First-ever museum boat makes maiden Malta stop as Art Explora Festival kicks off

47m-long catamaran hosts Art Explora Festival as it docks into Malta for its first stopover as the world’s first ever museum boat

A remarkable 47-metre long and 55-m high catamaran is hosting the Art Explora Festival as it docks into Malta for its first stopover as the world’s first ever museum boat.

The magnificent vessel designed by Axel de Beaufort and Guillaume Verdier has a capacity to welcome up to 2,000 visitors per day, and will host a unique 10-day event, which brings together Maltese and international artists, and other social stakeholders, to promote environmental sustainability, social justice, and personal well-being: from film to dance, circus arts to music, and visual arts, the festival offers over 30 initiatives and 55 activities through different mediums for the public to engage with.

Built in Italy at the PERINI NAVI shipyard and registered under the French flag, the catamaran offers an immersive experience for all who step on board, which is one of the festival’s main initiatives in collaboration with the Louvre Museum with the visual design by Graphics eMotion and sound and music by Soundwalk Collective as well as the soundscape designed by Ircam x Centre Pompidou that will take the audiences to a journey through the Mediterranean.

Also on offer are electrifying music compositions to thought-provoking productions, with each performance a powerful vehicle for storytelling and social commentary.

As part of the festival’s community outreach, workshops centred around the captivating catamaran audiovisual experience will tackle themes including cultural diversity, safeguarding of our natural ecology, and gender equality.

These workshops, tailored for children aged 6 to 11+, draw inspiration from Louvre artefacts, promoting active engagement and participatory learning. Additionally, the festival will also host the Open Book Fora, an inclusive space, where individuals share stories and explore contemporary societal issues, further enhancing the festival’s mission of promoting dialogue and action on pressing global issues.

President of the Art Explora Foundation, Frédéric Jousset said stepping onto the boat signals the start of an immersive journey where an array of artistic and cultural events will animate both on board and ashore. “This significant moment stirs anticipation, prompting us to explore new outlooks, exchange captivating visuals, and construct narratives that enrich our bond with the world.”

Daniel Azzopardi, the Artistic Director of Spazju Kreattiv and the curator of the Art Explora Festival in Malta, emphasised the diverse range of opportunities curated for the public to engage with contemporary arts. “At the heart of our mission is fostering active audience participation. Initiatives like these, which demand direct input from individuals, are pivotal in shaping ongoing social policies and strategic implementations aimed at crafting a brighter future.”

Through the shared experience of art, attendees are encouraged to transcend barriers of language, culture, and ideology, forging connections that transcend the confines of the festival grounds, with the festival challenging conventional perspectives and provokigh introspection.

Artists from around the world will converge to offer their unique interpretations of cultural diversity, environmental stewardship, and gender equality, inviting viewers to confront their assumptions and expand their horizons.

Ocean Weekend is another key component of the festival’s lineup. This innovative initiative, in partnership with local organisations, will spotlight localised oceancentric issues on March 23rd and 24th. Through panel discussions, guest speeches, film screenings, sound broadcasts, and NGO-led workshops, participants will gain diverse insights into ocean-related topics.

In its debut in Malta, the festival collaborates with the Malta Biennale and the French Embassy in Valletta, presenting interdisciplinary discussions on water politics and archival poetry. The primary objective is to disseminate ocean knowledge through an inclusive and forward-thinking programme accessible to all attendees.