Talking about my education | MCAST exhibition

A trio of MCAST Art and Design students will be showcasing their recent work in a collective exhibition, entitled An Educated Guess, held at 74, Splendid, Strait Street, Valletta until May 25.

Kathleen Calleja's work will focus on 'the violated body'.
Kathleen Calleja's work will focus on 'the violated body'.

The themes explored by Mariam Degiorgio, Sarah Maria Scicluna and Kathleen Calleja will be as wide-ranging as their chosen styles and materials, as the young artists will be employing painting, sculpture and drawing to explore identity, chance and the violation of the body.

Though she was born in Malta, Degiorgio lived in the Philippines for a part of her life - a fact that she believes continues to influence her artistic output, which consists of illustration and painting, with a particular emphasis on portraits, and which depicts Malta through a slightly 'skewed' lens that goes beyond the standard, tourist-friendly 'Luzzu' fare.

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Mariam Degiorgio

"Maltese culture is not just that which has been portrayed to attract foreigners...it's not just the Mosta Dome and the Blue Lagoon... it's also its people, its vices, its politics, its newspaper stories and more... maybe a less attractive side of Maltese culture, but at the same time, it's the whole of culture, not just what we like to portray, is what I think makes us truly unique. Therefore, whenever I focus on Maltese culture in my art, I don't portray the usual aspects of Maltese culture, but the forgotten or the less attractive aspects, so as to celebrate all the ways in which we are truly Maltese," Degiorgio said.

Previously a science student, fellow exhibitor Scicluna actually switched to art from science: and her quirky line art 'constructions' have something of the lab experiment about them. In fact, Scicluna herself says that she still approaches the canvas with a razor-sharp scientific eye - as if she were observing natural phenomena in a controlled environment - and this is also why her theme of choice is 'chance'.

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Sarah Maria Scicluna

"I find chance to be very fascinating, in various ways. I like to keep myself detached from the results, although ironically I enjoy setting a very strict set up for it. This arrangement usually takes the form of a scientific experiment, which I definitely got from my previous studies. I love this contrast, which emerges when experimenting with chance in this manner, the control during the process against the uncontrollable result," Scicluna said.

Employing a selection of mixed media, Kathleen Calleja presents what is perhaps the most disturbing work of the exhibition, choosing to focus on the grisly side of humanity with visuals that disort and reconfigure the human body as we know it.

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Kathleen Calleja

Setting out to explore "the connections between sex and death and abjection" by focusing on serial killers and other examples of man's inhumanity to his fellow man, Calleja however says that her aim is merely to depict "things that happen on a daily basis all around us. One can simply watch the news to witness the horrors which I depict with my works".

"The body is what is needed for a human being to live. Without it one would simply cease to exist. However, throughout the ages the human race done actions such as war and torture which violates the human body. I am interested in this paradox which takes place everyday," Calleja said.

 

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