The Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale
, with APS Bank as Main Partner, will take place from 13 November 2015 to 7 January 2016 in the historic, medieval walled city of Mdina, Malta. Set against the extraordinary backdrop of the citys baroque architecture evident throughout its winding streets, palazzos, chapels and, of course, St. Paul's Cathedral it will enable a stimulating modern environment in which works of art by artists from diverse cultural backgrounds are displayed together under one central theme: Christianity, Spirituality and the Other, 'The Other' standing for faith and non-faith, belief and nonbelief, theist and atheist, agnostic and polytheist.
Launching just days ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, hosted by Malta, the Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale will be an important cultural focus for the country, an island state in the Mediterranean Sea that has historically served as a bridge between North Africa and Europe.
The Mdina Biennale traces its roots back to the previous Christian and Sacred Art Biennale of the 1990s, and the forthcoming 2015 event will radically widen its creative spectrum. The thematic approach is profoundly important, playing a central role in the overarching conception of the Artistic Director, Dr. Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci to establish the Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale as a spiritual space of and for creativity The Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale has taken a radical new direction, evolving from the first such event, Contemporary Sacred Art in Malta of 1994, and the subsequent exhibitions entitled Contemporary Christian Art, which took place in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005.
The 1994 event ambitiously underlined the notion of museums as depositories housing the results of cultural achievements attained by man's will-power extending itself in all directions that emerge from human intelligence. The 1996 Biennale concentrated on creating a further development of the Sacred more closely linked with a definite characteristic of our cultural background. Constant Dialogue was the central theme in 1998: The widespread evaluation of the constant dialogue between the artist and the world around him. The 2000 exhibition focussed on the end of the present Millennium...and the long stretch of innumerable decades and revolving centuries of Christian existence, while both 2002 and 2005 defined sacred, or spiritual, art as the summit of religious art and emphasised its connection with the artist's noble ministry.
The 2015 Biennale will expand these various parameters, positing a bold declaration that all art is spiritual, in the sense that creative depiction, actions and events, through their intrinsic character, reflect the individual's relation with reality, and with his or her own existence. Hence such creative acts are necessarily spiritual, independent of their ostensible devoutness, independent of a faith or lack of faith, independent of their allegiance to any particular faith, or to none.
The Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale will open with a classical concert on a grand scale performed by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, within Mdinas central cathedral itself, a place in which no such event has ever taken place before. A series of concerts, performances, seminars and lectures will run throughout the duration of the biennale. A full programme will be issued in due course.