It’s that grand AF dining hall ornament that has us humming to Sia’s hit song every time we hear someone say the word ‘chandelier’. But that’s not what artist Matthew Schembri had in mind.
An eerily beautiful chandelier made up of 1,332 bloody pens was unveiled in Valletta last night, and the motive behind it is as eye-opening as the structure’s design.
1,332 journalists were killed from 1992 to 2018. That shocking number is even more worrying when you work out it’s about 50 journalists a year.
Local artist Matthew Schembri chose to make this the focus of his project Xandelier, launched at Saint James Cavalier yesterday. It forms part of the collective art exhibition, ‘Shifting Contexts‘, curated by Dr Trevor Borg.
Matthew started off by building iron rings to create the skeleton of the chandelier and hold the pens together.
The pens were then added to the structure. All 1,332 of them; one for every journalist killed since 1992, as reported by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Each pen is filled with red ink, symbolising the blood of each slain journalist.
In a dramatic twist, the pens were then all opened, dripping onto a bowl just below the chandelier.
By the end of the evening, the art piece’s leaking aftermath turned into a highlight itself.
The project is part of the Shifting Contexts exhibition which explores the critical role of art in responding to a rapidly changing world.
Matthew earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Digital Arts in 2017 and was an artist-resident at the Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts (VCCA). The exhibition is open from December 14th 2018 to January 20th 2019 at Spazzju Kreattiv, Saint James Cavilier, Valletta.