CULTURE| Wednesday, 19 March 2008
St James Cavalier in Valletta is currently hosting “Grazzi Malta”: an art exhibition of works by Olaug Vethal (1946-2007), dating from the period when she resided in Malta (1988-2007) will feature 40 works of art and other artefacts that reveal the relationship of this artist with the Maltese people whom she loved to paint.
This is the first exhibition and publication following the artist’s death on 24 February 2007.
This exhibition will reveal the stylistic changes in her art from the very first presence of the artist on the island till the very last stages of her life, during her illness.
A native of Norway, Olaug Vethal became one of Malta’s most prolific artists, known primarily for her “…movement and expressive brushstrokes… each piece is a mosaic of an endless tapestry concerned with freedom of invention.” (Dr Joseph Paul Cassar). Olaug Vethal is considered one of the major proponents of figurative expressionism that also had a touch of impressionism in so far as “capturing a moment in time” and “en plein air” painting.
Through this, she embraced the realistic depiction of everyday people and scenes in Malta, particularly village topics.
From 1964 to 1987 Vethal studied various subjects including gymnastics, music, philosophy, German, Latin, philology, history of art, printing, and fine art, at both the University of Oslo, Norway, as well as the University of Hamburg, Germany.
Vethal has also taught art at A level standard privately, as well as at the De La Salle Sixth Form between 1996 and 2007.
Olaug Vethal chose to represent the world around her in a manner of exalting the virtues of a simple lifestyle. Her favourite topics included portraits of family and friends, to bathers by the sea, tribal figures, jazz musicians, temples, boats, dancers and nude figures, primarily those of robust figure. She was ‘a Meta physical artist’ as she herself stated and her art progressed in many different ways, leading to the works of her last years where she fell ill, hence the possibility of dwelling on the philosophy of our human existence.
Grazzi Malta is on display at the upper galleries at St James Cavalier Centre of Creativity in Valletta between the 26 February and 30 March 2008.