Malta Will Have a Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for the First Time in 17 Years

The pavilion will be organized by the artists-curators Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek.

Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek. Courtesy Arts Council Malta.
Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek. Courtesy Arts Council Malta.

Malta will have a national pavilion at the Venice Biennale for the first time in 17 years. It will be organized by the artists-curators Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek, and will feature a group of artists from the Maltese Diaspora that will be announced at the end of the month.

The exhibition will be titled “Homo Melitensis: An incomplete inventory in 19 chapters,” and will be designed collaboratively by Tom Van Malderen of Architecture Project and Stefan Kolgen, who will create a “transmedia storyworld,” according to a release.

“I am delighted that Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek have been selected to curate Malta’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017,” Arts Council Malta chair Albert Marshall said in a statement.

“Their exploration of a concept related to identity promises to be relevant to both local and international audiences. Their project will also involve collaborations with other artists, ensuring that the Biennale also serves as a means to an end.”

“It is not simply an exhibition about various elements of Maltese identity,” said the curators in a statement. “It is also about the presentation of these elements in various social and international contexts; in other words, it seeks to show how cultural traditions are presented in public manifestations and internalized by a public.”

This will be the third time Malta is present in the Venice Biennale. The first time was with a group exhibition of Maltese artists in 1958, while in 1999, it participated with a national pavilion.

This occasion marks the start of a major international program of cultural activity from Malta, whose capital city, Valletta, will be the European City of Culture in 2018.

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