Ethereal, by Pamela BaldacchinoEthereal, by Pamela Baldacchino

“It has been a long ambition of mine to collaborate with local artists and to put up such an exhibition. There are undercurrents flowing through these different works. One notes a coming to terms with one’s state of being, be it a growing awareness of the self in a state of flux or an acceptance of the act of remembering and grieving. The work displayed in this event is a reflection of profound aspects of human existence.”

This is how curator Joe Philippe Abela starts describing the concept behind Tumbleweed, a collective exhibition by emerging artists, Pamela Baldacchino, Mark Lughermo, Robert Zahra and Andrea Zerafa.

With a focus on how artists reflect upon certain facets of life, the work exhibited reflects how artists in Malta come to terms with the existential conundrums of life. The, sometimes dark ,imagery mixed with unique styles and different media creates imagery that can be full of anxiety, full of pain and loss – or full of hope and joy, depending on where you are standing.“Art flows over time, oscillating around ideas of who we are and who we want to be. It is a creative struggle to be, to know and to understand.

This exhibition especially shows a yearning to overcome difficulties, an effort to answer or accept inexplicable mysteries, mysteries that can be envisioned through simple metaphors.

This is why it is called Tumbleweed. For, like tumbleweed, art can be a metaphor that, in its figural simplicity, speaks attributes which reveal profound aspects,” explains Roderick Camilleri, from the Malta Society of Arts, which is hosting this exhibition.

“In popular readings of texts, tumbleweed is a cliché, representing inactivity or desolate situations, a resultant silence which succumbs to helplessness or passivity. In nature, however, tumbleweed has a different meaning and function. It is diaspores made of dead tissues of plants emerging out of arid contexts, detaching themselves from their roots to find a new environment, where they can prompt new possibilities of being.”

In creating this exhibition, the four artists worked with curator Joe Philippe over nine months, through workshops and with other artists, creating ideas and getting feedback. Tumbleweed is the result of those nine experimental months.

The curator helped the artists explore their darker corners, probing the boundaries and physical spaces that the artists have found themselves in

“This exhibition’s quality and character is the result of a long journey. Every time we met, we discovered new facets and adopted new insights. These insights are only the beginning of a chain of events that we are working on presently. We intend to convey and create a healthy dialogue between students and viewers from different walks of life so as to promote the public’s interaction with contemporary art whilst allowing their own thoughts and feelings to emerge,” he explained.

Edifice, by Andrea ZerafaEdifice, by Andrea Zerafa

The curator helped the artists explore their darker corners, probing the boundaries and physical spaces that the artists have found themselves in. However, the boundaries of physical space, mental space, and the unstable emotional space all differ, and create a new space that the artists tap into in their works.

Each artist tackles this exhibition in his or her own individual way. Robert’s paintings explore transitional spaces, or as he says, “floating structures, impossible landscapes and labyrinths that represent one’s interior spaces, more than the real spaces we live in everyday”.

Pamela’s portraits of death, on the other hand, focuses on the presence of loss, changing relationships in that void, and the cathartic method of moving on in the shadow of absence.

Mark Anthony’s work focuses on philosophical issues related to memory, loss, spirituality and existence. His work is a narrative constructed after life was over, a reworking of written moments into a context that was created only by the author’s death.

And, using architectonic drawings to express himself, Andrea explores the reality of physical structures and juxtaposes them with thoughts.

With the diversity on display, Tumbleweed proves to be a dark exploration in some of the more abstract areas of the artists physical, and not so physical, worlds.

Tumbleweed runs until Saturday at the Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta.

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