Maleth / Haven / Port – Heterotopias of Evocation is the title of the selected curatorial project that will represent Malta at the next Biennale di Venezia in 2019. This is the fourth time Malta will participate at ‘La Biennale di Venezia’ following its participation in 2017 with an exhibition entitled, “Homo Melitensis: An incomplete inventory in 19 chapters,” in 1999 by means of a National Pavilion and in 1958 by means of a special exhibition of Maltese Artists.

outland Malta Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2019

Maleth – at the centre of its theme, the project focuses on the role of the island as cultural centre of the Mediterranean Sea, both in history and in current times. The project invites the audience to reflect on their own lifetime journey of self-discovery, their own search
for a personal Haven / Port. Drawing on the tri-fold of history / archaeology, myth / tradition and vision / expectation, the exhibit aims to create within the space of the Malta National Pavilion a topos / locus of artistic conversation for the whole of the Mediterranean Sea.

The winning team is composed of Dr. Hesperia Iliadou Suppiej (lead curator), Vince Briffa (artist), Klitsa Antoniou (artist), Trevor Borg (artist) and Matthew Joseph Casha (architect / designer).

The Malta Pavilion student outreach workshops is a collaboration between the Arts Council Malta and Bank of Valletta. It seeks to offer a platform through which contemporary artistic practices are understood within the broadest sense of the term can be exposed, contextualised and presented to an international audience.

The four outreach workshops to be held both in Malta and abroad focus on four different aspects of the Malta Pavilion 2019 project. The three artist and curator have come up with
a different workshop each reflecting their respective approach to this year project.

Cave of Darkness – Port of No Return, An Educational Workshop for Primary School Students by Trevor Borg will be held at Ghar Dalam and is specifically aimed at primary school students. Students will visit the cave and they will listen to a story by a professional animator related to the history of the cave. The story shall present factual information and it is intended to familiarise the students with the cave and the vast findings emerging from it. Students will then proceed to the dedicated educational area inside the museum and they will be briefed about the Biennale and about Trevor Borg’s work. The students will be encouraged to develop further stories and to re-imagine the history of the place: What would they like to see in the cave; The various animals that could have inhabited Malta at the time; The lifestyle of the people throughout the ages; The objects they made for themselves and to decorate their dwellings etc.

Malta Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2019Students will be encouraged to create objects with clay. A professional ceramist will show them how to work with clay and introduce them to a few basic skills. There will be teachers to help them out and to encourage them to think in a creative way. The idea is to add further layers of meaning to the already rich history of the cave and the valley. The starting point will be the cave itself; however, the intended overall outcome is to fabricate different histories that could be juxtaposed with each other to generate a more colourful story pertaining to such important historic site.

Being Calypso – Being Ulysses is a series of workshop for sixth form students by Vince Briffa focusing on OUTLAND, the film installation by Vince Briffa for the 58th edition of the Venice Art Biennale and its relevance to (teenage) manifestation of obsessive love and desire as a starting point for discussion. The workshops will follow an introspective methodology as a process of art-making.

Introspection (in Psychology) is both an informal reflection process and a formal experimental approach, but either process can be undertaken by anyone with curiosity and determination (Cherry, 2016). Similarly, in art making, the interweaving of experimentation and the process of reflection in order to inform and renegotiate the same process, form the very basis of reflective practice.

Students attending the workshops will be directed to adopt a self-reflexive and introspective method by looking inward instead of outward, and addressing an issue or concern of a personal nature relating to their own character or that of a loved one or close friend. Students will be encouraged to use Drawing as an introspective tool in the first phase of the project in order to create works that sit in between the visual and the verbal, between art and thinking. Further work inspired by the initial drawings will be developed using students’ media of choice.

Bridges of Atlantropa is Workshop Organized by Klitsa Antoniou for First Year Art Students of the Fine Arts Department of the Cyprus University of Technology. Atlantropa was a gigantic engineering and colonization idea devised by the German architect Herman Sorgel in the 1920s. His project proposed to partially drain the Mediterranean forming a European supercontinent. Today, more than ever, the Atlantropa scheme (of forming land bridges in the Mediterranean) seems relevant as it is suddenly fortified by contemporary intensity to remind us of the limits on freedom (migrants and refugees) and the destiny of the inhabitants of this area (surviving amid military, political, economic, social complexities /
contrasts, migrations and fluid topographies of rejected, forgotten, unseen and silent memories). Klitsa Antoniou’s project Atlantropa-X in the context of the Malta Pavilion
at the Venice Biennale, will aim to conceptually and artistically join the two islands of the Mediterranean, Malta and Cyprus, by offering glimpses on the utopian drives and the dystopian fallouts that characterize the Mediterranean area.

Malta Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2019

Following an introduction on Atlantropa scheme and its intentions, First Year Art Students of the Fine Arts Department of the Cyprus University of Technology will be given the hypothesis that they have to build a bridge / land crossing on the sea. They will first conduct a research using drawings and small constructions with various materials. The final project can be of any material but will have two limitations: Length should be 100 cm to 200cm, and the construction should float on water. Besides the learning outcomes of sculpture building the aim of the workshop is to guide students to reflect on the limitations of movement imposed on refugees and migrants.

Stories of Beyond – Exploring Maleth in Venice is a creative workshop for young children by curator Hesperia Iliadou which will be held at the Querini Stampalia Museum Children Space, House Gardens, Arzana Boat Museum, in Venice, throughout the duration of the Art Biennale 2019. The workshops will focus on Maleth / Haven / Port – Heterotopias of Evocation and the curatorial narrative of the Malta Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale of 2019. Their aim will be to introduce younger children to the Maltese Pavilion and the notion of what a Biennale Pavilion might be. The young children will be lead in discovering the different stories hidden within the narrative of the Malta Pavilion but also explore fairy tales that refer to life-journeys and may have inspired the curator in the creation of the Pavilion. At the same time as the workshops will be held in different spaces of interest in Venice that are usually not open to the public, the children will be lead from discovering the Maltese Pavilion into different discovery journeys in the city where the workshops will take place; from grand museum spaces, to little private museum collection spaces and the private gardens in the city, opening on purpose to welcome the Maltese Pavilion and the young
workshop participants.

Using a pool of researched stories, traditional legends and fairy tales coming from Malta, Cyprus and Italy, the young children will participate in a series of creative storytelling workshops, where the stories will be read out loud in small groups, acted by the children (dress-up and costume play) and performed (using traditional Venetian puppets).

In the same way, the children will be invited to draw or construct images inspired by these stories engaging their imagination and evolving their creative skills using different mediums and processes; colour, paper cutting and folding, model making.

A participatory and engaging pedagogic method of involving young children in learning using creative methods as theatre play and art creation will be applied. The workshops will
be based on the Kolb model of experiential learning in museums and galleries, which involves the notions of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation.

The Malta Pavilion is commissioned by Arts Council Malta, under the auspices of Malta’s Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government.

© 2019 – VIDA Magazine