‘From Illustration to Book’: the exhibition at the Malta Book Festival 2022

The National Book Council and Arts Council Malta announces that the exhibition From Illustration to Book will take centre stage at the Malta Book Festival 

The exhibition From Illustration to Book will take centre-stage at the Malta Book Festival from 23 to 27 November at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre (MFCC) in Ta’ Qali.

“The exhibition is the result of the collaboration between the National Book Council and Arts Council Malta, borne from the ambition of both cultural entities to strengthen professional networks and subsequently increase opportunities for the creative community,” the National Book Council said.

From Illustration to Book bridges visual arts with literature and will provide a showcase for those illustrators and graphic designers working in and around the publishing industry as part of the effort to provide more opportunities for professional and creative development, more accessibility to books and publishing for varied audiences, and attract the attention of foreign publishers seeking new ideas.

The NBC said that 360 square metres of exhibition space provided curator Dr Nikki Petroni with the freedom to create different spaces tailor-made for the presentation of five thematic sections.

“The main section of the exhibition will be dedicated to contemporary book illustrations and designs, chosen following an open call for proposals. The work of fourteen artists will be showcased with their more recent work on book covers and illustrated books, such as children’s books.”

A section within the exhibition will also be dedicated to showcasing selected artworks forming part of the second volume of the Malta Illustration Annual 2022 by the Malta Community of Illustrators, which is supported by MCAST Research.

The role of MCOI is to bring together and promote professional illustrators, to push the use of illustration as an effective communicational tool, and to provide education on the subject.

The Malta Illustration Annual 2022 will be launched at the Malta Book Festival and is sponsored by the National Book Council. It offers a broad spectrum of commercial and publishing illustrations and other personal projects, all chosen by a panel of distinguished judges. The works of Gataldo, a special guest of the Malta Book Festival, will be featured in this section, among over 20 other works.

The NBC said the special focus sections would be dedicated to three Maltese personalities: household name Trevor Żahra, who, alongside writing his well-known stories for both children and adults, has also illustrated many of his books; the late Mario Azzopardi, a pioneer of new wave literature in Malta, who also introduced new designs in his collections; and Maltese-American cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco, best known worldwide for his comics journalism. Prints of some of their illustrations will be exhibited alongside the books showcasing their artistic work.

A special section of the exhibition will also be dedicated to the illustrations of four groups of characters that have marked the childhood of many Maltese children across generations: Kunċett u Marinton, illustrated by Trevor Żahra; Fra Mudest by Frank Schembri and Alexandra and Wallace Casingena; the cats in Il-Qtates ta’ max-Xatt (The Cats by the Shore) illustrated by Lisa Falzon; and Steve Bonello’s Ir-Ronnie.

“A selection of books will also be showcased that were designed and illustrated by Mal- ta’s leading twentieth-century artists between the inter-war period and the 1980s, the likes of Alfred Chircop, Emvin Cremona and Gianni Vella,” the NBC said.

As part of the collaboration with the National Book Council, Arts Council Malta will be organising a series of Meet the Artist sessions, panel discussions with some of Malta’s leading book illustrators and publishers, and an information session on their funding strategy.

The full programme of events for the 2022 Malta Book Festival will be published in the coming weeks. For the latest updates, follow ktieb.org.mt and artscouncilmalta.org and the National Book Council and Arts Council Malta social media pages.