2017 marks the official return of a Malta Pavilion to the Venice Biennale for the first time in 17 years. To celebrate this occasion and create an unparalleled experience, the two curators – Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek – have drawn on Maltese art from the past and present, juxtaposing historic items with contemporary.
The curators have selected artists of Maltese origin or based in Malta for their conceptual exhibition: Homo Melitensis: An incomplete inventory in 19 chapters.
By bringing together a collective of artists who work across a variety of mediums, they will present a playful, poetic compilation of unique artefacts that interpret and define the imaginative spirit of the Maltese identity: language, politics, history, myths, religion and gender.
The artists included in the show offer a diverse array of styles, mediums and topics, with contributions from: Joe Sacco, Karine Rougier, Roxman Gatt, Teresa Sciberras, Darren Tanti, Aaron Bezzina, David Pisani, Pia Borg, Austin Camilleri, John Paul Azzopardi, Gilbert Calleja, Adrian Abela, and the late satirical cartoonist Maurice Tanti Burlò (known as Nalizpelra).
Aaron Bezzina addresses religious symbolism via the media of bronze and wood.
The country’s presence at the prestigious international art exhibition in Venice marks the start of a major international programme of cultural activity by Malta, whose capital city, Valletta, will be the European Capital of Culture 2018.
Participation in this year’s Venice Biennale also takes place concurrently with the Maltese presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017.