An Educated Guess is the final show of the MCAST Art & Design BA Fine Art students happening now at Splendid, Strait Street, Valletta. This edition was put together by students Mariam De Giorgio, Sarah Maria Scicluna and Kathleen Calleja under the supervision of their tutor Teresa Sciberras, and with the assistance of Fine art lecturers Sarah Mamo, Ruth Ancilleri and Paola Giordanella.
Getting to the exhibition feels like travelling through a construction site at the moment, but it’s a different story altogether upon entering Splendid. Viewers are welcomed by Sarah Maria Scicluna’s installation; a large space featuring several drawings, little moving robots and a blurred minimal projection. At first the drawings might be mistaken for a time consuming OCD exercise by the artist, however, on closer inspection, one can identify the connection between the little robots and the drawings. The robots, constructed by Sarah Maria, are in fact the creators of the drawings themselves. The artist lets go of the control in graphical process and composition in her works.
“The approach taken is one similar to a scientific experiment; that of having controlled specific criteria set beforehand.”
By building automated mechanisms that move and draw in an aleatoric manner, the end result is always a different one. This is done by building mechanisms that are not efficient, thus resulting in a different outcome each time.”
Next are Mariam’s and Kathleen’s exhibition spaces opposite each other. Mariam’s large-scale paintings are portraits of current locals who reside in Strada Stretta. Each portrait comes with a personal narrative about particular events that happened in Strada Stretta which were experienced by the protagonists themselves. Mariam’s work is in fact the only one related specifically to Strait Street.
“Life has changed in Strada Stretta. The lifestyle, ambience, music and its people. The place is now abandoned, only being restored to house advocates and lawyers in their offices. Cafeterias found in the same street are usually jam packed with lawyers and chief justices downing hurriedly a cup of tea or having a quick snack – then racing back to their workplaces. Whenever one visits Strada Stretta one still perceives a nostalgic presence – sailors passing by, live brass music emanating from bars and some young ladies trying to sell out drinks to whoever passes by. Today it’s a different story.”
Kathleen’s pieces are much darker and the space instantly takes the viewer into a more obscure dimension. Kathleen’s work focuses on the concept of the violated body and the way humans defile and murder each other to obtain personal desire.
“The sculpture is made out of soap, with reference to the alleged Nazi use of Jewish bodies. The combination of the human and animal body parts emphasises inhumanity. Drawings are details of the human body – bones and teeth – re-interpreted into accessories, just like human beings use and abuse each other.”
“An Educated Guess” is a genuine project which, through a simple approach, communicate a thought process from the three artists onto any sensitive and keen viewer. Framed within the Splendid walls, the three bodies of work remain distinct yet unite. An educated guess about a life that was, that is and that will be.