Published on Friday 10 September 2021

The Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government is pleased to announce that the Maltese Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia 2022, commissioned by Arts Council Malta, will be curated by an international team led by Keith Sciberras (MLT) and Jeffrey Uslip (USA).

The Maltese Pavilion, entitled Diplomazija astuta, features a collaboration between artists Arcangelo Sassolino (ITA), Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci (MLT) and composer Brian Schembri (MLT), who will re-articulate Caravaggio’s seminal altarpiece The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1608) as an immersive, kinetic, sculptural installation. 

Through their signature artistic vocabularies, Sassolino, Schembri Bonaci, and Schembri will bridge this biblical narrative with contemporary culture, transposing the zeitgeist of the Oratory of the Decollato in Valletta, Malta (the site of Caravaggio’s groundbreaking canvas since the 17th century) onto the Malta Pavilion. Diplomazija astuta subsequently re-situates Caravaggio’s immanent themes within modern life, addressing many of the global challenges we face in today’s world, from inequality to justice and peace.


Anchored in Maltese creative talent and art history, Diplomazija astuta, elevates the potential for art to lead us forward through complex moments in time. The Ministry for National Heritage, The Arts and Local Government José Herrera states,With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the forefront of our minds, this iteration of the Maltese Pavilion demonstrates how art can represent society’s ideologies and ideals. Our Malta project presents a transcendent cultural experience where beholders imagine a path towards reconciliation; it brings us great pride to put forth this salient project at one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art in the world.”


Arts Council Malta Executive Chairman Albert Marshall states,This extraordinary and timely installation—an invention of the collaborative creative effort between our curators and artists—puts forth a Maltese Pavilion that layers that which is said to have passed with that which is still unfolding. Diplomazija astuta creates a palimpsest that uniquely operates within the realms of Caravaggio’s altarpiece and contemporary Maltese visual culture.” 


Commissioner: Arts Council Malta
Co-Curators: Keith Sciberras (MLT) and Jeffrey Uslip (USA),
Artists: Arcangelo Sassolino (ITA), Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci (MLT), and Brian Schembri (MLT)
Project Managers: Nikki Petroni (MLT) and Esther Flury (CH / USA)


The Malta Pavilion is located at the Artiglierie in the main Arsenale area.

ARTS COUNCIL MALTA, under the auspices of the Ministry of National Heritage, The Arts and Local Government, has been entrusted to act as the Commissioner and the Contracting Authority of the Pavilion of Malta at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Arts Council Malta is the national agency for development and investment in the cultural and creative sectors. Its central task is that of effectively funding, supporting and promoting the cultural and creative sectors in Malta.