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Homebound: Maltese Artist Makes Solo Debut In Poignant Exhibition

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Malta’s art community continues to be enriched by bright, creative minds – even in the pandemic. Emerging Maltese artist, Anna Calleja, is set to exhibit her first solo show at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts (MSA).

The exhibition, titled Homebound, will be open from 4th to 25th March.

It explores a variety of themes including comfort, melancholy, belonging and the familiar. Despite the exhibition having been long in development, these themes have become even more poignant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her debut on the Maltese art scene comes after Calleja has spent three years reading for a BA in Fine Art at Falmouth University in Cornwall.

As the pandemic continues to inspire artists, Calleja is no different. In March 2020, she was forced to pack up all her belongings and take a homebound flight to Malta. In the mandatory two weeks quarantine, Calleja captured her sense of unease and claustrophobia in her piece Alone in Quarantine.

 

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A post shared by Anna Calleja (@annacallejapaints)

The piece perfectly captures the notion of being homebound, to return home yet also to be confined at home, a place that becomes both your haven and your cage.

It is due to this, that Alone in Quarantine was awarded the Windsor & Newton Young Artist Award: Second Prize.

Calleja has noted that whilst her work is “autobiographical, recurring themes run throughout the work – from the personal to the political.” This matches the main inspirations for the collection which included drawing sources from current affairs, literature and music.

“One such motif is sleep. I use sleep as a metaphor to reflect on our time” Calleja stated. “It is an escape and an in-between passive state. While the world grows ever more turbulent, divisive and moves steadily towards climate crisis, we sleep on.”

 

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A post shared by Anna Calleja (@annacallejapaints)

The pieces throughout the exhibition have also drawn from Calleja’s own notions of comfort, including childhood fairy tales, cursed sleep, lost shoes and misted mirrors. All of which have become themes illustrated through the prints and paintings on display.

Reflection in Mirror is one perfect example of Calleja's work capturing key inspriations she has drawn from

Reflection in Mirror is one perfect example of Calleja's work capturing key inspriations she has drawn from

Adrian Mamo, President of the MSA, commented on the importance for artists to express what society feels and experiences through the work they create – especially in times like this.

Mamo went on to state that “visitors will relate to the rawness and honesty of Anna’s works as they explore the soft textures of home, the contemplative feelings evoked by confinement and the little things that mark our daily domestic life.”

For more information about Homebound, you can check out Calleja’s personal website alongside her full collection of work or check out the MSA’s website here.

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