Published on Tuesday 27 September 2022

From April until July, I was provided with the experience of working as an intern for the Malta Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2022. My internship as a curatorial assistant for Diplomazija Astuta was an experience where I had the opportunity to learn about what it entails to work on a large-scale international project within an artistic environment. After recently having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in History of Art from the University of Malta, this internship served as a smooth layover into the artistic sector on a professional basis.

Essentially, my colleagues and I were present at the pavilion on an almost daily basis. During this time, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the full experience of forming part of a large-scale international exhibit which is presently on show. As interns, we were provided with the dual role of being ‘behind-the-scenes’ but also ‘front-of-house’ representatives of the Malta Pavilion. With an experience ranging from writing articles about the Pavilion, to interviewing the artists, curators and project managers, and learning about the day-to-day general upkeep of an immersive installation, this internship provided me with an abundance of valuable experience in the artistic sector.

Perhaps amongst the most rewarding moments of my internship was viewing members of the public and observing their reactions to the installation. Being able to engage with the public and listen to their respective comments was certainly an experience, for we never quite knew with whom we were conversing with—be it tourists, art-lovers, or professionals in the sector, we as interns had the privilege of being able to act as representatives for the Malta Pavilion, and thus explain the meaning of the installation, as well as the mechanics of it. What was particularly rewarding was hearing the respective comments of visitors as to the feelings that the installation evoked for them. Whilst taking an active role in explaining the installation was certainly beneficial, the moments which were equally as intriguing were when we would simply stand back and observe the audience. From the very second the curtain is slightly parted and the public enter the pavilion, and from the moment the coil of steel begins to drip from the ceiling, we can immediately begin to hear the physical reactions of the public. Some people would stand back in silence, others would gasp in awe and admiration, and some would even move back with surprise at seeing molten steel falling into the pools of water.

During my time in Venice, I, together with my colleagues, was given the opportunity to engage with artists and curators who made this project come alive, as well as with those from other pavilions. Moreover, we were able to engage with experts in the field from all over the world, as well as with like-minded students or recent graduates, whereby we were united by our mutual love for the arts. Working as an intern at the Malta Pavilion provided me with the experience of immersing myself into the artistic sector, as well as into the cultural scene of another country. By being present in Venice during the Biennale, I was also able to visit the collateral exhibitions around Venice, as well as the other Biennales, such as the Theatre Biennale. Moreover, I also attended a number of talks and meetings on art which were delivered by leading experts in the artistic field. By immersing myself in this manner, I was thus given the experience of engaging with the multidisciplinary approach to art—an approach which I am particularly interested in.

Succinctly putting this experience into words is certainly no easy feat, precisely because this experience is almost indescribable. All in all, this internship served as an incredibly fruitful experience which has left me with new friendships, professional relations, and skills, as well as an abundance of creative inspiration. Moreover, this experience has provided me with the beneficial and necessary foundations to begin this venture in the artistic sector.

Hannah Dowling- Intern at the Malta Pavilion - April - July 2022.