The China Cultural Centre in Malta (CCC), annually sends a group of Maltese artists to China, to get a first-hand experience of the cultural, artistic and social milieu and transform this experience of feeling, sentiment and emotion into a tangible creative expression through painting, sculpture and photography. 

In turn the artists can then share the experience with Maltese and foreign visitors to the exhibition. 

The exhibition tours several venues in Malta and Gozo to facilitate and increase exposure. Debbie Bonello, Andrew Borg, Damian Ebejer and Lucienne Spiteri are the participants in the 2018/2019 project, the sixth in the series.

Bonello’s work is characterised by what she terms as ‘loose brushstrokes’, which in reality are forceful, energetic, vigorous and dynamic strokes that convey a joie de vivre. The source of her expressionistic tendencies is probably Impressionism. Her landscapes convey a sense of space, of location, mood and atmosphere and demonstrate her love for en plein-air painting: studies of sky, clouds, vast stretches of water and open spaces. 

Borg shows an earnest endeavour to inject emotion in his creative compositions and to break away from his technical competence. In reality he fuses both. His oil paintings are executed en plein-air or in the studio. Location does not seem that important but he is interested in conveying a detail or part to transform reality into an impression and the impression into an abstract concept that at times reaches surreal proportions. He uses the traditional painting technique to produce contemporary concepts. The brush strokes are expressionistic and vigorous in contrast to large spaces or ‘larghezza’ in soft films of paint applied thinly but evenly. He loves texture, shapes and exploiting space. 

The exhibition tours several venues

Ebejer’s work is essentially abstract in concept. As he himself declares, he is interested in both its physical and spiritual forms. Being an introvert, his art is generally about the world inside him. His abstract expressionism is at times implicit and on other occasions explicit. In China, he acted differently, painting the visual reality he captured with his naked eye. Yet the mind’s eye is ever so pronounced. His minimalism, a geometric abstraction, can be seen in Linear Space at Lou Young Bridge. His works convey mood and an atmosphere of feelings, sentiments and emotions that recall and record that he was physically present.

 Spiteri, meanwhile, focuses mainly on working women though she hardly ignores their counterpart: men. Perhaps her most intimate, expressive and vital images are of female musicians playing on vernacular stringed instruments dressed in rich, iridescent satin or silk. The expressive quality of her works is highly emotional. She captures their concentration and total involvement. 

Her work is mainly inspired by tobacco and tea workers toiling in the fields, by fishermen fishing with nets and women on their way to catch fish, but focuses on character. 

Inspired by China, which runs at the Exhibition Hall of the Gozo Ministry until March 21, is open on weekdays from 8.30am to 4pm.

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