Artist Matthew Attard has unveiled a work based on Malta's armada of ancient ship graffitti at the Maltese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. 

His exhibition, I Will Follow the Ship, displays large panels showcasing examples of the graffiti but also explores modern AI and digital technology.

One of the features is an eye-tracking device was used to create the graffiti.  

Attard, 36, is representing the youngest team in Maltese history at the 60th Venice Biennale. 

At the launch on Wednesday, he said it was a great honour and responsibility to also be entrusted with the first solo Malta pavilion.

At the launch, Arts Council Malta’s Executive Chair Albert Marshall said Attard's perseverance and determination to succeed, his passion for the arts, and his extraordinary talent led him to Venice.

The Venice Biennale is often described as the ‘Olympics of the Art World’. During the month-long event, the world’s best curators, artists, and critics converge in Venice to see the best the art world has to offer.

Installation at the Arsenale Photo: Eoin GrealleyInstallation at the Arsenale Photo: Eoin Grealley

This year’s pavilion is once again located in the Arsenale and is a multi-layered installation that overlaps the physical with the virtual.

The artwork is inspired by the graffitti of ships that has been deliberately etched into stone walls across Malta, with examples dating back to prehistory. But the tradition continued throughout history and those carved near temples and churches are considered to be ex-voto offerings.

It tackles authorship, perception, digitalisation, and the hybridisation of humans and machines.

Elyse Tonna and Sara Dolfi Agostini are the project's co-curators, and Maria Galea and Galleria Michela Rizzo oversee its management. Vincenzo Casali is the consulting architect, and Joey Borg handles the project’s programming and software development.

Left to right. Matthew Attard, Sara Dolfi Agostin, Ellyse Tonna, Owen Bonnici and Albert Marshall Photo:Eoin GrealleyLeft to right. Matthew Attard, Sara Dolfi Agostin, Ellyse Tonna, Owen Bonnici and Albert Marshall Photo:Eoin Grealley

Tonna, 33, is the first female Maltese curator of the Maltese Pavilion.

She saw her first Biennale as a student in 2010 and said it was her "dream" to represent her home country.

Arts Council Malta is the commissioner of the Malta Pavilion at the international exhibition. It is open to the public from Saturday, April 20, until November 24.

At the launch, Culture Minister Owen Bonnici thanked Arts Council Malta for its crucial work in promoting local artists, both locally and abroad.

The pavilion is being led by the international team at Arts Council Malta, headed by Romina Delia and supported by Frank Psaila and Celine Portelli.

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