When an artist decides to hold an exhibition, it is usually because he has something new to show. Something which is different from his previous works – a completely new artistic take on a subject or an angle which would not have been explored before. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with the many exhibitions that take place in Malta. Certainly, in this instance there is something new, and I dare say innovative, in the way Patrick Galea presents his new oeuvre of paintings.

Galea is known for his semi-abstract, or abstracted landscapes of Malta. He has interpreted various parts of Malta’s landscape and seascapes with his vivid multicoloured palette. In this series of paintings, Patrick has decided to concentrate on one dominant colour for each of his paintings.

<em>Field Terraces</em>Field Terraces

He dedicates his attention to one particular facet of Maltese cultural heritage, be it the limestone cutting quarry with its eye-bruising sunlit brightness, the purple lent period solemnity, or the camouflaged blue lampuka. And in doing so presents a whole spectrum on quasi-monochromatic paintings with the flavours, sounds and smells of Malta.

The 10 paintings that Galea shows are accompanied by an underlying research about the subject matter being depicted. I love the fact that Patrick has not only painted Malta’s culture and tradition, but has taken the trouble to associate the subject matter with either poems, particular books, quoting from Malta’s first known poem by Caxaro, excerpts from Pope Francis’s speeches, mythology, and also part of a European member of parliament’s question to the Commission.


I am sure that the public will find this association interesting and enlightening, which may be found in the colourful catalogue accompanying the exhibition.

When I asked Patrick why he has decided to concentrate on one particular colour he answered that he wanted to show the colours of Malta, and if you try to show all of them together at once you will lose the focus. “What I have tried to do was to eliminate most of the colours and just focus on the dominant one depending on what I wanted to highlight. This is my vision of chromatic Malta. The topics for this series, are not intended to be construed as nostalgic, although these are intricately woven in our heritage, the colour identity is often overlooked, and taken for granted in our digital lives.”

In this series of paintings, Patrick has decided to concentrate on one dominant colour for each of his paintings

He continued: “The pigments chosen reflect part of our cultural identity as do the excerpts related to each painting. Overall, the colours here, act as visual markers that embody the essence of a nation, reflecting its history, values, and aspirations, and serving as potent tools for expressing and reinforcing national identity. There is so much colour in our surroundings that unless you do so you can ignore the most prevailing one.”


To highlight the contrasts with his previous works, Galea concurrently presents a small selection of paintings from his previous oeuvre with the semi-abstract landscapes.

This is no contradiction, but simply a matter of showing a progression from his past vision to one intended, which I hope will be explored further in perhaps more monochromatic works in the future. Certainly, the new works show potential for this direction, although Patrick may find it difficult to restrict his love to produce multicoloured paintings.

Let us hope he will control such an urge, as I believe this current series of works in Chroma are worth the development we are seeing in his art.

Blue Clay

Blue Clay



This exhibition is being held  until June 26 and is being generously hosted at Bizzilla Art Space, a new venue at the head office of Mapre MSV Life in Floriana, in keeping with their tradition of supporting the arts and artists in the countries where they operate. 

Lawrence Pavia is the curator of Patrick Galea’s Chroma.


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