A long-awaited retrospective exhibition and art sale of the works of the late Joseph Bellia (1932-1999) is being hosted by Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) at the Italian Cultural Institute, Valletta, from today to December 12.

An illustrated talk entitled ‘Joseph Bellia in the Context of 20th Century Art’ will also be held at the institute on Thursday at 6.30pm.

The Farsons Foundation art lecture will be delivered by history of art lecturer, researcher and curator Christian Attard, and hosted by the FAA.

The exhibition, entitled Joseph Bellia: Painting his Own Brand of Authenticity, promises a treat for art lovers who wish to finally own a work by the artist.

Once described by the late art critic Emmanuel Fiorentino as “one of the most consistent exponents of Maltese landscapes”, Bellia also left behind many female nudes as well as still-lifes. He was skilled in portraiture and also experimented with the abstract idiom.

Painting mainly in acrylics, though also in oils and watercolours, Bellia’s palette gives life and a sense of vibrancy to his subjects, using his colour expressively, making it the main component of his work.

Like the impressionists whom he admired, Bellia’s landscapes are executed in bold free strokes which celebrate the natural glory of colour intensified by Maltese sunlight.

Bellia’s subjects shift with the seasons as well as the time of day, capturing the fleeting effect of the moment with a few bold colours and broad brushstrokes. He transforms his farmhouses into cubic volumes of golden light and employs cool shadows to define his forms.

Art critic Dominic Cutajar wrote that: “Joe Bellia builds up his scenes of rural Malta with bold strokes and thick impasto making each stone and the vegetation palpable realities.”

Bellia exploits the full intensity of colour and uses this to create an emotional response from the viewer.

Attendance to the lecture is against payment. To book a seat, visit https://ticketengine.faa.org.mt/. The exhibition is open until December 12 from 9.30am to 1pm and 2.30 to 5pm. Both events are being held at the Italian Cultural Institute, St George’s Square, Valletta.