[WATCH] St James Cavalier launches international visual arts festival

First edition of Valletta International Visual Arts Festival, taking place in September, promises “long-term benefits” for local arts scene.

VIVA Artistic Director Raphael Vella (centre), St James Cavalier Chairman Rupert Cefai (third from left), with Culture and Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius
VIVA Artistic Director Raphael Vella (centre), St James Cavalier Chairman Rupert Cefai (third from left), with Culture and Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius
Owen Bonnici launches the Valletta International Visual Arts festival • Video Ray Attard

The official programme for VIVA – the Valletta International Visual Arts Festival 2014, being organised for the first time between 1 and 7 September, was launched today during an event on the roof terrace of St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta.
The programme was launched by Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici, who said that, “In the context of celebrations leading up to Valletta 2018, it is essential to develop the creative sector, particularly the visual arts, which have suffered from various lacunae throughout the years. We feel that such a transformation can only occur through projects that envisage long-term benefits for various stakeholders, including the public – VIVA is an excellent example of our commitment towards the creative sector on the Maltese Islands.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport Chris Agius said that involving youth in the festival is of particular importance, adding that culture will form a key part of the soon to be announced National Youth Policy.

Owen Bonnici said that art should not just be about the present, but more importantly about the legacy it leaves behind.

"This government supports this project wholeheartedly because it encompasses a long-term vision and promotes art, which is essential to a full, enriching life," Bonnici said.

Raphael Vella, Artistic Director for VIVA, also remarked that, “VIVA will serve as a new platform for Maltese and International Visual arts practitioners, while offering a professional education in the arts and promoting public participation in the arts.”

Vella emphasised the unique importance of the festival for Malta, given that it will be based entirely on visual arts, while adding that more importantly, the festival would aim to have a long term impact on the local sector.

"One of the ways in which we can do this is by sending Maltese artists abroad. But we will also be inviting foreign guests of a certain caliber, to mingle with the local scene and leave their input," Vella said.

The programme promises an exciting line-up of locally and internationally renowned visual artists including Mieke Bal, Democracia, Austin Camilleri and JP Azzopardi amongst others. During this week, Malta’s first Curatorial School – an intensive one-week curatorial programme with international speakers from various European institutions will also be held in collaboration with the Valletta 2018 Foundation.

VIVA will also bring to the fore local young emerging artists through Divergent Thinkers, being co-organised in collaboration with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ – an exhibition which presents contemporary artistic practices by young Maltese artists that explore divergent thinking.

VIVA is being co-organised by St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Arts Council Malta, the Valletta 2018 Foundation and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ. Further information can be found on www.viva.org.mt

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