Press Release by the Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government: Launch of the 4th edition of the MICAS International Art Weekend with the unveiling of ‘The Palm Goddess for Malta’

Saturday 15th October 2022

The Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Owen Bonnici, launched the 4th edition of the MICAS International Art Weekend with the unveiling of ‘The Palm Goddess for Malta’, a work of art by internationally acclaimed artist Michele Oka Doner.

During his inaugural speech, Minister Bonnici described events such as the MICAS International Art Weekend as a testament to Malta’s international aspirations and commitment to looking towards the future. He stated that the government is committed to investing in the creation of a high-profile artistic programme of events that strengthens the Maltese cultural calendar and products for the cultural tourist. He added that the government is equally committed to investing in new cultural infrastructures such as the Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS), its Sculpture Garden and terraces.

“This is a significant investment for the country that is being realised through European Regional Development Funds and state funding,” stated Dr Bonnici. He also noted that the installation of ‘The Palm Goddess for Malta’ against the backdrop of Renzo Piano’s contemporary interpretations of Valletta’s open-air theatre, city gate and Parliament building, is a celebration of artists’ ability to innovate, be creative, and think anew.

MICAS Chairperson Phyllis Muscat stated that the hard work towards establishing MICAS as a dynamic international platform for contemporary art is bearing fruit as MICAS keeps growing and developing its international art programme and its community and education strand. “We are stepping up the effort to make contemporary art accessible to wider audiences while expanding our network and collaboration with international peer institutions,” said Muscat.

Michele Oka Doner, an internationally renowned artist whose career spans six decades, explained that her sculpture embodies human aspiration and the desire to be lifted and moved forward by creative expression. She noted that the sculpture also draws inspiration from the monumental leaves of Phoenix dactylifera, a palm that inhabits the Maltese archipelago.

‘The Palm Goddess for Malta’ will remain accessible for the public to visit and enjoy at Pjazza Teatru Rjal. The work will eventually be relocated to the MICAS Galleries once this project is completed.

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