The Cittadella Culture Centre, Victoria, Gozo is currently hosting Re/MARK/ABLE, a showcase of decorative, functional and wearable collections from nine Gozo-based artisans who work in various media including wood, various precious and non-precious metals, mixed media, ceramic, jewellery, glass and mosaic. The exhibition is curated by Jayne Giordanella; while the exhibition also features The UnforgettABLE Pat, an installation curated by Emma Victoria Morgan that serves as a tribute to influential textile designer and weaver Patricia Ann Holtom.
Jayne and Emma spoke to indulge.com.mt about their work on both exhibitions
What was the inspiration behind the Re/MARK/ABLE exhibition?
JAYNE: As corny as it may sound, it was a group effort. The idea of having a collective exhibition with new members was first discussed at a meeting a few years ago. Following on from that meeting, Rachel Robinson came up with the idea of the title ‘Remarkable’ and focusing on the ‘able’ elements associated with our varied crafts. We all liked that idea and I ran with that concept regarding the overall design input of the exhibition. I strongly believe we are all more than able to play to our strengths and embrace a challenge, this exhibition is about being ‘able’ to take our intrinsic skills and push them to creative limits in order to produce something remarkable.
How were the artists and their exhibits selected?
JAYNE: The artists are all professional craftsmen and women, we all have training, experience and are self-employed. No one was selected as such; this is an exhibition by all the Gozitan based members of Makers Mark Foundation, to promote and demonstrate that contemporary craft is alive and kicking in Gozo. Everybody was at liberty to produce what they wanted – this gives a very true picture of where each individual is at right now in their own creative journey within their chosen craft. Overall, this cumulatively gives the viewer an honest perspective on what is ‘contemporary’ craft in Gozo. It was my job to bring together all these individual exhibits and present them as a whole sum of many parts.
The exhibits are described as being “influenced by nature, land and sea, architecture, nostalgia, storytelling and everyday life.” Was this a conscious choice to reflect the dangers to the environment that we in fact encounter all too frequently in our everyday life?
JAYNE: No, it was not a prerequisite. However, it is highly likely a creative individual is affected sub-consciously by their surroundings, good or bad. Yet to what measure it personally manifests in one’s art, I guess the viewer can judge. Pieces in the exhibition may very well be a reflection, we are certainly always a product of our environment, it is more than probable the same applies in what we hand-produce too, whether it be consciously or sub-consciously.
What is the history and the aims behind the MAKERS MARK NGO?
JAYNE: Makers Mark Foundation was registered in 2013 as an NGO. It was established by nine founding members with an aim to promote excellence in contemporary craft, promote the sale and commissioning of original contemporary craft and to raise awareness and support of contemporary craft makers in Malta and Gozo.
Who was Pat Holtom, and what was her association with Gozo?
EMMA: Pat was a strong, fiercely independent, creative lady. She made Gozo her home in the 1960’s and she was very passionate about reinvigorating the Maltese arts and crafts markets and pushing them forward into the public eye both locally and internationally.
Why was Pat Holtom selected for this particular installation that forms part of the Re/MARK/ABLE exhibition?
EMMA: Abi my business partner and myself wanted to organise a retrospective exhibition for Pat and we actually started planning one about 18 months ago. We didn’t have any idea where or when we would hold it but we are both great believers in the fact that if you are doing something for the right reason the right opportunity will make itself apparent! We knew we wanted the exhibition to be about Pat as a person and not just about her “public” art. When Makers Mark proposed staging a showcase at the Ċittadella it seemed the natural place for our exhibition to be as Pat was one of the founder members of the group.
What attracts you about the island of Gozo; and how strongly does it influence your work.
JAYNE: For me personally I fell in love with Gozo the first time I visited 20 years ago and knew at once I could feel at home here. Why? I honestly cannot put my finger on it, it’s not tangible, economical or even geographical, there is a deep, harmonising quality which I think tugs at the heart and soul of many a creative person that either visits or lives here. If one can shut out the artificial world and focus solely on the beauty and innate tranquillity of Gozo, it cannot fail to majorly influence one’s work.
EMMA: I made Gozo my home along with my husband in 2006. My husband’s grandfather lived on the island for many years and my husband had always considered it his second home. After many years of traveling for work it seemed the ideal place to settle down and raise our family. We have two boys both born in Gozo and we are all very happy to call Gozo our home. If you live on Gozo it cannot fail to influence your artistic work, the green of spring and winter and the warm sandstone colours and especially the sea.
What are your favourite indulgences?
JAYNE: Very simply – good, honest, food, and wine… and a damn fine G&T!
EMMA: My indulgences are a good gin and tonic and a good book (and maybe an afternoon away from the gallery to enjoy both by the sea!)
Re/MARK/ABLE is being exhibited at the Cittadella Culture Centre, Victoria, Gozo until September 29, 2018. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm, Admission is free.
The project is officially endorsed by V18 – Valletta European Capital of Culture; supported by: The Ministry for Gozo & Cittadella Culture Centre; and sponsored by Ta’Mena, Lord Chambray and Cordina Steelworks.
For more information follow: www.facebook.com/MAKERSMARKMalta
Pictured above: MAKERS MARK presented to the Minister for Gozo at the inauguration represents a ‘signature’ from all the makers participating