Mariam De Giorgio’s first solo exhibition sees her exhibit paintings that were created in the last two years. Executed in acrylic paint, this collection of paintings features her distinctive painting style, one that is calligraphic and very much remi­niscent of her illustration work.

Even though this is De Giorgio’s first major exhibition, she is certainly not new to the local art scene. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the MCAST Institute of Art and Design, she has since exhibited her work locally and overseas, having also participated in several group shows such as Malta Design Week. She has also illustrated children’s books and is a member of the Malta Community of Illustrators.

A reading nookA reading nook

This exhibition contains compositions with figures, landscapes, still lifes, as well as flower pieces. In this collection, De Giorgio highlights all that, in her mind, makes Mediterranean life on the Maltese islands so worth living. However, it is a more intimate take. This exhibition is about what is most dear to De Giorgio: her family and their home. Her own home and family, in fact, do feature in several of her paintings. A landscape painting, for instance, will feature her husband and children, while a still life will be inspired by what is being prepared for the family’s supper.

Twenty-three paintings are being showcased in this exhibition at The Phoenicia Malta’s Palm Court Lounge. They are executed with thickly applied paint and bold outlines, the result of a confident artist at work. The paintings have charm and are laden with colour contrast in the palette and shadow effects.

Lampuki moqliLampuki moqli

They are collectively titled Lampuki Moqli, Maltese for ‘fried dorado’, after one of the exhibits that portrays a still life with fish, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and such, that is freshly executed, bright, and with shadows that are sharply cast onto the table and back wall.

A play of shadows is the protagonist of several other paintings the portray De Giorgio’s home, such as A reading nook. This painting features a girl –one of De Giorgio’s twin daughters – reading in a well-lit closed Maltese balcony set against an array of plants, with her feet resting on some other books. The bright light entering the balcony casts shadows onto the background with a playful effect emerging especially through the network of shadows cast by the plants’ leaves.

Nanna's bouquet no. 1Nanna's bouquet no. 1

Two flower pieces also feature in this exhibition, set against a black background. Titled Nanna’s bouquet 1 and 2, these paintings are notable for their freshness of execution.

This exhibition adequately showcases the life of this young mum of five who still manages to find peace and serenity despite there often being chaos around her, finding time to capture in her mind’s eye the table ready set for lunch, wine and food at the ready, which would later become a main feature of her compositions.

De Giorgio leads a very full life from which she captures fleeting moments that she encounters in her everyday life

The paintings evoke a sense of tranquility and they also very much reflect her own reality. The paintings are, in fact, very much a reflection of a joyful family life in the home, but a family that also explores the Maltese countryside, seaside, and Valletta.

They also portray different seasons, even warmer and hotter days. Some of her paintings certainly make us yearn for summer now that the winter has very much kicked in. Her landscapes possess a certain charm and are executed with more expressive, loose brushwork.

Dusk at XlendiDusk at Xlendi

Such thick strokes are visible in Dusk at Xlendi that also features colour contrasts as ducks play in the foreground, and Golden Sands in July adequately portraying the activity taking place on land and out at sea. And, on taking a closer look at the paintings, one notices that the texture of the canvas is often allowed to add to the texture of the compositions, contributing to the paintings’ tactile quality.

However, her forte lies in portraying interiors and still lifes. De Giorgio is able to provide all the necessary detail without compromising that sense of calm. And this is the case whether the paintings are small or large. De Giorgio clearly dedi­cates ample time and energy to her paintings.

Day of reposeDay of repose

As for her main sources of inspiration, De Giorgio can be struck by anything and everything. It can be the simple things, like steam rising from a freshly brewed cup of coffee, a daily table setting, children’s games, children’s poses, and even their tantrums. Wherever she is, De Giorgio still finds the world, her world, fascinating, and would want to capture it in her compositions.

Travelling is another source of inspiration for the artist, fondly reminiscing the impact that Valencia’s cathedral had on her, as well as the landscape of Tuscany and busyness of the city of Paris. Other artists and their paintings also played a role in moulding her artistic identity, such as El Greco’s brushstrokes, Jessie Willcox Smith’s portrayal of children, Marc Chagall, and Henri Matisse.

Nann' EvelynNann' Evelyn

Far from leading an idle lifestyle, De Giorgio clearly leads a very full life from which she captures moments, fleeting moments that she encounters in her everyday life, one that she invites us to indulge in.

It is my pleasure to be this exhibition’s curator for I believe that Mariam De Giorgio is certainly one local artist to watch, and she has so much more to offer, as is visible in her collage work, that I hope will be the subject of a future exhibition.

Mariam de Giorgio’s exhibition, curated by Charlene Vella, is open until January 31 at the Palm Court Lounge, The Phoenicia Malta.

A little stroll in VallettaA little stroll in Valletta


Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us