INTERVIEW – “We Don’t Want This To Be Just Another Exhibition”

Attakk is an art exhibition currently being held at the Old Power Station on the Valletta Waterfront.  It is made up of 11 different pieces of art from 11 students who are pursuing a course in Fine Arts at the University of Malta.  These students are Magdalene Mizzi, Charles Zammit, Anthea Camenzuli, Aimee Galea, Lara Anne Vella, Maria Catania, Martha Cutajar Penza, Ray Axiaq, Samuel Casha, Sarah Portelli and Sephora Baldacchino, and they have combined different ideas and mediums to bring a vibrant, and yet somewhat dark in theme, exhibition.  The venue, the now derelict Old Valletta Power Station, which by the day doubles up as a car park for workers, adds a dystopic touch to the exhibition as well.


The Yuppie met up with two members of the team, Magdalene Mizzi and Samuel Casha, and sat down with them to ask a few questions about the exhibition.



What is the exhibit about?


Magdalene: The exhibit is centered around a mix of social, political and economic aspects, all of which attack the institution in our country.  Some of these issues for instance include immigration, over-development, the political crises in Malta at the moment, media and corruption as well.


What inspired this exhibition?


As described in the brief for this event; the exhibition is inspired by the DaDa Art Movement.  This movement finds its roots in the early 20th century, right around the period when Europe was reeling from the worst conflict it had ever seen, in World War One.  In light of this, Dadaism doesn’t focus on aesthetically pleasing events, but more on attacking concepts – such as nationalism and materialism, which the artists back then saw as the main causes for the war.


Magdalene: We started discussing this idea around the period of the [last] general election, and that became our inspiration for attacking the issues in this exhibition.  More current events have brought these things to a boiling point, a bit like a festering wound, that resulted in even more discussion and in the end, this exhibition.


Samuel, whose piece of art focuses on over-development: Before thinking of something to attack, I took the ferry between Sliema and Valletta, and on each side of me I had two different scenes. I ended up drawing a comparison in the design of each side, seeing how Valletta is much more cultural and traditional in its design, whilst Sliema is much like a concrete jungle.



Why did you choose ‘Attakk’ as the name?


Magdalene: The names comes from wanting to attack the institutions and to show them that we will not be silent for whatever reason. The art itself is very violent, and the closing performance will reflect this, and will be almost war-like in its nature.


What was the process of creation for these exhibits?


Magdalene: We first each looked at what was bothering us politically or economically or such, and tried to centre our work around that.  Basic ideas then became sketches, and then we each used those to try find the easiest medium to display the emotion or ideology on that particular subject.  The medium chosen depends on the artist and their ability with different mediums; but the choice also considers the audience and the want to display their message in the most direct way.


Samuel echoed these words when asked, saying that in his case it was a trial and error of different ideas, trying to strike a balance with what is logistically possible and what is still starkly direct.



What do you want people to take home from this exhibition?


Magdalene:  We want to display our message as loudly and clearly as possible and we want the audience to reflect on the work/  The art won’t be there to spoonfeed people, but at the same time if the viewer thinks hard enough, he will be able to associate the art with the different subjects at hand.  The end goal is to make people think more critically when they are faced with something.


Samuel: We don’t want this to be just another exhibition that people will easily forget.  We want it to be eye-catching and to be something that sticks in the mind of the person.  I don’t agree with the notion that art should be made just for art’s sake – but I believe that it should be about conveying a message and about social conciousness as a whole.


The Exhibition runs from 10am till 9:30pm both today and tomorrow, Sunday.  Sunday will also see a closing performance, which starts at 8pm.