Press Release by the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government: MICAS kicks off summer with a celebration for contemporary artists and their works

Friday 21st June 2019

On the evening of 21st June, Castille Square will be lit up with visual projections over the façade of St James Cavalier to celebrate the work of modernist and contemporary meaning-makers in Maltese art. This will be one of the events kicking off MICAS’s Summer Celebration launched today by the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici.    

“Through this event, MICAS is already fulfilling its mission, as it emphasises the importance and valorisation of contemporary art and validates Maltese artists and their work, through the celebration of artists as innovative creators. As a government, we believe in making culture and the arts more accessible, and in fact one of the objectives is that through MICAS, we create a wider public awareness on the meaning of visual art within contemporary life,” said Minister Bonnici.   

“Hence, this celebration aims to attract the public’s attention regarding contemporary art’s current state-of-play, from a Maltese perspective. It also aims to instil more awareness on the importance of documenting works of practicing contemporary artists,” he continued.  

Curated by Katya Micallef and Georgina Portelli, the work JUMPSTART: An Incomplete Timeline is a projection that uses a visual comparative methodology to present various art events that have relevance to the development of contemporary art in Malta, juxtaposed with significant national and international events. Essentially the work focuses on the art Maltese artists were creating in different decades starting from when the world was in the grip of the Cold War, the Space Race, and Malta was gearing up for independence, becoming a republic, on to the more recent milestones such as when we  joined the European Union. The timeline also engages with the present context when technology and social media dominate contemporary life,” Dr Portelli explained. 

Dr Portelli added that following its concept launch last October, as part of its development strategy, MICAS has now embarked on an outreach programme that engages with its partners and stakeholders in the cultural sector and with the wider  community- the Summer Celebration being an example of such outreach. 

JUMPSTART: An Incomplete Timeline ties in with the theme of the summer celebration which revolves around the importance of documenting contemporary art in Malta and the artists that make it.  

For this purpose, and in line with its educational remit, MICAS has invited Edith Devaney, contemporary curator and Head of the Summer Exhibition at the acclaimed Royal Academy of Arts, London, to share her own experience in this field also on 21st June at the MUZA Courtyard. Ms Devaney’s presentation will highlight the importance of documenting artists and their work and how this practice provides an essential aide to the work of art historians, archivists, and curators working today.   

Speaking at the launch, Valletta Cultural Agency CEO Catherine Tabone said that “the Valletta Cultural Agency collaborates closely with Public Cultural Organisations so that they together create and carry out quality creative projects within the city. Through initiatives of this kind, culture in Valletta becomes even more varied and accessible to all.  This collaboration will give an opportunity to artists, historians, curators, students, and members of the community to discover more about contemporary art in our country and our capital city.  There are various other events created between the Agency and Public Cultural Organisations taking place in the coming months.” 

The MICAS Summer Celebration is being organized in collaboration with the Valletta Cultural Agency and supported by Heritage Malta and Spazju Kreattiv. JUMPSTART: An Incomplete Timeline will also be projected on Fort Saint Angelo between the 21st June and 19th July.

Photo credit: DOI – Clodagh Farrugia O’Neill