Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera stated that “The Government is committed to continue supporting the cultural sector through more direct investment as well as through its holistic policy." He stated that our country needs to view the cultural sector in a broader way with the aim of making our country a major centre in the cultural and creative fields. He also reiterated that the government's aim is to motivate this sector in all its aspects and therefore it is important and necessary that the allocated funds are meeting a wide range of elements including research, innovation as well as the digital aspect.
Albert Marshall, Executive Chair of Arts Council Malta described the Malta Arts Fund as, “a pivotal initiative by Arts Council Malta which focuses on the development and production of an artistic project which has innovation, quality and artistic development as a primary aim. This strand encourages projects aimed at boosting artistic development, nurturing experimentation and innovation, engaging and developing audiences as well as attracting new audiences while creating experiences based on principles of excellence".
“This fund is one of the tools to address and implement Arts Council Malta's goals outlined in the current strategy, with a particular focus on nurturing creative potential and supporting its development into professional activity by encouraging co-creation, collaboration and experimentation; investing in artistic excellence by encouraging levels of creative risk and experimentation, supporting quality projects as well as identifying talent and encouraging its development", explained Mary Ann Cauchi, Director Funding and Strategy, Arts Council Malta.
The Arts Fund established over 10 years ago aims at investing in the development of quality-driven creative work and pushes the artists' and the sector's boundaries for more engaging creative experiences. The fund supports artists in taking creative risks to develop new work through research, experimentation and collaboration.
Selected Projects, Malta Arts Fund – Project Support Grant (2nd Call 2020)
Sara Dolfi Agostini – GRAVITY – PSG-08-20-4884 / €10,800
This project is inspired by gravity. Its inexorable effect on human bodies makes it an ideal point of departure for an investigation into a traditional genre of art history – the body and its representation – that has re-emerged as crucial after the outbreak of the pandemic. In other words, this project pledges to continue the relevant discussion on contemporary art in Malta and internationally, while offering the artists and the audience an experimental platform they can strongly relate to because of the connection to an event that affected everybody, no exception.
Shaun Grech – Dehumaneation – PSG-09-20-4886 / €17,000
Dehumaneation is a multidisciplinary exhibition that will combine paintings by Shaun Grech (fluidly labelled as raw or outsider art), film, an installation, narratives, and critical debate to explore the space between dehumanization, humiliation and nation through a geopolitical and historical perspective. Curated by Raphael Vella and using Dehumaneation as an invented word, concept and probe, we will bring these three concepts together (Dehumanization, Humiliation and Nation) to address a range of instances and manifestations of this intersectional space. These will include: political violence and tribalism, colonialism, racism, disablism, gender-based violence, politics of borders and nationhood, identity politics, the assault on the environment, poverty and inequality, pandemics and unequal access, neoliberalism and neocolonialism among others.
Greta Muscat Azzopardi – Mapping Malta III. Debatable Land(s) – PSG-18-20-4895 / €17,000
Debatable Land(s) is the latest chapter of the long-term, research-based art project Fleeting Territories, resulting from the project Mapping Malta I- II, which took place in 2018. In the connection of the two actually opposing terms “fleeting" and “territory", the Fleeting Territories collective see spatial coordinates not simply as stable or fixed values, but rather as aiding in the identification and negotiation of [in]visible mechanisms, which in turn organise and shape cities, land[scapes], human and more-than-human interconnections. Rights, laws, politics, and economies, as well as emotions play a central role in the appropriation of territories.
Glen Calleja – PUPAE – PSG-26-20-4904 / €15,000
This proposal will culminate in an exhibition, a publication and a series of workshops. Pupae is a development upon a project titled KIN, whose objective was to create a collection of some 40 hand-made dolls and the stories about them, to the general public, through an exhibition and a bilingual catalogue. During the exhibition, two workshops will be held featuring the process of creation as well as the reflection of the doll as an object of anthropological interest. The exhibition is aimed to be held at Spazju Kreattiv's Upper Galleries and form part of the organisation's official artistic programme.
Christopher Gatt – Decameron 10 stories, 10 journeys – PSG-31-20-4909 / €7,550
Based on 'The Decameron', this is a promenade performance that makes full use of the Manoel Theatre and its environs with a live performance whilst sticking to the current COVID-19 regulations. The framework of the original concept of the Decameron was that of a group of 10 people (six women and 4 men) who have 'exiled' themselves to a country house whilst waiting for the plague to pass. Whilst under lockdown they entertained themselves by each of them telling a new story over 10 ten nights. Therefore ten stories in 10 nights.
Veronique Vella – Project Hold – PSG-21-20-4898 / €3,120
'Project Hold' will result in an original music album of the experimental/electro-acoustic/ambient musical genre or aesthetic - one which, has so far, been largely neglected by local composers. The album will offer its audience a unique and original sonic experience. It will be an “emotional time capsule in music", documenting the COVID-19 pandemic through different women's perspectives. This will be achieved through the use of female voice samples, extracted from recordings made by participants. These volunteers will each offer their own distinctive perspective on a shared experience - the current pandemic.
Gabriel Zammit – Darkness at Noon – PSG-05-20-4881 / €14,000
'Darkness at Noon' as a collective exhibition will showcase the work of three Maltese artists; ceramist Paul Scerri, photographer Charles Balzan and painter Gabriel Buttigieg. These three artists have been chosen as their work is radically different in terms of form and style, yet it plumbs the same sphere of human experience and will thus be brought into dialog under the concept of the uncanny. The project will culminate in an exhibition at ‘The Splendid’ in Valletta, as well as a catalogue detailing the exhibition concept from an intellectual-curatorial angle. This venue has been chosen precisely because of its symbolic weight as well as its atmosphere. The publication will feature essays on the uncanny within the context of the art on display by (tentatively) Dr. Clive Zammit and Niki Young. The artists have outlined the process and trajectory of their work to the curators, Joe Philippe and Gabriel Zammit, who will use the uncanny as a tool for examining the unconscious compulsions that shape us as 21st C. creatures.
Antje Liemann – LIGHT IS TIME THINKING ABOUT ITSELF – PSG-38-20-4916 / €5,530
The applicant proposes a hands-on project-exhibition, culminating in a solo exhibition to form part of the MUŻA programme and will be held from November 5th until December 20th, 2020 within the Community Space plus Corridors at MUŻA - The Malta National Community Art Museum. Antje Liemann will, over a period of three months, work with a group of diverse and specialised individuals from Malta to develop their vision of possible post-covid futures. The artist takes our current situation of lockdown as absurdity – what has become accepted as 'normal life' in a very short space of time, would have been unimaginable only a few months ago. Antje Liemann wants to use this feeling as a starting point for the project's concept.
Press Release by the Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government.