Katel Delia: ‘I like knitting! Even if doesn’t sound fashionable’

Artist Katel Delia tells all in our Q&A

Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday

Living and working between Malta and Paris since 2016, Delia was selected as one of the participating artists in the Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale of 2015 by artistic director Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci. Her first solo exhibition, ‘Familja migrAzzjoni: I was born there, but I live her’ was held in 2017 at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta. In Paris, she exhibited at La Maison des Métallos with the exhibition Passeport(e) and she is also involved in the Association of Parisian Artists Network. In 2021 she was awarded the 10th CAP Prize, Contemporary African Photography Prize, for a photography series. Delia will be exhibiting an art installation with a very strong message about immigration and the death at sea of so many migrants from 16 December at Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Most of the time smile.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To always follow your intuition.

What do you never leave the house without?

Definitely cheese and chocolate! Cheese as a French is really part of my diet, and I can not have only once a day. I love to have fresh ricotta for breakfast. I love all types of gbejniet also! Dark chocolate is like a buster. I don’t eat a lot but almost every day. When I have guests at home, I prepare either a dark chocolate mousse or a chocolate fondant!

Pick three words that describe yourself

Patient, curious on different subjects, empathic.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Learning to speaking English.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I like knitting! It doesn’t sound so fashionable… When I was in Paris, I found out some of my other friends had the same guiltiest pleasure. Later on, we decided to meet in a bar and spent the whole evening knitting in public without shame! It was gorgeous, and we used to meet every month. Recently, I started to knit again on the bus in Malta.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Life can be short, spend time with people you love.

Property and cars aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My cameras followed by some artworks.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I don’t know… maybe nothing is written in advance and you can make changes in your life. At least, it is the advice I will share with the younger generation.

Who’s your inspiration?

Strong women who follow their dreams and their convictions.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Learn a foreign language.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?

I would be a writer.

Do you believe in God?


If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Josephine Baker.

What’s your worst habit?

Taking a bit long to make a choice and wanting to make more than one thing at the same time.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I have rarely been drunk… During parties I love dancing until early in the morning. People might think I am drunk, but I don’t need alcohol to enjoy dancing.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Maybe Cécile de France as we are the same age, but also because I like her in the trilogie of Cédric Klapisch films. She has interpreted various roles and acts very well. I like her smile and the positive energy she shares during interviews.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What music would you have played at your funeral?

“Le fil”, a song of Alain Souchon and definitely a rock song.

What is your most treasured material possession?

Family photographs.

What is your earliest memory?

I have a few memories from my early childhood when we used to live next to Paris before we moved to Bretagne (West part of France) at the age of three.

When did you last cry, and why?

In November at “Le festival du regard” in Cergy Pontoise, I read a text by Catherine Chaine about her relationship with her daughter with trisomy syndrome. There were also photographs of the famous Marc Riboud, her husband, being exhibited. By the time this interview will be published, I might have cried while listening to the news on the radio.

Who would you most like to meet?

Currently, I find a lot of connections in my art practice with the artist Zineb Sedira, a Franco-Algerian living in England. She uses archives materials, photographs, and video to explore identity.

She has been chosen to represent France for Venice Art Biennale 2022

What’s your favourite food?

Difficult question… Chocolate and cheese apart, I love oriental, Indian and Vietnamese food.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

To be honest, I don’t follow a lot on social media, but I am taking the opportunity of this question, to thank Melanie Erixon founder of Artsweven, also the curator of Il-Kamara ta’ Fuq. In one year, it is amazing what she has managed to achieve with Antoine Farrugia. They are really active on social media and give visibility to artists and their works.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

Each period of history has its advantages and disadvantages. I would stay in the present and try to build a better future by learning from the past.

What book are you reading right now?

Souad Labbize’s ‘Glisser sur la rampe du temps’, a collection of really powerful short stories. I hope one day it will be translated.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Eradicate racism and have a more empathic humanity.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Learn to speak Maltese.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I love the Maltese scene, Rachelle Deguara, Troffa Hamra, Djun, Brodu, Brikkuni, Michael Azzopardi.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?