Life Still is silver lining in Drake’s dark clouds

LIFE STILL is the first initiative put together by mAndraKe creations, co-founded by Amanda and Drake.

LIFE STILL is the first initiative put together by mAndraKe creations, co-founded by Amanda (right) and Drake
LIFE STILL is the first initiative put together by mAndraKe creations, co-founded by Amanda (right) and Drake

The exhibition LIFE STILL, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Friday 8 December, is a first for the wonderfully evocative and intricately labyrinthine vaults of the Auberge de Castille; but also the first exhibition for both Kevin Drake and his partner and companion Amanda, as well as Drake’s first ever public foray in this particular sphere of the visual arts in nigh on 50 years.

Drake is better known to the Maltese public for over 30 years as a broadcaster, journalist, actor and director, one-time musician, writer and sometime satirist, columnist, political activist and communications specialist, amongst others, with little or no direct connection to the world of paints and painters, canvas and colours, pen, ink, clay, chisels, wood and stone. 

And yet, here is an eclectic and diverse exposition of works – almost 140 pieces in all – in what is undoubtedly one of the most stunningly unique and fitting venues for such initiatives. 

The works that are to be on display for the duration of the exhibition (until 14 December) incorporate a good number of paintings, drawings and sculpture created over the past two years. However both artists will also be exhibiting a number of pieces ranging over a period of three decades and more.  

Having no formal training to speak of, Drake was nonetheless initiated at a very early age into the fantastical, other-wordly dimension of all that is ‘Art’, by his uncle, mentor and hugely influential, larger-than-life artist & ‘guru’, Antoine Camilleri.

There on in followed a lifelong fascination with everything and anything connected in some way with the processes of creativity, the explorations of the mind, the eternal obsession with that which we call the Human Condition.  Detailed ink drawings appeared to be Drake’s favoured and almost exclusive ‘style’ for many a year, though in more recent times Colour & Colours have evidently been re-discovered with a vengeance. 

For the past seven years Drake has been battling with a progressive-degenerative, neuro-immune disease – M.E. – a condition which has obliged him to severely curtail most involvements and responsibilities, including professional commitments, the theatre, TV, writing and so on and so forth.

Silver linings do come along with even the blackest and most stubborn of clouds, though, and in this particular case it was the opportunity and possibility to explore painting, drawing, sculpting and all aspects of creativity with much more freedom and in more depth than ever before.

The end results so far, can be witnessed and judged accordingly by whoever visits LIFE STILL.

Amanda, on the other hand, was formally trained for a number of years in the U.K., then in Malta, and is by her partner and co-exhibitor’s own definition and description: “...the real artist in this partnership. I’m a big fan, in the most genuine way possible, and have been since before I even first said ‘Hello!’ ”. 

Having lived in Malta for most of her adult life, Amanda has created a name for herself locally and abroad not only as a talented painter and portrait artist, but also as an imaginative and creative designer, as well as having her own lines of exclusive and unique puppets, (Threadbear puppets) and bespoke soft furnishings (Kush N’Cover).

Painting, drawing and sculpture, though, remain Amanda’s principal passions, with the LIFE STILL exhibition being the ideal showcase for displaying her many and diverse artistic attributes and talents for the first time.

LIFE STILL is also the first initiative being put together by mAndraKe creations, co-founded, as the name implies, by Amanda and Drake. The exhibition is being supported by a grant from the Malta Arts Fund, amongst others.

LIFE STILL – an Exhibition of paintings, sculpture, drawings by DRAKE, including a selection of works by AMANDA, runs until the 14 December 2014, @ the Vaults, Auberge de Castille, VALLETTA (entrance from Merchants' street).


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