Allura invites art lovers to the Wignacourt Museum for its inaugural exhibition, Allura Art – The Big Show, opening this Friday. The arts organisation has described the event as a “celebration recognising the calibre and diversity of contemporary fine art in Malta”, in which 12 of the country’s best-loved painters will be featured.

When the Allura Art collection was established, mid-pandemic in December 2020, a public launch event was out of the question. Instead, it was announced online, and the champagne was put on ice.

The majority of the work on display at The Big Show has been produced during the pandemic, which the organisation describes as an extraordinary period and clearly a very pro­ductive one for artists. Some of the work is abstract and some figurative, with a variety of genres and subject matter.

Jo Dounis with her painting ‘Cliffs at Dusk’Jo Dounis with her painting ‘Cliffs at Dusk’

The exhibition is the culmination of Allura’s broader Open Art Studios Programme and represents the first opportunity for the artists involved to come together as a collective and show off their recent creations.

The Open Studios Programme also includes a series of behind-the-scenes video episodes filmed this summer, in which three of the show’s artists created new paintings from scratch. The series followed Maltese artists Christopher Saliba, Mark Schembri and Debbie Bonello.

During the exhibition, the episodes of these three artists will be screened alongside the three new paintings they produced for the series, which will be displayed publicly for the first time.

Natasha Dadush with her painting ‘Waiting for the Season’Natasha Dadush with her painting ‘Waiting for the Season’

“We’ve waited a long time for this show, and we knew it had to be really special,” explains the show’s curator Laura Swale. “Obviously the venue had to be perfect. The Wignacourt Museum is elegant and historic; it really spoke to us. We couldn’t be prouder of the artists we’re working with.

“Each individual artist’s work stands out in and of itself, so it will be quite something to see their artwork displayed together as a whole.

“It will also be quite an experience for visitors to stand in front of the paintings from the Artist Secrets series while simultaneously watching them being created on screen.”

The other artists featured in The Big Show are Maltese painters Jo Dounis, Andrew Borg, Rosette Bonello and Christine Porter Lofaro, British-Maltese artist Andrew Smith, Bulgarians Vania Goshe and Bogdan Dyulgerov, Dagmara Zaczeniuk from Poland and the most recent addition to the group, Russian artist Natasha Dadush.

The Allura Art gallery, which showcases some of the leading contemporary artists practising in Malta and Gozo, includes both emerging and established fine artists. “It’s our mission to identify local talent and spotlight art that’s worth seeing,” says Swale.

Rosette Bonello and a selection of her informal artworks.Rosette Bonello and a selection of her informal artworks.

“We select artists based on the quality and consistency of their portfolio and their commitment to their own creative growth. In my opinion, these are the collectable artists of the future. With such exceptional pieces to choose from, The Big Show has been a joy to put together. If you visit, I hope you’ll be just as impressed.”

Members of the public are invited to join Allura and its artists at this Friday’s opening event for an evening of art, culture, drinks, nibbles and live music.

A selection of the original pieces that will be on display.

Andrew Smith

Christopher Saliba

Original artwork by Christine Porter Lofaro

Vania Goshe

Allura Art – The Big Opening will take place on Friday, November 19, from 7.30-10.30pm. Entry is free of charge but with prior registration. Capacity is limited according to COVID-19 regulations and vaccination certificates will be required. For information and registration details, visit www.allura-art.com. Allura Art – The Big Show will run until December 9. Wignacourt Museum opens 9.30am-5pm daily.

The exhibition is part of The Allura Open Art Studios Programme, supported by Arts Council Malta through the Programme Support Scheme. The Open Art Studios Programme is also supported by the Melita Foundation, Attard and Co and The Sovereign Art Foundation.

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