Arts Council Malta announces artist for national pavilion

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Arts Council Malta announces artist for national pavilion
Matthew Attard, Stone wall study (I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP), 2023. Eye-tracking drawing, Globigerina Limestone, 56 x24 x 3 cm © Matthew Attard and Galleria Michela Rizzo.



VALLETTA.- Arts Council Malta announced that Maltese artist Matthew Attard shall be representing Malta at the prestigious 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. This will be the first time that the national pavilion will be entrusted to a solo Maltese artist. The show, entitled I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP, consists of a newly commissioned artwork weaving together cultural heritage and cutting-edge AI-driven technology and will be co-curated by Italian American curator Sara Dolfi Agostini and Maltese curator Elyse Tonna.

The youngest team to ever represent Malta at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, will present I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP, a work that incorporates contemporary drawing, cultural heritage and digital technology, originating from Attard’s latest explorations into AI and drawing technology. This is combined with his interest in historical images of ex-voto ship graffiti, vernacular iconographies which speak of ancient local tales of faith and salvation across the Mediterranean. Located on the facades of chapels throughout Malta, it is thought that the ship graffiti, ephemeral etchings in stone, were crafted by seafarers due to the religious significance and political immunity these buildings offered. This maritime graffiti resonates with many cultures whose relationship with the sea has been - and still is - crucial. The ship remains a unifying metaphor of hope for survival.

At a time of climate change, rising sea levels, and questions of people’s place in a hyper technological world, these humble marks of hope, take on a new symbolic meaning within the human consciousness. With I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP, the Malta Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2024 presents a platform to discuss notions of authorship and image-making in art, all while critically rethinking forms of agency and cohabitation to navigate the uncharted waters of the information society.

COMMISSIONER

The Malta Pavilion in 2024 is commissioned by Arts Council Malta, under the auspices of Malta’s Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government. The Pavilion is being project led by the Internationalisation team at Arts Council Malta, headed by Dr Romina Delia and supported by Dr Frank Psaila (communications) and Celine Portelli (coordinator)

The 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia shall mark Arts Council Malta’s 4th participation with its own National Pavilion since 2017, when Malta re-entered the Art Biennale with Homo Melitensis: An incomplete history in 19 chapters exhibition. Arts Council Malta also commissioned Malta’s participation in the 2019 and 2022 editions, with Maleth / Haven / Port - Heterotopias of Evocation and Diplomazija Astuta respectively.

Speaking at the local press launch, Owen Bonnici, Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, said: "This will be the first time that the national pavilion of Malta will be entrusted to a solo Maltese artist at the Venice Biennale of Art. Matthew Attard, who will also be the youngest artist to have represented Malta to date, brings his project I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP to the Malta Pavilion, exploring ideas of human existence and survival at the point of convergence between history and the future. It offers a fascinating counterpoint between the physical experience of all our lives and the intervention of the digital that is accelerating its role across everything we experience."

Artist Matthew Attard said; “It is an honour to be trusted with representing my home country at the Venice Biennale 2024 and to develop this project alongside a fantastic curatorial team. It is also a privilege to be able to design a project which departs from humble drawings of cultural significance, via technological means on such an international platform."










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