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Creation From Destruction: Antoine Farrugia’s New Exhibition Of Sculptures Carved From Recycled Rocks

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Local sculptor Antoine Farrugia has returned with a new body of work, this time featuring an exhibition of sculptures made from recycled rocks.

The exhibition, titled ‘Xulliela Bajda’ is taking place at the enigmatic New Life Bar in Mqabba, in the exhibition space upstairs named ‘Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq’.

While speaking with Lovin Malta, Farrugia unveiled the intricacies of his work, and what continuously inspires him on a daily basis.

One of the truly interesting aspects of this exhibition is that the sculptures were created from recycled pieces of globigerina limestone, which were thrown away into Malta’s countryside. This inspired Farrugia into creating work that essentially repurposes these forgotten rocks, in the transformation into art.

“Right now, you can see construction waste being thrown away around all of Malta, anywhere you go you’ll find discarded rocks,” he explained.

“Discarded rocks are everywhere in this country, unfortunately, and it pains me to see such a beautiful rock get destroyed and discarded in this way, paving the way for the brick industry,” Farrugia lamented.

“Maltese rock is one of the most beautiful in the entire world, and we basically ruined it,” he said, referring to the island slowly replacing limestone with bricks and concrete.

Antoine also recalled how the globigerina limestone was initially recognised on a global level as one of the best rocks of humanity.

He also explained that the rock is also known as the “honey gold rock” as it reflects the rays of the sun in a honey-like manner.

“Through this body of work I wanted to bring out the beauty of the rock in a different manner, in fact, it was left in its natural colour,” he explained. 

The title of the exhibition resonates with Farrugia’s works, as 80% of his works are executed from recycled stones – stones where he envisions something captured in them. He considers old stones to be the best as being the whitest and the hardest.

Xulliela is the Maltese word that describes that one side of the stone which is left ‘unworked’ and raw, as this will be the side facing the inner part of the wall.

And further to this, the colour white, ‘bajda’ is directly referring to his experimentation in achieving and preserving the whiteness and true colour of the stone.

The forms of the sculptures are typically Antoine, with qualities of elegance, sensualism, while being abstract. The forms created are inspired by the form of the human figure.

In this exhibition, Farrugia is exploring a new technique in applying patina onto his forms. Following years of experimentation, and the application of tempera colour on stone, finally he managed to find a way to achieve and keep the pristine natural stone colour on his sculptures without any deterioration when applying wax and polish.

The exhibition was curated by Art Sweven. 

The exhibition launched a few days ago and will be open to the public until 15th February, at Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq in Mqabba.

You can follow the Facebook event for the exhibition here.

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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