After many years of neglect, an architectural gem in Rabat is being restored and transformed into a cultural hub.

Villa Luginsland, founded by Baron Maximilian Tucher von Simmelsdorf, is a 19th-century residential palace and Grade I historic property that once hosted such luminaries as Queen Victoria and Wilhelm II.

Designed by local architect Francesco Zammit, the building is adorned with a captivating façade, lavishly embellished interiors and distinctive architectural characteristics. The interior stands out with polychrome paintings by late 19th-century and early 20th-century Maltese artist Giuseppe Calì.

Now rebranded as ‘LuginsLand of Art’, the villa aspires to evolve into a hub for exhibitions, discourse and diverse artistic events, fostering international artistic exchange and open dialogue across the dimensions of the past, present and future.

It is poised to open its door to the public in March as one of its preview events before the construction is completed in the coming years.

Polish philanthropist, businesswoman and art collector Omenaa Mensah, posing in front of the villa. Photo: Kurt ParisPolish philanthropist, businesswoman and art collector Omenaa Mensah, posing in front of the villa. Photo: Kurt Paris

The inaugural exhibition, Space & Time, curated by renowned Slovakian set designer and architect  Boris Kudlička, will showcase the works of renowned Maltese and Polish artists and encompass both site-specific installations, which have been created in line with the curatorial concept and the historic reference of the site, as well as a curated selection of works from pre-existing series by the artists.

The visual narrative establishes an intriguing dialogue between neo-Renaissance architecture and contemporary art, aiming to create an intersection between the past and present through intercultural exchange.

The participating artists are Mario Abela, Victor Agius, Matthew Attard, Norbert Attard, John Paul Azzopardi, Austin Camilleri, Monika Falkus, Antoine Farrugia, Maurycy Gomulicki, Nicolas Grospierre, Michał Jackowski, Ida Karkoszka, Lia Kimura, Marcin Maciejowski, Karol Palczak, Janek Simon, Nikola Vudrag, Xawery Wolski, and Jakub Julian Ziółkowski.

Alongside the exhibition, LuginsLand of Art is also organising an educational programme to be launched in March, which will extend until May. The programme encompasses discussion panels and workshops, each delving into various facets of art and its relationships, including architecture, archaeology, community, and artistic legacy.

These panels will feature distinguished Maltese and international artists, art historians and art professionals who will bring their perspectives on historical, social and anthropological issues to the fore.

The programme aims to foster an environment for discussion and offers an opportunity to explore the villa’s ongoing construction, restoration and preservation efforts.

LuginsLand of Art is supported by OmenaArt Foundation, founded by Omenaa Mensah, a Polish philanthropist, businesswoman and art collector. Mensah leads worldwide projects and initiatives in the realms of design, architecture and art, and takes on ambitious endeavours aimed at conserving and rejuvenating historical sites. She is also devoted to emphasising the importance of social responsibility within cultural realms.

Her foundation is engaged in philanthropic activity, such as the coordination of the charity auction Top Charity, a prestigious philanthropic event in Europe that promotes the best Polish and international artists.

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