A collection of 17 quirky oil paintings has been fascinating visitors to Spazju Kreattiv since the exhibition Julinu’s Radioactive Ravioli opened last month.

These pop, surrealist works in black and white mark the first solo exhibition of illustrator, fine artist and graphic designer Julian Mallia (aka Julinu). 

Mr Mallia is fascinated by the notion of exploring ideas and combines his characteristically witty outlook with traditional fine art techniques to express his innermost thoughts. 

The result is alternative visual interpretations of familiar notions.

Playing on both words and visuals, works on display include Space Ship, which depicts a luzzu − a perhaps cliché symbol of national identity according to Mr Mallia − and Error 404: Azure Window Not Found, which is a cheeky tribute to the fallen Azure Window in Gozo.

A moody atmosphere per­meates the exhibition, which is interlaced with dry humour and social commentary.

Exhibition interlaced with dry humour and social commentary

“There’s definitely an element of dead-pan humour in the exhibition,” Mr Mallia said in a recent interview. 

“But Error 404, for instance, is also a poignant reminder of loss and the void it can leave behind. At first you may laugh, but the implied narrative can be a bit more sobering.”

According to curators Justine Balzan Demajo and Francois Zammit, each painting serves as a catalyst for an interesting dialogue that everyone can relate to.

You Were Always On My Mind, Qalb ta’ qalbi, Arani Issa ­– Take a Look at Me Now, Space Ship and Came SutraYou Were Always On My Mind, Qalb ta’ qalbi, Arani Issa ­– Take a Look at Me Now, Space Ship and Came Sutra

“A discussion of art normally revolves around questions of what art, or beauty, is,” Mr Zammit said. 

“I believe that, in the wake of Valletta 2018, we need to rethink the manner in which we debate art and the role of art in society. 

“This corpus of work provides a social commentary on social and political themes, making it a perfect example of what satire should be.”  

Similarly, Ms Balzan Demajo commented: “The play on words throughout the exhibition is very thought-provoking and relatable, as it touches upon current themes of technology and relationships in a way that is satirical of our modern society.” 

Julinu’s Radioactive Ravioli is being exhibited at Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta, until Sunday. Entrance is free. More information on Mr Mallia’s work may be found online at www.julinu.com.

Julian Mallia speaking at the opening of his exhibition, Julinu’s Radioactive Ravioli.Julian Mallia speaking at the opening of his exhibition, Julinu’s Radioactive Ravioli.

Curator Justine Balzan Demajo: ‘The play on words is very thought-provoking’.Curator Justine Balzan Demajo: ‘The play on words is very thought-provoking’.

Error 404: Azure Window Not FoundError 404: Azure Window Not Found

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