Valletta Contemporary hosted the launch of the photography book by Duška Malešević, Postcards from Paradise, published by Selektedmalta, Malta 2018. The book has an introduction by Joanna Delia and Charlie Cauchi is in conversation with the artist.

Postcards from Paradise is a result of a long-term photography project that has followed Duška’s life in Malta since her first arrival back in the 1990s.

It portrays and documents some of the last remnants of authentic Malta and captures the quiet time capsule and a way of life seemingly untouched by IKEA.

Shot over 10 years, this body of work was first launched at the Malta Design Week in 2014. Since then it appeared in many group and solo exhibitions in Malta and abroad and finally in 2016 in a book that received an Honourable Mention in the Self-Published/Documentary category of the International Photography Awards. The book sold out straight away.

It is finally back, in its second extended edition, and this time with texts by Konrad Buhagiar, Joanna Delia, Chris Briffa, Rick Jordan, Joe Gamp, Nikki Petroni, Lavinia Collodel, Holly Knowles and Valentina Diakonale.

Duška’s photographs reveal an ‘unofficial’ Malta

Duška’s photographs reveal an ‘unofficial’ Malta – the story of the islands and its mutations, where time was indefinable and events unfolded at a slower pace.

The images are candid and sincere – there is no abstraction or mystery: it is a stratification of customs, some long preserved, others irretrievably lost. In this project, Duška looked beyond Malta’s postcard exterior and documented the more intimate, surreal side of life on the island where space and time undergo peculiar transformations, exploring the Maltese complex identity that has a mix of North African, southern Italian, Mediterranean and British influences.

Duška has not captured any aspect of the ‘picturesque’; she isn’t on the beach, floating in the water or sipping coffee in the piazza. Instead, she is hidden around the corner, perched on the rooftops, on the threshold of a door left ajar – this is her paradise. She contemplates the norm with an open and receptive spirit; with the eye of an outsider who has lived intimately among the relics and symbols of this unique and contradictory island, she underlines transience, she documents the dilettantism as it slips away and, in so doing, questions the destiny of this ancient archipelago as it moves into the future.

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