed for a memorable experience for all.

Rakugo Without Borders / Wakako Kaku – Poetry Workshop

Explore the possibilities of language in a workshop with the renowned Japanese poet and lyricist Wakako Kaku, author of the title song to Ghibli’s “Spirited away”. Come and experience firsthand how a simple combination of words changes dramatically in the hands of your fellow workshop participants.

The workshop will be conducted in Japanese and English. Knowledge of Japanese is not required. Participants aged 8 and up welcome.


Akiko Nakayama – Alive Painting (curated by GROUNDRIDDIM)

Akiko’s unique performances will be represented as part of the show by her surrogate; a machine that creates living, volatile artworks. These works exist for the briefest of moments before changing into something new; constant evolution from one form to another. Always shifting, always changing, always beautiful.

Aoi Yamaguchi – Japanese Calligraphy (curated by GROUNDRIDDIM)

Aoi Yamaguchi is a master of Japanese Calligraphy, Shōdō in Japanese, which takes the simple act of writing and elevates it into a unique and striking art form. Inspired by the natural contrast of light and dark, she explores the concept of “陰翳” (IN-EI), or shadows, through her installation and live painting performance at Island Lights. Her performance invites viewers to experience the interplay between light and darkness; how Aoi brings forth her poetry from the page into three-dimensional space.

Yang02 – A device for “Graffiti” (curated by GROUNDRIDDIM)

A Robot for Graffiti. Yang02’s creation creates chaotic, abstract displays whichever way it pleases. Layering paint over and over with its equipped spraycan, this exhibit is in constant flux; changing from one moment to the next in striking but unpredictable ways.


QUE presents us with a series of familiar devices, but where the relationship has been reversed. What is usually looked into, now looks outwards instead; observing its surroundings and processing what it finds. What little we can see is obscured by the bright and striking paintstrokes plastered all over the touchscreen by unseen fingertips.

I+A (Interaction and Architecture) – Paraventu

Modern life is interconnected to the point of ubiquity, with privacy at times traded for convenience, security, or a plethora of other reasons. Paraventu is an interactive light installation that explores the significance of privacy in the form of subverting what would otherwise be associated with the idea of privacy.

Jean-Luc Portelli – Fire.Works

Malta and Japan are known to have some of the greatest fireworks shows in the world, but do you think you could do better? Fire.Works is an interactive, digital art installation where you can participate in and create your very own fireworks display. Come and celebrate with us!

Programme Schedule

Friday 2nd

7PM: Live Painting Show: Aoi Yamaguchi

8PM: Rakugo Show: Master Sentatsu

Saturday 3rd

5PM: Poetry Workshop: Wakako Kaku

7PM: Kimono Workshop: Mr. Tomita


Venue Dar Qalb Ta’ Ġesù, Santa Venera

Dates 2nd and 3rd November 2018

Free entrance