Anna Grima: ‘Live while you have life to live. Love while you have love to give’

Artist Anna Grima tells all in our Q&A

Anna Grima is an interdisciplinary artist living in Malta, working on her painting and other research-based projects. Throughout her career, she has been known for having a portfolio of work that includes elements of energy, and complexity. Recent abstract paintings are about exploring form and colour with spontaneous, simplified rhythmic shapes and saturated hues.

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

I look out at the weather... remember my dearly departed mother, and say a prayer for earth. Then, I go into overdrive: make breakfast, shape things up, sort out priorities, and get on with it.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

In 1977, my father had told me to start signing my name in full so as not to be mistaken for a man. That’s when, A. Grima became Anna Grima.

What do you never leave the house without?

My house keys.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Tall, curly hair and friendly.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement was assisting both my parents’ transition from life to death.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Buying art from other artists.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

‘Now you see us – now you don’t.’ Live while you have life to live; love while you have love to give.

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

A piece of contemporary sculpture.

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


Who’s your inspiration?

Zen Master and Activist Thich Nhat Hanh.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Living at sea around the remote islands of Indonesia.

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

Maybe studying sustainable architecture, the science of ecology and learning about permaculture.

Do you believe in God?

I am a believer. We all have a different perspective of God. I have always searched for meaning in our world of polarities. I let my spirit guide me. My mantra is: conscious mind; healing body; boundless spirit, where I open up to wider possibilities. Who am I to doubt if there is a God? In physics, darkness does not exist by itself as a unique physical entity, but is simply the absence of light. Light can be as small or as supreme as you permit it to be.

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

It would be Lee Krasner, to share the concept on ‘harnessing the power of the sun’ translated into paintings.

What’s your worst habit?

My worst habit is bending badly.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I laugh loudly.

Who would you have play you in a film?

I honestly don’t know; someone my age with curly-ish hair is Andie McDowell... but I guess a Turkish or Irish actress would be a better match.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Violence: Physical, sexual, mental, emotional and spiritual; and the abuse of power by people in power.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Bach Prelude no 1 in C Major... and then a bit of passion at the wake, with Led Zeppelin’s ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ – which might resurrect me!

What is your most treasured material possession?

Ear-rings from my late father for my fortieth.

What is your earliest memory?

At about six months old in a carry-cot placed on a table. I looked around the room and up at a tapestry in my grandmother’s dining room, thankfully it was a nice picture. This shows me how powerful visual imagery is.

When did you last cry, and why?

I cried recently when I heard Dr. Donald Felice passed. He was a good doctor and friend; I wish I had the chance to say goodbye.

Who would you most like to meet?

Good friends and family are all I need.

What’s your favourite food?

Fresh organic salads and vegetables where food is about quality not quantity.

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

Vincente Garcia art studio. I love Raku.

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

The roaring 1920s and 30s between the wars.

What book are you reading right now?

I am reading research material on Maltese Prehistory for a historical fiction book which I am writing and illustrating.

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


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

Publish my book to contribute towards our culture through this body of work.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Jazz and ethnic music

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

My whistle is good, but singing for me is just in the shower or at most in the car. My great grand aunts used to sing in the Royal Malta Opera House – but not me, I am not gifted that way. I’ll stick to painting... with David Bowie’s songs.