Everybody has something to hide... a secret or possibly a quirky side to a person’s character can be masked and disguised in a variety of ways and through multiple layers of complexity.

This was the inspiration for 365: An installation featuring 365 masks, each symbolising a day of the year. This show is Charlene Calleja’s (better known as Xaxa) first solo exhibition, which will be launched tonight.

This installation is the first of its kind in Malta and is being hosted by Heritage Malta at the Maritime Museum, Vittoriosa Waterfront. The opening of the show will coincide with BirguFest 2010 which will be held this weekend. BirguFest is a yearly celebration that draws hundreds of visitors and The Malta Maritime Museum has proven to be a popular venue with more than 1,000 visitors during BirguFest 2008.

For this show, Xaxa wanted to create a project which reflected her thought processes over the past 12 months. Thus, each of the 365 masks is a personal interpretation, representation and manifestation of a feeling which has been suppressed or repressed, and has consequently taken form in this collection of masks.

The installation will highlight the cumulative effect or the build-up of wearing a mask on a daily basis.

The masks are a representation of the myriad of personae which people adopt in order to fit within the requirements and constraints of society and ultimately with their own existence. Just as we choose different sets of clothes to wear every morning, we likewise “perform” various acts to face and function within society.

In portraying the masks, Xaxa seeks to bring this background activity to the fore and use it as a means of liberating these repressed requirements posited by society.

The artist felt that wearing a mask is highly representative of today’s society and has almost become a necessity. The objective of this installation is to expose this world of false and enhanced images.

Xaxa is new to the Maltese art scene and has been studying academic drawing and painting for the past four years with Jason Lu. She can be contacted on xaxaart@gmail.com or www.xaxacalleja.com.

• The exhibition runs until October 22. Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; October 10-22: 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

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