Street art revolution in the capital

The organisers said that owing to their connections in Sweden, the festival will also have a strong Swedish element. 

Odeith - Portugal
Odeith - Portugal
Vera Bugatti - Italy
Vera Bugatti - Italy

Expanding from the Sliema Street Art Festival, this year the celebration of graffiti and its associated sub-cultures will move to Valletta under the ‘Malta Street Art Festival’ banner, taking place over July 24-26 and boasting local and international street artists, along with musical performances and a focus on extreme sport. 

Since 2013, the Malta Street art Festival organisation, in collaboration with the international art agency ‘Add More Colors’ and two local friends Lara Catania and Jean Marc Galea, have been the driving force behind the Sliema Street Art Festival. This year the same team moved to Valletta to organize Malta Street Art Festival.

“Historically, street art festivals were hosted in hidden industrial areas where a very long wall packed up with artists was the main attraction, and one artwork started where another stopped. Quite the eyesore if you ask us,” the organisers of the Festival said, adding that this ghettoized approach to street art however understandably stemmed from a need to ‘hide’ the necessary work of street art from the authorities. 

“Our ambition was to place the most prominent street artists of our time in an environment that can match the beauty of their craft. Street art is best seen in the context of its surroundings, and so we’re working hard to provide a creative platform where the artist can work freely and have their imagination set the only limitations,” the organisers added. 

Stressing their interest to collaborate with the Valletta business community and surrounding bars and entertainment establishments, the organisers said the festival area will span the coast of Marsamxett harbour (Triq il-Lanca), starting from just off Valletta Waterpolo Club and continue to Jews Sally Port, near Fort St Elmo.

It will feature a main (Alternative rock) stage; a smaller stage for Hip Hop, unplugged, downtempo and open mic performances, a burlesque area by Tico Tico; The colloseum with street football and thaiboxing fights; the beach area with water activities and great music; an art walkway filled with artworks and handcraft by both local and international artist; an exhibition area by Add More Colors, a kids area and the Alternative world, which will including in it Malta Comic Con, GoodCleanFun skatepark, Knights themed battlefield and the main stage by Hedon Crew.

“The theme of this years festival is ‘Knights of Valletta’ which will be reflected in several artworks, in the decorations of the festival as well as the ‘battlefield’,” the organisers said, adding that however, “all walls in Valletta are under the microscope by Mepa and as a result, all walls painted during the festival will only remain on display for the weekend of the festival, as soon as the festival is over they will all be painted over”.

The organisers said that owing to their connections in Sweden, the festival will also have a strong Swedish element. 

“For next year our aim is to include bands into the exchange and bring a Maltese band over to play on our Swedish festival,” they said. Speaking about foreign participation in general, the organisers said that international artists are attracted to Malta “not only because we have such a high level of VIP artists, but also because Malta offers something different. As a matter of fact, Malta is unique, and the combination between an ocean of available walls to paint and the midterranian beauty makes Malta a one of a kind destination for street artist.”

Water and extreme sports activities forming part of the festival will include, wall climbing on the bastions, abseiling, a zip line, a full skate and BMX park (including a ramp that goes into the sea), diving lessons, a blob, Thaiboxing, street football, a ‘battlefield’, slacklines and more.

Prior to the festival’s official launch date on July 24 though, a warm-up event at Jerma Palace Hotel, Marsascala, take place under the festival’s auspices on July 22. “The aim is to transform the dead buildings into a beautiful outdoor exhibition. During the warmup we’ll have music, a bar, food, a small skatepark and a DJ,” the organisers said.

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