It is with great pleasure that I welcome the last edition of the MCCF art exhibition to be held during my Presidency. Throughout the years, I took note of how the quality of the artworks presented has improved markedly, also spearheaded by a robust curatorial remit and the art4mccf’s commitment to excellence. Thanks to the sheer hard work of the committee members, this fundraising initiative has now become the exhibition where artists aspire to showcase their work, and all this for a good cause.
This edition’s theme is an unexpected tribute to my Presidency that I humbly welcome as a most unexpected surprise. As I was briefed about the chosen theme, informed by the Presidency’s role as guardian of Malta’s constitution, I could not help thinking how this also complements The Malta Community Chest Fund’s mission of supporting individuals in need. With this in mind, the committee and the chosen curator also chose the right word from our native language to present this project.
Malta’s visual arts sector is a key player in our culture ecology. We regularly hear about exhibitions and art projects happening from time to time. It has been a pleasure to be able to contribute throughout my Presidency to the consolidation, presentation, and celebration of the arts.
I am most thankful to the committee led by Lawrence Pavia for their efforts and commitment. Thank you also to this edition’s designated curator, Roderick Camilleri, and all sponsors who have come forward to support this event. A special thanks to all the artists who generously contributed throughout this Presidency. We are indebted to their generosity as much as we are appreciative of their talent, hard work, and creativity.
I am hopeful that, in the coming years, art4mccf shall contribute even more to the appreciation and celebration of the visual arts and support The Malta Community Chest Fund’s commitment and ambition to help those in need.
H.E. George Vella
President of Malta
This is the third consecutive exhibition organized by art4mccf in aid of The Malta Community Chest Fund. In October 2022, when the first curated exhibition was held, I had said that ‘depending on the success of this exhibition, this will become an annual event’. Indeed, the previous two exhibitions under the curatorship of Melanie Erixon were a success, and therefore my Committee and I have been encouraged to continue with curated exhibitions.
Irrespective of the way we present the artworks, whether in an auction setting or in a curated exhibition, the aim remains the same – that of collecting as much funds as possible for the many needs which The Malta Community Chest Fund caters for. And for this I have, first and foremost, to thank the artists who year after year willingly open their hearts and generously donate some of their best pieces for our exhibitions.
This year will be the last year under the Presidency of His Excellency Dr George Vella, and the Committee felt it would be opportune and fitting if the theme chosen for this year’s exhibition be related to his Presidency’s raison d’être. In his inaugural speech, amongst other matters, Dr Vella had stated that as the first citizen of the Republic, his role is to safeguard the constitution of Malta, to ensure that social justice prevails particularly for those most vulnerable, and to protect and promote the Maltese language.
It is with these thoughts in mind that this year’s exhibition is titled Dokra, which in Maltese means to protect, safeguard, and defend. This year the exhibition will be curated by Roderick Camilleri, who needs no introduction as a seasoned curator and artist. He has taken this challenge in his stride, and I am sure his guidance will prove successful.
This year the venue is also different and hopefully even more accessible. Now that the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta has been beautifully restored, the exhibition will be held at the l’Orangerie of this grand palace. This will give visitors not only the opportunity to view the works of art, but also to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings in the Palace courtyards. It will be an omission on my part should I fail to thank in particular, the members of the management team of the Palace within Heritage Malta, who have been extremely cooperative and who have made our lives so much easier during the preparatory process of this exhibition.
Although the Committee and the curator all work on a voluntary basis, there are still expenses to be covered, and these would not be possible without the sponsors who support us. I would in particular like to thank APS Bank and M. Demajo Group which have, year after year, continued to support this initiative and helped made it one of their annual events as well. Our heartfelt gratitude also goes for others that have generously contributed.
Finally, I would like to thank my Committee, the staff at the Office of the President, and all other volunteers for their continued support.
The overarching theme of this year’s art4mccf visual art exhibition is embedded in a vision that promotes conservation. In our contemporary volatile world of incessant uncertainty, this simple notion speaks volumes. It is an important element which keeps us primed and awakened.
It is for this reason that this year’s edition is consciously titled Dokra. The word Dokra is a curious term which stands for safeguarding, vigilance, and protection. It is an old Maltese noun which has almost vanished entirely from our daily use of our national language to the extent that it has been almost completely forgotten. However, designating such a notion for this specific event proffers interesting thought-provoking reflections.
The idea not only serves as an act of ‘remembering’ forgotten Maltese words which are being extinguished due to the fast-paced changes in our society but also acts as a reminder of important connotations that convey significant and strong messages about mindfulness and care. It can be seen as a subtle act of recalling our ethical and moral responsibility to protect and conserve our living space and community. It is within this setting that the art4mccf committee, together with the support of the Office of the President, is hosting a unique artistic event that engenders a discourse of solidarity whilst supporting the Malta Community Chest Fund by creating a platform through a cultural fundraising activity that promotes local creativity and artistic excellence.
In addition, such notions of hope and care resound the global needs within the international discourse in light of the ascending challenges of our contemporary geo-political scenario. We are living in strenuous times where the global socio-ecological context calls for drastic actions in front of the social strive, ascending wars, and environmental crisis. In such vexatious scenarios, art voices silent yet significant statements and reflections for effective political agency, commonality and unity.
The intriguing collection of works showcased in this current exhibition articulates a refined selection of artworks that feature significant yet subtle comments connoting noteworthy and thought-provoking expressions in light of our contemporary contexts. The participating artists presented a variety of artworks with different expressions. Some of these works address the main statements of the exhibition, whereas others relate to it in a subtle, indicative, or suggestive manner. Such a unique collection constitutes a vivid constellation of intriguing layers of creative manifestations, portraying a mosaic of artistic accounts that disclose an urgent yearning for a better world rooted in social-ecological justice.
Roderick Camilleri is a practising artist and a curator. He studied philosophy, Art and Art History at the University of Malta, and holds a B.A. (2010) and an M.A. (2015). He attended various professional development programmes at international institutions such as the Royal Academy of Arts (London) and Slade University (London). Camilleri also furthered his artistic practice at professional studios in Edinburgh, Rome, Venice, and Marrakesh, amongst others.
Camilleri is an active participant in the local art scene. His interdisciplinary visual art practice explores themes related to ontology, metaphysics and materiality. Camilleri works as a full-time art educator, teaching studio practice and theory at the Malta School of Art in Valletta. He is currently the Vice-President of the Malta Society of Arts.