A budding artist who is holding her first exhibition at the age of 18 feels the Maltese people need to look deeper to find the meaning of art and not just look at things at face value.
Priscilla Ainhoa Griscti, a history of art student who is exhibiting her works at Le Meridien Phoenicia, in Floriana, said she was spending a lot of time speaking to people who go to see her works as she is interested to know what people really feel about them.
The exhibition, entitled Hidden Illusions, depicts surrealist images in pen and ink and watercolours.
The artist, who says she is influenced to a great extent by Salvadore Dalí, feels that works about one's imagination are more "fun" to draw. She accepts commissions as well as portraits.
"Many artists plan out a painting and often know what the end result is going to look like, which is good. I can do that too but very often I prefer to start with a clean sheet and draw without knowing what the end result would look like.
"Sometimes I am inspired by something I see. In one of my paintings there is an old man's face, with the wings of a butterfly superimposed on it and the head of a bird of prey on the other side. The wrinkles had reminded me of the intricate pattern on a butterfly's wings and the bird of prey's head shares the man's eye.
"I love animals and like to include them as we humans have many common features with them," she said.
At her age, one expects to see some rebellion, ups and downs. "My art shows my emotions but I tend to see more beauty in sadness as the emotions are stronger. It is strange that a person who is not at all pessimistic should say this and I usually draw or paint when I am on a high," she said.
"I am very open to criticism and I do not expect everyone to agree with me. But I am disposed to discuss. That is why I hang around the exhibition, to talk to people," she says.
Asked what would her reaction be if she did not manage to sell a single painting, she replied: "It would set me thinking but I would not lose heart. I am studying art at the university and I love art for art's sake," she said.
"I know it will not be easy. The comments some people wrote in the visitors' book are most encouraging. Only one was negative so far and another felt they were good but sad. But I want to know what people honestly think about my art." The exhibition remains open until December 27.
The artist may be contacted at Ainhoa Art, P.O. Box 60, Valletta or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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