Alexandra Aquilina: 'My greatest achievement? Surviving the Berlin winter for seven years'

Artist Alexandra Aquilina tells all in our Q&A

Alexandra Aquilina is a Maltese Berlin based multimedia artist and printmaker whose colourful and vivacious work is a celebration of popular culture and everyday objects. Through techniques such as screen printing and found sculpture, she challenges the status quo in art and society with a keen sense of irony and satire. Her work is self-aware and deeply introspective, inviting viewers to reflect on the duality of nature, humanity, and spirituality. Aquilina’s art draws on visual themes that are distinctly Maltese and Mediterranean. The island’s rich culture and symbolism are celebrated in her work, which takes inspiration from prehistoric pagan temples, folkloristic and superstitious beliefs, Catholic art, and iconography, intermingled with international elements of pop culture and media. She is currently debuting her first solo show - SHRINE - in the Camerone at MUŻA, Valletta. The exhibition is curated by Lisa Gwen and features extra-large format screen prints and playful experiments with light and three-dimensional materials.

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

Cuddle Cookie my black panther and sleep a bit more.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

If at first you don’t succeed, brush yourself off and try again.

What do you never leave the house without?

My house keys… well, most times.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Permanently, exhausted, pigeon.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Surviving the Berlin winter for seven years.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I don’t feel guilty about that which gives me pleasure. Happiness is not a sin.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Everybody is winging it.

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

In the age of an ongoing economic crisis, it would have to be a measly iPad, which was even more expensive than my motorbike.

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

You are beautiful and perfect.

Who’s your inspiration?

Artistically it would have to be Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Damien Albarn.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Washing my hair.

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

Working in catering – a driven high intensity creative environment surrounded by food and booze.

Do you believe in God?

I believe in a higher power that goes beyond human comprehension

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

Drew Barrymore. We could have a birthday dinner together.

What’s your worst habit?

I’m messy and chaotic.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Messier and more chaotic

Who would you have play you in a film?

Aubrey Plaza would play a young me and Natasha Lyonne an older me.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Ignorance and laziness posing as expertise and busyness.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Iris by Goo Goo dolls.

What is your most treasured material possession?

Does my cat count? He’s made of matter, no?

What is your earliest memory?

My grandma ‘saving’ the washing machine water and invertedly creating a mesmerising waterfall from the washroom to the ground floor when I was three years old.

When did you last cry, and why?

Just a while ago out of frustration. Crying is an excellent way to vent.

Who would you most like to meet?

Myself in five years’ time… or Dolly Parton.

What’s your favourite food?

ALL.THE.FOOD. (Except Bounty)

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

Daniel Borg aka Superlove.

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

70s New York.

What book are you reading right now?

All Of Her Sex by Marina Warner.

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

Infinite time…

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

Take a day off.

What music are you listening to now?

The curated soundtrack for my solo exhibition Shrine.

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

I work out to cooking shows. It’s a great motivator.