The Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Owen Bonnici, has announced that Maltese artist Matthew Attard will be representing Malta at the prestigious 60th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia.
The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale will open on 20th April, 2024 and will continue until 24th November, 2024.
Speaking about the upcoming exhibition, Minister Owen Bonnici stated: “Established in 1895, the event that bears the name La Biennale di Venezia is a platform for the exhibition of works by international artists and is today recognized as one of the most prestigious international cultural institutions for the presentation and promotion of contemporary art.”
“This will be the first time that the national pavilion will feature a solo Maltese artist. Matthew Attard’s project for the Malta Pavilion, titled ‘I will follow the ship,’ will explore ideas of human existence and survival at the convergence point between history and the future, physical experience, and digital input,” Dr. Bonnici added.
Mary Ann Cauchi, Director of Funds and Strategy, stated: “Through Malta’s participation in the Biennale, the Arts Council Malta will strengthen Maltese art and culture on an international level, as well as promote the creative and cultural sector. Matthew Attard’s exhibition will combine Maltese cultural heritage with cutting-edge AI technology. It is an honour for the Arts Council Malta to be the commissioner and provide full support for this significant event in the world of art and culture, and the Council will continue to put Malta and its artists on the international map.”
The solo exhibition, titled “I will follow the ship” and consisting of a new commission that fuses cultural heritage and AI technology at its most advanced, will be co-curated by Italian American curator Sara Dolfi Agostini and Maltese curator Elyse Tonna, both active in the Maltese art scene through various institutional collaborations.
The interpretations and values of these anonymous seafaring symbols resonate in our present times, where computer and internet technology have facilitated artistic emancipation from traditional local centres of power. This is the starting point for Attard’s Malta Pavilion project, conceived to captivate the viewer through a technological apparatus that allows for digital interaction and collective speculation about the future. In fact, the seafaring graffiti are unique to Malta but resonate with many other cultures for whom the relationship with the sea was and still is crucial, as one can see in Venice’s own foundations. In an era of climate change, rising sea levels, and questions about humanity’s place in a hyper-technological world, these humble marks of hope, these elemental metaphors, threaded through the fabric of human knowledge, find themselves at the heart of the Pavilion’s unveiling behind the screen and the belief.
The co-curators for “I Will Follow the Ship” are Sara Dolfi Agostini and Elyse Tonna. Maria Galea and Galleria Michela Rizzo will be responsible for project management.
The members of the Evaluation Board were Perit Adrian Mamo, Artistic Director of Teatru Manoel, Valletta; Dr. Katya Micallef, Curator of MUŻA – the National Museum of Art, Valletta; and Daniel Azzopardi, Artistic Director of Spazzju Kreattiv, Valletta. The evaluation was chaired by Mary Ann Cauchi, Director of Funds and Strategy, Arts Council Malta.
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