Minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government, Jose’ Herrera stressed the importance of this Award as a celebration of the work of the cultural and creative sectors. Hon. Herrera highlighted that the new, high quality and excellent productions and inititaives created during this challenging period are a testament to the inspiration of artists and creatives to transform challenges into opportunities for innovation and regeneration.
During a digital transmission the winners of both competitive categories were announced; the Award for Best Initiative during COVID-19 pandemic was awarded to Maria Galea for Artz ID platform and the Award for Best Production during COVID-19 pandemic was awarded to the Festival Żigużajg 2020 by Fondazzjoni Kreattivita’. The winners were selected by a jury composed of sectorial experts following a process of open nominations.
While congratulating the winners of this edition, Arts Council Malta’s Executive Chair, Albert Marshall stressed that Premju għall-Arti is an important platform honoring all artists. He added that the goal of the awards is beyond awarding prizes to individuals and organizations but aims to inspire artists to strive for excellence, that is achieved at various levels, including artistic aspects, a sense of solidarity and creating platforms for international export. Albert Marshall added that this year’s achievements have an added value of overcoming the difficulties caused by the pandemic, forcing artists to double their efforts to create and survive.
Four honors were also awarded in this special edition. The Honor for Artistic Career was awarded to veteran actress Karmen Azzopardi while Kenneth Zammit Tabona was awarded the Honor of Ambassador for the Arts, a title that is maintained for three years. APS Bank was awarded the Honor for Cultural Promoters while the Għaqda Ħbieb tal-Presepju – Sezzjoni Nadur was awarded the Honor for Artistic Legacy.
Director for Funding and Strategy, Mary Ann Cauchi, reiterated how Premju għall-Arti serves as a showcase of the investment made by Arts Council Malta over several years with the aim of strengthening the cultural and creative sectors. Mary Ann Cauchi reiterated that while rewarding excellence, innovation and quality, the 2021 awards are above all rewarding the courage to overcome the limitations caused by COVID-19.
The 2021 Premju għall-Arti covers projects, productions or activities in the cultural and creative sectors that were launched or presented between 1 March 2020 and 11 January 2021, a period that has been affected by a number of measures and restrictions aimed at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The winners received a prestigious sculpture by Maltese artist Kane Cali.
During the transmission, Professor Oliver Friġġieri, who in 2018 was awarded the Honor for Artistic Career, was honoured by a musical interpretation of the poem Talba ta’ Tfajla Ċkejkna għal-Paċi, composed by Kris Spiteri. The Band SKALT concluded the broadcast by performing the song Kura part of the album that will be released in June 2021.