Press Release: The MICAS Education Conference – Contemporary Art in Urban Public Spaces

Monday 19th September 2022

The Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS) organised its first educational conference as part of the MICAS Education and Community Programming Strand (MEC) entitled Contemporary Art in Urban Public Spaces. This is the first of a series of conferences envisaged by MICAS and delivered through its education committee, intended to spur the discussion of contemporary art.

This well-attended conference sought to initiate with the wider community a discussion on the role of contemporary art in urban spaces. MICAS has consistently strived since its concept launch in 2018, to raise the bar and create opportunities for bringing to the public’s attention the relevance and role of contemporary art in society.

The conference was addressed by Prof Richard Noble, who delivered the keynote presentation about contemporary art commissioned for public spaces, with particular reference to the work of Cristina Iglesias, whose work, Sea Cave (Entrance), was commissioned by MICAS last year and can be viewed by the public at Hastings Garden in Valletta. Prof Noble’s presentation was followed by a keynote paper delivered by Prof Jean Paul DeLucca, who discussed philosophical aspects related to public spaces and public art. He highlighted the democratising action and value of public art. A panel discussion ensued, moderated by Prof Noble, with panelists Joe Magro Conti, former Superintendent of Cultural Heritage; Marco Sammicheli, curator at the Triennale Milano and Director of the Museo Del Design Italiano; Caesar Attard, an established Maltese artist; and Dr Georgina Portelli, MICAS Board member and chair of the MICAS Education Committee.

Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and the Local Government, Dr Owen Bonnici, who closed off the conference, noted that Government actively recognises the value of art and culture in promoting dialogue and wellbeing as well as strengthening local identity. He stated that Government is motivated to realise Malta’s international aspirations to be innovative with high-profile contemporary public art development such as that intended for the MICAS Sculpture Garden. “MICAS has significantly enhanced Malta’s visibility on the international contemporary art scene through a dedicated programme that is steadily attracting the attention of the international art world” he concluded.

In comments following the event, MICAS Chairperson Phyllis Muscat noted that, as a startup, MICAS has to date embarked on education and community pilot projects to initiate conversations with school communities, artist communities as well as the wider public. “MICAS will work to ensure more people from diverse communities participate in an inclusive conversation about contemporary art. In this way, MICAS is inviting a wide audience to become proactive and integral participants in the build-up to the opening of the MICAS Galleries,” said Muscat.

The MICAS Contemporary Art in Urban Public Spaces was held at the Malta Chamber in Valletta and was supported by the Malta Tourism Authority, Heritage Malta and Iniala Habour House.

Photo Credit: Darren Agius

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