Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008

So this is it, 2007 is nearly over. Another year has gone by. Although i am quite conscious that today is just another day and that nothing really changes from today to tomorrow (except the use of the euro), the fact that someone, years ago, has decided that tomorrow we start a new year gives you a reason to start afresh. Looking back at these last 12 months makes me realize that it was quite a hectic year and (un)fortunately i know that 2008 will be even worse.

For those of you who bother to read this blog, I wish you a Happy New Year, may 2008 be better than 2007.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Exhibition at Vee Gee Bee

Since my exhibition in Rome, scheduled for October 2008, is still a few months away and panic has not set in yet, i have decided to hold another exhibition here in Malta. On Saturday 12th April 2008, a collection of works in Ink will be displayed at the Vee Gee Bee Art Gallery in Valletta. I have never exhibited my works in Ink. I love the medium, it does not forgive mistakes, its even worse than watercolour. I am still working on the collection to be exhibited, this means that artistically this will be a very busy year.

Also at the moment, the painting Roots of A Village, on display at Vee Gee Bee has been replaced by 'It Might be There', shown here in the image on the right.

Featured Artist on ArtistRising.com

Recently, i have been notified that my artwork was selected for the upcoming rotation of Featured Artists on the home page of Artist Rising. The rotation changes weekly and my feature will be on the front page of ArtistRising.com during the first week of January 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Saw Something


I have always been a big fan of Depeche Mode. Yes, that band that in the early 80's released I Just Can't Get Enough - the one that where I Just can't get enough is sung a bizillion times. Their music today has gone a long way. I just love them. By default, i follow what the individual members of he band do, too. Lately, Dave Gahan, the lead singer, released a solo album titled Hourglass. One of the best pieces on the album is "Saw Something", a really brilliant piece. This piece of art, titled "I Saw Something" is dedicated to Dave Gahan, all of Depeche Mode and to the long hours they kept company during my youth and the hours I still spend listing to their music while painting.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mensija Street Commssion

As most artists, I rarely refuse a commission. But sometimes you end up doing a piece, a painting or an ink drawing that you know that it will be quite difficult to forget. Lately, someone from Canada contacted me to see if I am interested in drawing Mensija Street in St. Julians, his wife used to live there. I was interested in this commission from day one. The fact that his wife is a Maltese Canadian, who lived in Malta, particularly in St. Julians made me realise how small this world has become. I lived most of my childhood in St. Julians.When I went to Mensija Street to sketch the place and take some photos I started remembering when I was young going through that street. In one of the houses just in front of where Mcdonalds is today, we used to go to MUSEUM the Maltese Christian Doctrine School. I remember that quite often we used to go all the way up the street and then down to the valley where we used to play football. Eh, those were the times, where just an empty space was enough to be transformed into a football pitch. Today, even a football game has become too complicated. Thanks to Mark, i had a trip down memory lane.

AIS Corporate Gifts

These last few years the AIS Group of Companies have started giving as a Christmas present to their corporate clients a signed print of a painting by a local artist . Earlier this year, the Directors of the group, contacted me to see if I am interested in issuing a limited number of prints of one of my paintings. Since it was still early in the year and I was preparing for my C exhibition, we only chose the painting right before the exhibition i.e. last September. The painting, titled Dingli, has never been exhibited before and is now in a private collection. The 150 prints which are now signed, printed and numbered will be distributed to AIS' corporate clients in the coming days.

This is the fourth year that AIS have taken this initiative. It is quite encouraging to see Maltese companies promoting local talent. From here I would like to thank Odette and Mario for choosing my work for this year’s corporate gifts.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Paintings at Vee Gee Bee


These two paintings, Roots of a Village (left) and Tal-Mirakli (right) are currently being exhibited at a collective exhibition at Vee Gee Bee, Republic Street, Valletta. The other artists taking part in this exhibition are Winston Hassel, John Martin Borg, Ruth Schembri and Lawrence Buttigieg.

Anyone interested in seeing the works can visit the Vee Gee Bee Art Gallery during shop hours.For more information you can either contact Vee Gee Bee HERE or contact me HERE



Monday, November 26, 2007

The Budget - Grants & Investement

During his budget speech, PM Gonzi has announced a number of measures relating to the cultural sphere. Three measures have particularly caught my attention, namely
  1. the set up of a Film Fund with an initial grant of Lm100,000 (Euro 232,900)
  2. the set up of an Art Fund with an initial grant of Lm100,000 (Euro 232,900)
  3. 0.25 per cent of the expenditure in capital or infrastructural projects must be spent on works of art, infrastructure connected with the creative spheres or on other creative projects
These are definitely positive steps. The fact that we finally have (or will have soon) an Art Fund and a Film Fund will be a big help to Maltese artists. Up until today I could not find any information as to who will be administering these funds, how these funds will be used, how does one apply for them etc. but obviously it is still a bit early. The third point, if administered well, should have a big impact on the art scene in Malta. Just imagine if the same policy were applied to the building of Mater Dei, with a cost of €580 million that would translate into €1.4 million invested directly into the art scene. If I remember correctly a similar measure was introduced during the Great Depression (1920's USA) to sustain artists who were desperately in need of work. Lets hope it will have the same effects here in Malta.
This blog will be definitely following the issues.

Two Harbours - James Vella Clark

Two Harbours is the title e of the main paintings in this forthcoming exhibition. it represent the two selves – our personality as people around us se us and the personality within….the real ‘us’ that we choose to keep to ourselves…..James Vella Clark

Last week saw the opening of James’ latest exhibition titled Two Harbours. I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition during a preview, which gave me time and space to appreciate and mentally digest what I was seeing. I found the artworks quite impressive and the experience stimulating.

Vella Clark, born in 1975, is arguably one of Malta’s leading young painters. His work seeks to capture the essence of traditional Maltese architecture and the rural Mediterranean landscape through an expressionist yet very personal interpretation. Joy, passion, solitude and fear are as much the subject of his paintings as are the narrow streets, the traditional village skyline, rooftops and houses – so that what the scene looks like is still inseparable from what it evokes. James’ landscapes are fast gaining an abstract dimension and yet, the sky still plays an important role in capturing and conveying a whole spectrum of contrasting emotions and states of mind.

This is an exhibition worth visiting, definitely not to be missed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

of Royalties

With interest I have been following the WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike. I have been fascinated by the mega-bucks corporations’ argument that material posted on the net, on which the corporations make loads of money, is just promotional material. Thus no royalties are paid to the people who wrote it. What a load of BS. For those of you who would like to know more have a look at these videos: Tim Kazurinsky on WGN , the writers of The Office, ot the article “Why the Striking Writers Are Right” by Mark Harris.

So, what has this to do with artists in Malta? The whole issue revolves around royalties. Yes its money; that paper stuff that most artists lack. Are artists entitled to a share of what other people do with their creations? Music composers get a share from the sale of CDs; they even get paid royalties if their music is played on radios and TV etc. Writers (even the WGA) also get a share from the sales of their work, and if a story becomes successful and something else is done with it permission is needed. But what about painters, sculptors, graphic artists, photographers etc., are they entitled to royalties too? According to the EU, yes. We artists are entitled to a share of a resale of our work. Ie if a painting I sold 5 years ago is sold today, I am entitled to a percentage of that sale. This was established in Directive 2001/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 27th September, 2001 on the Resale Right for the Benefit of the Author of a Work of Art.
The reasoning behind the directive is the following - When someone sells a house (or anything else) he does not expect any share from profits made by the resale of the property say 20 years later. Shouldn’t it be the same for paintings? No. What really contributes to the increase in value of an art piece? Is it some attribute pertaining to the present owner or is it the direct result of what the artist did during his career and who the artist has become after a lifetime of work? For a piece of art to increase in its value from when it was first sold there needs to be some basic conditions namely;
1 – the artist and work of art have to be good;
2 – the artist made a name for himself;
3 – the artist is either dead or at the peak of his career.

So an artist today still contributes to the value of a piece of art he sold 30 years ago! I did some research and discovered the following:-
* The Maltese Government has issued a legal notice in 2006, L.N. 174 of 2006 to implement the directive. While asking around, up until now, I have met no artist or their heirs that know about the legal notice.
* The successors in title, ie the artist’s heirs, are only entitled to benefit from the royalties after 2010 or after 2012 if the minister deems it fit. This means that if a painting is sold today, an artist will get the royalties but if tonight he goes to meet the creator and the painting is sold tomorrow his wife/children etc will not receive a penny.
* Royalties are only due if the resale is conducted by a resale professional; this means artists are not due any royalties if the sale is private, ie only if the sale is conducted through an art gallery or an auction etc.
* The royalty shall be calculated as follows
(a) 0% for the portion of the sale price up to and including euros 1,499
(b) 4% for the portion of the sale price from euros 1,500 to euros 50,000
(c) 3% for the portion of the sale price from euros 50,000.01 to euros 200,000
(d) 1% for the portion of the sale price from euros 200,000.01 to euros 350,000
(e) 0.5% for the portion of the sale price from euros 350,000.01 to euros 500,000
(f) 0.25% for the portion of the sale price exceeding euros 500,000 Provided that the total amount of royalty may not exceed euros 12,500 and the sale prices referred to above are net of tax.
The resale right may be exercised by the holder independently or through a collecting society operating under the conditions provided for in the Copyright Act and regulations made thereunder.
What I am interested to know is how are these royalties being collected and who is collecting them? What sort of mechanisms are there to check that royalties are paid?
I think I need to do some more research.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ghawdex Illum Feature



This feature, by Citadel Video Communications, was aired Saturday 20th October on Ghawdex Illum, TVM. A big thanks goes to the Ghawdex Illum crew for the quality and standard of both the filming and the script.

Artitude Gallery - artistic/ cultural social evenings

Artitude Gallery in Tigne Street, Sliema is now open for artistic/ cultural social evenings every Monday and Thursdays, at 8pm onwards. These events are being sponsored by Delicata wines and entrance is free. These events are aimed at promoting art and culture by raising interest in what contemporary Maltese artists have in store for us and by creating a network of artists from every artistic field.

Kicking off the list of events is the 'Contemporary art (installation and conceptual) discussions' with top contemporary artists like Ruth Bianco making their appearance. Ruth Bianco, who holds a PhD in Fine Art (University College for the Creative Arts/University of Kent at Canterbury, UK), is a visiting lecturer at Universities both locally and in the UK. Her work involves time based and other combined media, installation, video and sound, photography, drawing and research. She shows her work internationally and also teaches private groups in preparation for specialist art studies overseas. (www.ruthbianco.com)

The public is invited to attend this evening on Monday 26th November to meet and talk with our contemporary artists and discover what they have to offer. For more information, please call Artitude on 21316708 or 99844653.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Clusters - Joseph Farrugia

Last Saturday, at art...e Gallery artist Joseph Farrugia opened his latest exhibition titled Clusters.

The artist has participated in various exhibitions over the past twenty years and his most recent exhibition was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva in June 2007. Farrugia has taught Art and Art History to Sixth from Students and is currently the director General of the Malta Employers' Association.

The paintings will be on display at art…e GALLERY, Gozo until the 8th of December 2007. for more information you can contact the gallery on 21557911 or 99804774.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Curtain Falls

Last Friday morning I have gone to Gozo to pick up the paintings from art…e GALLERY. “C – an exhibition of paintings” is officially over and now I can concentrate on other things. I really hate dismantling exhibitions, specially after long events such as this. After 5 weeks going to Gozo every weekend I got quite used to it. I just love the island. Maybe I’ll plan another event there.

Talking about events, at the moment I am planning a couple of new projects, one of which will be announced soon, so let me get back to work.

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Roots of a Village - diptych - 80x40cm each panel

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Are you a specialist?


Zebbug 60x40 2007

Lately, on two different blogs, one by artist Matt Lamb, the other by Sunil Gangadharan on Art & Perception, the issue if to specialize or to generalize was discussed. What should an artist do, limit his subjects and choice of media or experiment in different directions with different materials and subjects?

On a matter of principal, I do not understand why one has to exclude the other. I think that an accomplished artist needs both in his career; the notion of the Renaissance man still holds, even today. People like Leonardo, Bernini, and Michelangelo etc were capable of being good at more than one discipline, so why not adopt the same approach today?

On a practical level, I realised that I follow certain patterns when it comes to my work. I find myself going through periods of experimentation and then long phases of specialisation. There are two reasons I do this; firstly because at a certain stage I find myself exhausting a particular style/subject so I need to change and secondly if I do not experiment every now and again I am afraid that my work will become stagnant and does not evolve.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Article by Duncan Mercieca on artist Rupert Cefai


San Gorg - 70x70 - 2007

When one looks at Rupert’s paintings there is a sense of identification. However, it is rather a strange identification! Although some of the paintings refer to real places, such as the Rabat Malta and San Gorg, others I feel are not as separate from me. I feel a sense of the Mediterranean and the Maltese about the landscapes. While this sense of identification with the landscape gives me a location, I also feel lost through the use of colours, through the bending of different shapes and smudges, through the lines of colour that one sees in Rupert’s paintings.

I find this most attractive and appealing in Rupert’s powerful art exhibition (see webpage). Through his art Rupert challenges my conceptions of the landscape. He is able to stretch me further. On his canvas he is able to bring alive a number of forces which I might overlook in my preconceived vision of landscapes, churches and fortifications. Rupert’s canvas is a theatre of these forces, of this action. This I believe makes Rupert a powerful artist. Through his knowledge of colours, shapes and techniques he is able to make actual what is virtual. Forces are made possible through the smudges and woozy colours and different shapes. I find it very interesting that this is not a stretching of the imagination, but a stretching of the visual. Rupert does not suggest to me how I am to see and make sense of it. At times he would title his paintings: Rahal Ikhal or just Untitled. What he is offering me is a possibility. He puts together forces that go beyond my perceptions. Moreover Rupert is not afraid to put together conflicting and opposing forces on his canvas. A clear example of this is: Rabat Malta. A serene background of a church, with light colours. Typical of Maltese architecture and colours. Then a dripping red patch of colour starting from the top middle going down through the painting and smudges the middle. Striking! Opposing colours and shapes; contradictory forces that cannot live together. Yet on Rupert’s canvas this is possible. Rupert does not try to unite opposites, not to bring about harmony that we usually strive for by finding a compromise. His harmony consists in making opposites possible on his canvas, without destroying each other.

There are two options before us. We can either try to ask Rupert why he did that? The meaning of it? Or else we can ask how does this red patch in contrast with the church affect me? How is this striking piece of art working for me? What is it creating in me? This is very personal for each person. It is not listening to Rupert as an oracle, but seeing the canvas as having a life of its own independent of Rupert. Rather than saying whether one likes it or not, one needs to ask what forces are being produced in me through the colours that Rupert is using.

The same happens with the square shapes that haunt Rupert’s paintings in this exhibition. Square shapes, oblong shapes, heavy shapes, filled with colour. At times light square shapes made up of just thin white lines. I feel comfortable with square shapes. A quick look at our architecture reveals the square shape. We feel comfortable living in square shapes. But in spite of the closeness that a square shape offers, in spite of the limitations that a square shape holds, Rupert places these square shapes on canvas in a way that makes them escape themselves. The limited spaces, the square shapes help the painting to escape itself. An example is Wara t-tejatru Marcello. The squares, while holding their squareness are bursting upwards; they almost take me beyond the painting. Again I ask how this is working on me.

Exhibition titled C, is Rupert Cefai’s third exhibition and I would say that this exhibition is a transitory one as he is preparing for an exhibition in Rome in mid next year. On the other hand, the art work presented in this exhibition places Rupert on a new plateau.

.rahal ikhal - 60x40 - 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Doris’s crack - we have those too

I have just come to the conclusion that Malta must be the most artistic country in the whole world. Whereas other countries need to have contemporary museums to show cracks on the floor as works of art, here on this little rock, our roads are full of them and free for all to see. Ours tend to look more natural, are part of our culture and need no explanation why they are there. In other countries, such as the UK, they need places like the Tate museum and artists like Doris Salcedo, to create an installation called "Shibboleth" which is just a crack on the floor running through the entire length of the hall. Those who want to know why all this should go HERE.

Apparently, quite a few people fell in Doris’s crack (that is how it is being referred to) and now everyone is waiting for the first lawsuit. Luckily none of these people ever came to Malta or else our government will go bankrupt.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Seven Layer Techique in Painting

wara t-teatru Marcello - Ruma - 70x70cm 2007

I have always been intrigued by the seven layer technique in oil painting. Apparently, Old Dutch masters painted their works in seven different layers, allowing each layer to dry for seven weeks before continuing. Some documentation also refers to the rubbing of the painting surface with an onion after the fourth or fifth layer. Although the exact explanation was not discovered, it is believed that the natural components of an onion "set" or "condition" the surface of the oil paint. An explanation of the whole process can be found HERE.

Following this process, a painting would be ready at least after 49 weeks. Very few artists today use this method and one can understand why but the idea of working in layers has always attracted me. There are two main reasons why, firstly because using different layers makes it easier to exploit the transparent qualities of diluted paint and secondly the whole process of building up a painting is highly fascinating.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Extension of Dates


Just a small note to inform you readers of this blog that the dates of exhibition ‘C- an exhibition of paintings’, currently at art…e Gallery, library street, Victoria, Gozo, has been extended to the 8th of November 2007.

Also, I shall be at the gallery on

· Saturday 20th October2007, 10:00am – 12:30pm

· Saturday 27th October 2007, 10:00am – 12:30pm

· Friday 2nd November 2007, 10:00am – 12:30pm, 5:00pm – 7:00pm

· Saturday 3rd November 2007, 10:00am – 12:30pm

All images of the paintings of my latest exhibition – C – an exhibition of paintings are also available for viewing online at www.rupertcefai.com.mt

Art Feature on Ghawdex Illum

On Saturday 20th October there will be a feature on my art exhibition, currently at art...e Gallery, Victoria Gozo, on the TVM program Ghawdex Illum. The program will go an air at 7:20pm and there will be a repeat on Sunday at 2:00pm. For those of you who are considering not switching on their TV just in case they end up seeing my face, do not worry, only my paintings will be shown.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Questions


"How long did it take you to finish that painting?” is probably the question I hear most often. The answer is usually 36 years. I rarely keep track of how long it took me to finish a painting. Where would I start? Thinking about it counts? Looking at it while still unfinished counts too? And what about the time I spend experimenting and gaining experience doing other paintings that brought me to this moment, does this not count at all? I have paintings that I did in a few hours and others that I dedicated weeks to finish them, there is no formula.

Another question I get quite often is “are you always inspired to create new art?” or “do you wait for inspiration to start painting?”. How romantic, of course not. In a recent article on ART NEWS BLOG, entitled Do or Die List for Artists, point number 4 states the following

“Inspiration is found in the studio while you are working. If you sit around waiting for inspiration before you start creating you will have about 15 paintings finished when you're 60.”

How true! As one of my tutors used to tell us, art is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Exhibition Opening


Last Saturday i had the opening of the exhibition at art...e GALLERY, Gozo. Quite happy how it turned out. Now I need to catch up on a million other things (especially sleep) and start blogging again. For those of you who are interested to have a look at the paintings you can find them HERE.

The paintings will be on display at art…e GALLERY, Gozo until the 30th of October 2007. for more information you can contact the gallery on 21557911 or 99804774.

Friday, September 07, 2007

C - an exhibition of paintings


This is the reason that i have not blogging lately, I am working around the clock to finish the paintings for the the exhibition. I am nearly there, and I have been saying this for the last few weeks. It seems that the more I work the more work needs to be done. But i am quite happy with what i have been producing.


What really remains is varnishing and framing. After the opening of the exhibition I will probably sleep for a couple of days to make up for the lack of sleep.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Old Friends

Last Christmas, my wife and myself had to do the unthinkable, we had to store our books in boxes till we fix the area we decided was going to be our library. Being an interior designer does not help the situation, I find it easy to design other people’s homes but when it comes to my own place I end up procrastinating, my wife ends up frustrated, (and here I owe her a big apology) until finally we decide to do something about it (again thanks to my wife). Last Saturday we bought two shelving units, brought them home, carried 4 large (and really heavy) boxes 2 storeys, spent 3 hours assembling them and then after being literally exhausted starting bringing out our books.

It’s like meeting old friends. Every time I walk past my books, I discover a book or two that I know I missed; and the conversation goes…. ‘Ah there you are, how does it feel to be out again…..I’m sorry I promise I will not do it again…..missed you too…’ all this while my wife stands staring at our beloved books and admiring them.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Brag IV

Chiesa degli Artisti (one on left) - piazza del Popolo

Today i recieved some good news. Finally i have the dates for my exhibition at the Chiesa degli Artisti, Piazza del popolo, Rome. It will be held during the first couple of weeks of October 2008. So, in fourteen months time i shall be exhibiting in the eternal city. For those of you who think that 14 months is a long time, let me assure you it is not. This means that I have to prepare 3 paitings a month for the next 10 months, without counting the works i still have to prepare for my upcoming exhibition which will be held on the 29th of September 2007, Art...e, Gozo.

I rarely mention people on this blog but today i have to make an exception. I have to thank Stefania Marassi and Alberto Palmieri for their help in making this exhibition possible. Without their contribution the exhibition in Rome would not materialise. Thanks guys, much obliged.

Monday, July 09, 2007

View from Studio



The photo above is the view i have from my studio. It is the back of Naxxar church. Naxxar is the village where i work and live. The image below i my interpretation of that view.
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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Brag III

Today, during the opening of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Exhibition organised by the Italian Cultural Institute and inaugurated by the President of Malta Edward Fenech Adami. I have been awarded the Intercontinental Award. Over 80 pieces of art took part in the competition and my ‘Giuseppe’ was one of the five winners. The Exhibition, which is being held at the Institute’s premises, St. George’s Square, Valletta (in front of parliament palace), will be open until the 31st of July 2007. Those of you who would like to visit the exhibition can also vote for the paintings for a special award.

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Giuseppe - acrylic on canvas - 100x70cm

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

just a thought

Internet is a strange world. Those who believe that the internet is a virtual reality are greatly mistaken. It is an alternate reality, but as real as it could be. Lately I realised that there are a number of people, which follow my work, and I follow theirs, which strangely enough I have never met but consider them as friends. A circle of contacts, whose interests are varied, live hundreds of kilometres away, but still keep in touch with them regularly. When I think about it, I find it quite weird.

This weekend I wanted to comment on a number of things but did not find the time. The new(?) hospital that took 17 years to build, the death of 5 persons at the fireworks factory explosion, terrorism attacks in London….quite a busy few days.

The problem is that in 3 months time I will have an exhibition in Gozo followed by another exhibition 6 months later in Rome and so all the spare time (and not) I have, I am dedicating to painting.

Here’s my latest
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Brag II


Yesterday one of my paintings (picture) has won 2nd price at the Malta Society of Arts 6th Annual Competition. This year, 126 artists and 197 works of art took part in the competition. The event is being held at the Marchese Scicluna Hall, Trade Fair Grounds Naxxar. It will be open until the 8th of July 2007.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Meds


According to today's Times of Malta, the price of a number of medicines sold on the local market should go down by the end of summer. Apparently the Working Committee on the Pricing of Medicinal Products has found that, during an exercise to compare local prices with the average in the EU, while a number of products were selling at prices below the average, others were more expensive. So now the Working committee is going to ask the medicinal products importers to reduce prices to the EU's average.

So far so good. The only problem is that the average Maltese paycheck comes nothing close to the average paycheck in the EU. and what about Maltese pensions, are they close to the average in the EU?
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

er Duce

Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to Josie Muscat on Smash TV. He seemed to be quite offended that they labelled his new political party, Azzjoni Nazzjonali (AN), as extreme right. He said that when one mentions the extreme right one thinks of the fascist regimes before the 2nd world war and what they did, and AN is not like that. Their website goes further still; they claim that the political organization is not derived from any particular ideological doctrine.

Lets assume that the name AN is only by coincidence so close to ANR (alleanza nazzjonali repubblikana, the Maltese extreme right movement) and Fini’s Italian AN, the inheritors of Mussolini’s fascist party. Let’s assume that Mr. Philip Beattie ex ANR is not an extreme right political activist and that Mr. Josie Muscat never parted from the PN due to his extreme views, then we can assume that the newly founded AN is not an extreme-right political movement and that Josie Muscat is not just a Duce wannabe.

But for sure their political agenda is conservative and to the right of the political spectrum, especially to Maltese standards. Let’s just hope that we see no extreme elements.

Let’s just wait and see.


some more photos from Rome


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Caput Mundi


What an eventful week! I have just arrived from a week at the citta eterna, Rome. Though this is my third time to the city, it was my first occasion that I really had the time to have a good look around and I did. My feet are still hurting from all the walking that we did. I cannot count the number of churches I went into, the remains I saw, the palaces, piazzas and monuments. Each corner you turn, a new surprise. Rome is just wonderful.

Apparently, even here a lot of things happened. More people lost at sea, the formation of a new (extreme) right political party, the arrest of a policeman for hitting an old lady, etc. etc. Unfortunately, I became aware of these things not because I was following the local news but because Italians have told me about them. We are beginning to be famous for the wrong reasons.

Here are some photos I had while I was there


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Monday, May 28, 2007

Driftwood

A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic - Joseph Stalin

Maybe we’re still away from a million deaths, but that’s how the Maltese politicians and media are treating the current migration crisis. Yes it is migration and not immigration and as long as we continue to refer to the phenomenon as an illegal immigration problem we will find no solution. The issue is a mass migration phenomenon, where people from poor regions migrate to rich areas with the hope of finding a better future. What’s wrong with that? This has happened throughout human history. Countries have been built this way, namely the USA. And that’s what the Maltese did after both world wars.

Our government seems to be more interested in dealing with other authorities not to let people stranded at sea reach Malta than rescuing those who are risking their life to reach our shores. Apperantly these illegal immigrants are guilty to be born in a poor country or fleeing war and persecution. How dare they! We seem to forget that these are human beings and not driftwood.

...

This weekend I realised that I have a number of paintings that I started and never finished. Sometimes this happens; I start a painting and then stop working on it, as if I cannot decide what to do next. I look at a painting, know that its not ready yet but do not know where the next brush stroke should go. What I usually do is leave the painting somewhere where I can see, with the hope that one morning I wake up inspired to finish it off. And behold, that’s what happened this weekend. The following paintings are the ones I managed to finish these last two day.
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untitled - acrylics on canvas 70x70cm
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untitled - acrylics on canvas 80x80cm

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Garibaldi

Giuseppe - Acrylic on canvas 70x100cm

Last week I handed in a painting of Giuseppe Garibaldi for a competition organised by the Italian Cultural Institute in Malta. The Exhibition will open on the 4th of July 2007, which happens to be the bicentenary of the birth of Garibaldi.

Usually I stay away from these competitions, for two main reasons, firstly I find it very hard to bring together the concept of art with competitions and secondly because I find it difficult to get into the right frame of mind to tackle the subject. Garibaldi! What would you choose for a subject that relates to Garibaldi? It is easy to start thinking of grand battle scenes and heroic images of the Italian leader, but that is not me.

So I decided to go for something simple, a portrait. Luckily images and photos of Garibaldi are in ample supply on the internet. What I tried to do is take 2D images of 20th century revolutionaries and translate them into a portrait of Garibaldi. Don’t know if I managed but quite a few people at first thought it was a painting of Che Guevara.

Interesting is the evolution of the painting. Very different from my landscapes is the fact that usually the end result has nothing to do from where I started, but in this painting I knew where I wanted to arrive.

Monday, May 14, 2007

15

Eastern Europe, which includes all European countries except the UK, Albania and Turkey, hate us or at least they hate our music. Check out the results of ESC 2007 . There seemed to be a conspiracy going on across ex-soviet countries not to vote for Malta for the ESC. That was the message on Xarabank last Friday so it must be true. Everything concerning the Maltese song was perfect so it has to be someone else's fault. It wasn't the singer's fault, nor the composer's, nor the organising committee’s but especially not Olivia’s crew, which happen to form part of Where’s Everybody. No critique is allowed. Its all the ex-soviets fault, those bunch of ex-commies.

Or is it? Was the performance so perfect? Was it such a good song? And what about all the activity on stage? Were those two half naked men, one with a violin, the other waving a piece of cloth necessary for the song? Why were they painted in gold for the general dress rehearsal but not for the actual performance? Did they finish the paint? Or did the communists steal it? And what was the connection of the 3 girls with fans with the song? If you suffer from vertigo you need 3 fans? What about one electric, would it suffice? Questions, questions, questions.

And another question, how come Where’s Everybody always end up involved in everything? Apart from Where’s Everybody there seems to be no one else. Maybe that’s why lately they started to call themselves WE. Now they seem convinced that there is just THEM.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bla Agenda

Every Saturday evening, one of my paintings is being used as a backdrop to the Maltese TV program Bla Agenda on One TV, hosted by Norman Hamilton. Seeing my work on TV or the printed media always gives me a mixed feeling. On the one hand there is always a little bit of pride but on the other, its like exposing my most intimate feelings to the public.

this week, the following painting will be 'exposed'....
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Skyline in Green and Orange

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Coconut Orchestra

They did it! Londoners celebrating St George's Day have set a new coconut orchestra world record in Trafalgar Square...

You do not now what a coconut orchestra is? That means you never saw Monty Python's Holy Grail. How do you become a coconut orchestra player? First you need a pair of coconuts, you grab them, bang them and there you are. You think its stupid? Well, 5567 people yesterday thought otherwise!

Though i was a few thousand miles away, i was there in spirit and mind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

33

From what I read in the news today it seems that in the USA there are 110 deaths by gunshots for every million person per year. Roughly translated that would be 33000 deaths yearly. If the same rate applied to the Maltese Islands that would mean that 44 persons are killed each year by gunshots alone, nearly one every week.

Even after events like those of yesterday, there are still people who believe that carrying a gun is a fundamental human right. Even if it is, is it that difficult to relinquish some of your right to protect the life of others? The debate will surely go on. In the meantime, at least 33 people lost their lives in vain.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Passion

When I was young, I had the opportunity to study art under various Maltese artists. One way or another, I learnt something from all of them. But I feel that two particular artists have affected me more than others, Harry Alden and Alfred Chircop. Alden taught me what painting is. It was him that installed in me the belief that an artist, has to know not only how to paint but also had to know his media; paints canvasses, materials etc. You are as good as your technique is.

Chircop infected me with something different, a virus called passion. I never heard the guy say something positive about his pupil’s work. The most we could get was “I don’t dislike!” He taught us that technique is not enough, you could teach a machine to be technically perfect but as artists we have to give something more. Technique without passion is soulless.

Passion in art is something very difficult to explain and to understand, you have to experience it. The first time I visited an exhibition of works by Chircop way back in the early nineties, I understood what he meant.

Lately I visited his latest exhibition, a collection of watercolour paintings held at the Middlesea House, Floriana. Though probably the artist is in his mid-seventies, his work is still young and fresh. The exhibition will be open till the 15th of April 2007. Not to be missed!
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Alfred Chircop - Watercolour 51x37 cm 2001

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Apostasy

Thanks to a friend of mine, yesterday I learnt the meaning of a new word, Apostasy! I have also learnt that if you are an apostate, a schismatic or a heretic you usually need a Bishop to forgive your sins. But between Friday 30th March 2007 and Sunday 8th April 2007, a normal priest will do. Those of you who converted to a different religion and want to go back to Catholicism or lately tried to split the church, during the holy week your parish priest is enough to be absolved. If you do not believe me, have a look at http://www.maltachurch.org.mt/ . What’s interesting about this is that the Kurja also mentions those who have committed an abortion. And this makes me think.

I can understand that if such a statement was issued only in regards to abortion the Maltese church might sound too progressive. But since the new archbishop has taken office the church is sounding a little more compassionate and caring and a little less judgmental.


To stay on the same topic, below is a painting of tal-Mirakli church I finished lately. This church has a special meaning to me. It reminds me of a dear friend of mine who passed away some 15 years ago.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Maltese Politics


Inspired by j'accuse, this digitally manipulated multiple version of Red Mosta represents Maltese politics. A version for all occasions. Whoever knocks at your door, being the Kappillan, or any politician, just hang the one with the appropriate colours and all is well. To make Jacques happy, i put the greeen version first.