A parachute fragment, prayer by a private soldier and votive offering of a traditional Maltese boat in a storm are among the 200 objects that will form part of the Malta Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
The 300-square metre display will be Malta's first national pavilion within the Biennale's main exhibition section in 17 years.
With the world-famous international exhibition due to open in less than a month, preparations are well underway to ensure the Malta Pavilion is ready to present works by Maltese contemporary artists to an international audience.
Contemporary artworks by 13 leading local artists will also feature as part of the Malta Pavilion, with curators hoping the display will "open up a discussion on who we are – or perhaps who we think we are – as Maltese people," according to Arts Council Malta executive chair Albert Marshall.
Curators Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek have drawn on Maltese art from the past and present, juxtaposing historic items with contemporary ones. This overview will include works by artists based in Malta, works by artists from the Maltese diaspora (chosen from submissions following an Open Call), folk artefacts, works from private and national collections, other artefacts and images that come from different sources, like journalism, national and private collections and popular culture.
In the coming weeks, thearts objects forming part of the Malta Pavilion will start being shipped to Venice. Artists contributing to the pavillion include Joe Sacco, Karine Rougier, Roxman Gatt, Teresa Sciberras, Darren Tanti, Aaron Bezzina, David Pisani, Pia Borg, Austin Camilleri, John Paul Azzopardi, Gilbert Calleja, Adrian Abela, and the late satirical cartoonist Maurice Tanti Burlo (known as Nalizpelra).
The Venice Biennale is arguably one of the biggest gatherings of contemporary artworks in the world, attracting more than half a million visitors last year as well as 8,000 accredited journalists.
The Malta Pavilion is being commissioned by Arts Council Malta, in collaboration with MUŻA under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government. It will also form part of the Cultural programme of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017 and is one of 70 actions implemented as part of Arts Council Malta's five-year Strategy2020.
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