Valletta 2018’s major contemporary arts exhibition, Dal-Baħar Madwarha (The Island is What the Sea Surrounds), will be open to the public free of charge on Sunday 27th May. This is the final chance to view the collective exhibition at St Elmo Examination Centre, before it closes its doors on the same day.

22 established and emerging artists, both Maltese and international, are collaborating with the curator of this project, Maren Richter, to showcase their work, which relates to both the concept of Maltese ‘islandness’, as well as contemporary social realities such as migration, traffic and real estate development. The exhibition is spread over three locations in Valletta; the underground cisterns opposite the Law Courts, the Old Fisheries House (Pixkerija) and St Elmo Examination Centre. These will all be open to the public for free on Sunday, 27th May.

Artists whose work is exhibited at St Elmo Examination Centre include Heba Y Amin (Egypt), Hela Ammar (Tunisia), Bettina Hutschek (Germany/Malta), Raphael Vella (Malta), Gilbert Calleja (Malta), Fernando Sanchez Castillo (Malta), Lida Abdul (Afghanistan), Adrian Paci (Albania), Wael Shawky (Egypt/America), Antoine Cassar (Malta), Aaron Bezzina (Malta), Center for Political Beauty (Germany) and Embassy for the Displaced, Scan Lab, and Stevanos (International), Kristina Borg (Malta), transparadiso (Austria), Fleeting Territories (Austria/Sweden), Tania El Khoury (Lebanon) and Manaf Halbouni (Germany/Syria). Artistic works include sculptural installations, sound and video installations as well as drawings.

Visitors have the opportunity to explore the capital city’s hidden underground by visiting the underground cisterns opposite the Law Courts. These magnificent cisterns host a site-specific sound installation by Turner Prize winner, Susan Philipsz; Who By Fire. Philipsz’s sound installation refers to a damaged naval bell at the National War Museum in Fort St. Elmo that has been salvaged from a battleship. This battered bell remains a reminder of the impact and force of air raids. Philipsz’s work addresses memories and loss of local cultures over time.

The exhibition at the Pixkerija is directly connected to the fabric of the building of the Pixkerija itself. Ibrahim Mahama’s large scale intervention – A Straight Line Through the Carcass of History – is a physical line made of meshes, with the intention of highlighting the working history of the old fish market, its uncertain future and the Mediterranean Sea as a symbol of trading between Africa and Europe.

These interventions invite people from all walks of life to engage with the fabric of the city, and to provoke thoughts of living in a limited space surrounded by the unlimited sea.

The group exhibition at St Elmo Examination Centre closes on Sunday 27th May, while the underground cisterns and the Pixkerija remain open till the 1st of July. For further information visit


Valletta 2018 Premium Partners: Coca Cola, Bavaria and Bank of Valletta