The Malta Independent 13 August 2022, Saturday

Artists embrace alternative ways of looking at change

Sunday, 26 June 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

‘Shifting Contexts II’ is a specific visual art project which aims to explore the critical role of art to respond to a rapidly changing world and to contribute to contemporary discourse. Eight artists and one collective will be visually representing their response to the theme ‘change’. TREVOR BORG speaks about the development of this project

Oftentimes, it's perceived that emerging artists don't have the necessary opportunities to nurture and showcase their work. How does 'Shifting Contexts II' challenge this narrative? 

Nowadays, emerging artists may avail themselves of various opportunities that are specifically designed to help them launch their work and reach new audiences. Shifting Contexts II is another important platform in this regard as it aims to encourage, mentor and promote the work of young artists through a professionally conceived and curated practice-based programme.

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If at all, how do you see this initiative evolving from the first edition back in 2018? 

Shifting Contexts II aims to expand on the highly successful concept and approach of the first edition launched in 2018. While this second iteration retains all the major aspects of the previous one, this time there is more emphasis on artist collectives. While young artists may still prefer to do it alone, we are also encouraging young people to collaborate together. Artist collectives, consisting of up to four individuals, will be able to develop and submit a collaborative project for Shifting Contexts II.

 

In the context of the project title Shifting Contexts, what brought about the choice of the theme 'change' for this edition? 

Change is all over the place - it's inescapable. Recent global phenomena have taught us that we should always be ready to embrace change. In this view we are now encouraging young people to embrace and respond to the notion of "change" in creative ways and through different approaches.

As the curator and primary mentor of this project, what are you looking for in the applicants for this programme? 

I looked for innovative, contemporary and interesting proposals based on creative research practice and alternative modes of meaning-making. Creative young people are encouraged to bring their dreams, preoccupations and aspirations together into an artistic proposal that opens up alternative ways of looking at change.

Would you consider Spazju Kreattiv a good programme for emerging artists to display their works? Why? 

Spazju Kreattiv is geographically and strategically located at the centre of artistic activity in Malta and it is indeed a privilege to get your work exhibited in such a historic and wonderful space. Spazju Kreattiv also offers a solid and professional infrastructure that will benefit young and established artists alike.

 

Why do you think that such a programme like this collaboration between Spazju Kreattiv and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ is needed in the local arts scene?

Here we have two very dynamic and significant entities working in tandem to promote the creative potential of young people. This infuses more diversified and vibrant attributes into the local art scene that allow it to keep reinvigorating and reconfiguring itself. Young people are at the forefront of visual communication and they bring with them a wealth of new ideas and novel approaches to art and design thinking and making.

Shifting Contexts' main aim is to act as a springboard for many emerging artists to pursue a career in the creative sector. Which do you think were the main improvements made in the creative sector in the past years? And what, in your opinion, are the things which still need consideration to ensure the practitioners have the necessary tools to succeed professionally? 

We've gone a long way and gigantic strides have been made in the creative sectors locally. On the other hand, we should not think that we have, even remotely, reached some sort of destination. One major aspect that needs to be given a lot more importance is art education as this is one of the most potent tools to ensure professionalism and innovation in the sector and more appreciation overall. We need more time allocated for art and creativity - much more!

'Shifting Contexts II' will be open until Sunday, 3 July at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta. For more information visit www.kreattivita.org.


Photos credit : Elisa von Brockdorff


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