L-ewwel darba li smajt bil-COVID kien fi Frar tal-2020 waqt li kont qed nippreżenta l-proġett KIRANA fit-Theater de Meervaart f’Amsterdam. KIRANA hija produzzjoni multmedjali li tinkludi sensiela ta’ workshops għat-tfal u li għalhekk tirrikjedi li kemm jien kif ukoll il-kollegi tiegħi ngħaddu mill-inqas ġimgħa barra minn Malta. Wara Amsterdam kont inżilt The Hague għal xi laqgħat u kien propju hemm li l-ambaxxatriċi Marlene Bonniċi għarrfitni bl-ewwel każ ta’ COVID f’Malta.
The word unprecedented has almost become a cliché! I have been asked to write a few words about my reflections vs my role. The thing is, like many in our sector, there is very little ‘VS’ between the two. One grows to trust one’s Art as much as oneself, and grows into one’s Art, to the extent that it becomes oneself, or you become the Art.
“Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long”. This statement is the essence of David Hockney’s latest video installation, detailing a vibrant sunrise in a sky which is evidently in the process of approaching twilight.
A year down the line of the pandemic …as we slowly attempt to reemerge from the hibernation of a second lockdown. It has been a long enough time, in the light of our prolonged confinement, for personal transformations to have rubbed in. I did not need the spectral pandemic to stand naked before myself and reconnoiter my inner self. But, partly by the world’s abrupt lull and disruption to plans, and partly by the greater quietude, I have pondered upon what I took for granted and what I’m not ready to lose. And that is personal freedom.
A well thought out recovery plan for the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS) needs to be rolled out in consultation with the Culture Ministry, expert advice from the CCS, the health authorities and the Finance Ministry. The CCS will greatly benefit from this and so will the country, economically.
Stories have flourished throughout the world, at all times, and under every circumstance. They have inspired the activities of the human body and mind, defined groups and held them together. Stories have guided humanity. They are not a luxury but an important need. This understanding has fueled businesses to invest in movie making and profit from the venture.
It is really difficult for me to have to reflect on my role – on the one hand because, I have to fight my natural reluctance to talk about myself; on the other, because my role as both artistic director and chorus master makes it difficult to be too defined.
Life has a strange way of leading you to some interesting places - for me, one of these was Teatru Salesjan…What grabbed my attention when accepting the post of consultancy was the fact that this was a Community Theatre - quite different from the centralised state funded theatres mainly situated in the capital. This was a regional theatre in another prominent part of the island with a purposeful mission to serve people - the communities.
As we deliberate the wearing of masks in studios and wonder whether the country will go into another lockdown, we push ahead with hours of rehearsals preparing for the next production, pondering all the while whether we’ll actually make it to the theatre this February.
It's 7.50 a.m. Stepping out of the elevator is our next-door neighbour, coming back from his daily morning stroll. He's over 85, looks 70. I ask him how he's doing, ten days into lockdown. He says it's reviving memories of the curfew imposed by the Nazis back in 1943. "A city shouldn't be this quiet," he adds.
“If art is an act of utterance to an imagined audience, does speaking the truth matter if no one will ever hear you?” asks provocatively artist/academic Hakan Topal, while scrutinising what is termed as the Turkish cultural-political scene.
I sit at my dining table, in an apartment situated right in the middle of a busy pedestrian street. Whilst working remotely I enjoy the collage of sounds; wind rustling through leaves, construction work in the distance, dogs barking, cars and delivery trucks driving past. Amongst these various layers of sounds, children play, at times loud enough for me to grasp some words. Today two children are running up and down the street, at one point they pause and the boy instructs… ‘Imagine you are…’.
Ix-xhur li għaddew għosfru f’distanzi li ferqu persuni minn persuni u persuni minn postijiet. Ir-rutini bidlu l-orbita, it-toroq ħadu nifs u ħafna karozzi raqdu raqdiet twal. Id-dinja tax-xogħol irrispondiet b’laqgħat virtwali u Zzumjajna sakemm xbajna u tqallajna.
First of all, I believe we should be proud of our country’s medical reaction to the Covid-19 Pandemic. As it is, I feel we are considered lucky when it comes to the health repercussions this pandemic could have had on our island. In fact, we are currently already seeing the country defibrillate its economy. A lot of sectors are slowly re-starting with the hope that the new normal summons a better version of ourselves; a better relationship with this earth.
At the end of January 2020, I was lucky enough to embark on a two-week vacation to the nuanced land of Portugal – specifically Lisbon and the Azores Islands. I had been working on my freelance practice circulating between being a coach in public speaking, a performer and a lecturer for just under two years and I was looking forward to having a hard-earned break, to sit with my reflections, with myself, with life.
On merciful days, the cat will have me out of bed by 6am. Feeding her is the first order of business, of course, after which I proceed to feed myself and accompany said breakfast with a shot of strong Turkish coffee, which will be followed by a second soon enough. Reading, drawing, a light workout as I listen to my latest selection from the Masterclass series (self-improvement’s a helluva drug, as Rick James might say) and then, meditation.
So that, come 9.30 or 10am, the writing can start with as clear enough a mind as I can manage.
Celebrities offered us a charming little Home-rendition of ‘Imagine’; DiCaprio (who I’d gladly vote in as president!) is pitching a trip onto the set of his latest movie in a bid to get millions of people to contribute to #americasfoodfund, and a Filipino Nurse working at Malta’s Ground Zero sent out a heartfelt cover of The Tramp’s ‘Xemx’.
By the time the third week of February hit, I was in a total funk. With about three arts-related jobs every week on the March horizon, and two big events promising to wrap up the month in a spectacular fashion, I had only one question: would I manage to pull it all off, or had I bitten off more than I could chew?
Going nowhere isn’t about turning your back on the world. It’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply. Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere.
The concept of children's culture, and children’s access to culture, has been part of the legal and social discourse of many national policies since at least the 1970s. The discourse has grown stronger over subsequent decades, and Malta has an active role to contribute towards those discussions within the European Union.
As the national cultural agency responsible for the development and investment of the cultural and creative sectors, Arts Council Malta provides a portfolio of funding programmes specifically dedicated to the support of local artists and cultural operators.
Director of Funding and Strategy, Arts Council Malta, Mary Ann Cauchi, glances at the Create2020 Strategy and what’s in store to continue achieving high levels of excellence and develop Malta’s creative sector.
A 19-year-old student of Classics and Philosophy at the University of Malta, I am also an emerging poet and author, and have just published my first collection of Maltese poems entitled ‘Ħlief Memorji u Dellijiet’ (‘But Memories and Shadows’).
I have been monitoring recipient projects of the KulturaTV fund at Arts Council Malta through four rounds of funding since its beginning. My background is in international consultation on Film and Television projects through www.advancefilms.com
It is August and as every year at this time, I am out sailing in the wide blue Mediterranean Sea, somewhere between Karpathos and Rhodes. It was almost this time last year when Maleth was chosen to represent Malta at the Venice Art Biennale of 2019, and again, I was in a sailing boat somewhere out in the Sea.
Opening Doors Association is an arts organization that provides opportunities for adults (18+) with diverse intellectual needs, working for the active participation of adults with intellectual disabilities in creative experiences
Inspired by the Odyssey, Homer’s literary legacy capturing a common human narrative, Maleth / Haven / Port - Heterotopias of Evocation is Malta’s Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia
Guest contributor Szilvia Nagy from Local Operators' Platform (LOCOP), shares some insights about the need for collective action in Malta's cultural sector following her experience as a moderator in a series of workshops and focus groups organised with the Valletta 2018 Research Department in 2018
The arts in Malta are thriving, and young artists are riding the crest of this creative wave. Artists and arts organisations are leading the development of new work that is engaging more audiences and reaching new international platforms.
The future outlook for Creative & Cultural Industries necessitates the development of a new generation of entrepreneurs … they need to plan well … and have a sound understanding of all aspects of business. Prof Louis Naudi discusses the future outlook for the cultural and creative industries and the development of a new generation of entrepreneurs
In the coming days Malcolm Galea, Joseph Zammit and Steve Hili will be off to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. ‘The complete history of Europe (more or less)’ by Malcolm and Joseph and Steve’s ‘Burning love. To the ground (and Lasagne) are recipients of the Cultural Export Travel Grants. Last year the festival had 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues. In between packing and rehearsing we caught up with Malcolm and Steve to share some thoughts about the festival and their work before jetting off to the largest festival in the world.
Tour Teatru Tazza Te is a series of monthly tours visiting theatres in every region – theatrical districts, as it were. Teatru Malta artistic director Sean Buhagiar draws some interesting parallels between the worlds of politics and theatre.
A few days before the official opening of the Biennale di Venezia 2017, Ilona Cheshire from Margaret London offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the media preparations surrounding this prestigious art event
Following the recent publication of the call for Expression of Interest for the Culture Pass 2017 programme, Daphna Attias from Peut-Être Theatre provides a few inspiring tips for those preparing performances for young audiences
It is very easy to get lost in your own world, especially when working within a specialised sector. You find yourself thinking only within the confines of your work, and using your own jargon to communicate with the outside world, often with frustrating results
By June 2017 around 1,000 artists, both new and established, both students and professionals, will have left our islands to represent Malta through their artistic works, all through the Cultural Programme of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union
In 2016 our two Creative Brokers have already addressed an average of 335 queries relating to Arts Council Malta’s funding programmes or to the cultural and creative sectors. A year after the setting up of the Brokerage Team, Head of Funding & Brokerage Elaine Falzon reports
Following the recent Culture Matters seminar, Graziella Vella, Research Coordinator - Valletta 2018 Foundation and Adrian Debattista, Research Associate, Arts Council Malta, team up to look at some of the main findings
Through the Malta Showcase, Maltese performers were given the opportunity to showcase their work before 13 international festival producers as well as artistic directors and programmers of future European Capitals of Culture
Giep Hagoort, chairman of ERTNAM (European Research and Training Network on Art Management) and Professor Emeritus Art and Economics at the Dutch Utrecht University-UU/HKU, shares his thoughts on Create2020