Between Sea and Land

“Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and the land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night?

Tell me of runes to grave
That hold the bursting wave
Or bastions to design
For longer date than mine”

Building upon A.E. Housman’s (1859-1936) poem Between Sea and Land this virtual exhibition takes inspiration from our relationship with the sea and the fluid boundaries that are created, changed and re-made in the shifting sands in the area between the sea and land. This liminal place is known as the littoral zone, and is an area of shoreline that is a space where the daily movement of the tides leave physical traces that are made and re-made in a constant cycle of change, of ebb and flow. It is a place of transition and transformation, of covering and uncovering, where the sea and land meet and merge in ever changing boundaries.

This exhibition investigates and pulls at the meaning of those physical boundaries, but also at the psychological; explorations of water and the meaning of the built environment alongside a deconstruction of identity and what being an ‘islander’ means in the 21st century. We are asked to consider language, what it signifies, how our identities are shaped both unconsciously and consciously, through family and cultural ‘signifiers’, and also to reflect upon the fluidity and shifting natures of national and individual identities; identities that are multiple and continuously re-assessed and re-negotiated. Traditional notions of identity are pushed at and questioned, in order to play with and explore the ways in which identity is constructed and performed.

The sea has been a significant inspiration for visual artists throughout history, its vastness, beauty and unpredictability a source of fascination for centuries. In the 21st century, it has become a political cipher, as human crossings in ‘small boats’ have become a divisive and polarising motif in contemporary politics. The sea was often used as a symbol of life’s journeys, with ships and boats a metaphor used to represent the human experience of navigating life’s challenges and explorations of the unknown. Now, in contemporary society, images of ships and boats, crossings and journeys, have heightened meaning; asking us to delve into and question shared histories, our collective and personal stories. Questioning where we have been, and where we intend to go.

Curator, Jo Baring

Between Sea and Land is a virtual exhibition which exclusively features the work of contemporary Maltese artists Caesar AttardMatthew AttardAaron BezzinaRuth BiancoVince BriffaAustin CamilleriCharlie CauchiPatrick FenechNorbert Francis AttardRomeo Roxman GattAnton GrechDavid PisaniPierre PortelliTeresa SciberrasRaphael Vella.

Between Sea and Land is presented on MICAS VIRTUAL, a virtual rendering of the MICAS internal gallery spaces that will be hosting exhibitions to allow for the virtual interrogation of the spaces, establish a platform that will cater for the new technologies and above all showcase art. This interactive virtual platform also familiarises artists, curators and the general public with the indoor gallery spaces. It is MICAS’ intention to launch this virtual gallery site in advance of the building’s opening, both to showcase the forthcoming spaces and more importantly to provide an insight into MICAS’ future ambition and the role that Maltese contemporary art will play in it. The platform is being developed in conjunction with VORTIC ART.

21 August, 2023


© Malta International Contemporary Art Space 2024

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