Artist Celia Borg Cardona is being celebrated in the 27th edition of the Bank of Valletta Retrospective Art Exhibition. As she prepares for the launch of the exhibition on Friday, Borg Cardona answered a few questions for indulge.
Who is Celia Borg Cardona?
Ha. Now that’s a question! I’d better avoid the existential one. I guess as someone of a certain age, I’m many people in one. Obviously, someone who makes art, an art and culture lover, a wife, a mother, was once a pharmacist (well, technically I still am), and latterly an activist – or as a friend called it, a geriactivist.
What was your first thought when you were told you were chosen for this year’s BOV retrospective?
My very first reaction was “I’m getting old” as one tends to associate retrospectives with artists at the far end of their career. But I must admit I felt very flattered to have been asked. This annual series of retrospectives has been going on for 20 years and it is a true honour to be among such distinguished artists.
How did you go about choosing which works to exhibit?
Easy, I didn’t. BOV asked me to nominate a curator and Francesca Balzan accepted the challenge and was appointed. The choice of works for the exhibition is entirely hers. I’m a firm believer in having exhibitions professionally curated. They’re my works but it’s her exhibition. She’s done a fantastic job within the limitations of the resources given to her.
Can you describe your work in 10 words or less?
Undisciplined, messy, passionate, impulsive, preferably large.
Do you have a favourite from among your own artworks? If so, why?
This is a tough one. There’s always something wrong with any painting I do. I always tell myself the next one will be perfect. In fact, I find myself planning the next painting in my head while I’m painting the current one. I guess this is not such a bad thing as it’s what keeps me going and searching.
Which artist’s work are you most inspired by?
I am a compulsive Museum goer and see a lot of art especially while I’m away. Obviously, it all influences me though it is difficult to nail down specific names as favourites have changed over the years. I used to be a big fan of Whistler and really aspired to paint with as few a number of strokes as he did. Lately, Anselm Kiefer is one of my favourites. I love his dark, gritty, textured landscapes. But ultimately one absorbs everything and makes something which is one’s own. That is the beauty of making art. Everyone is herself. But as they say, we stand on the shoulders of giants.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Frustrated, angry, only have half a life, I’d be searching for a substitute that didn’t exist. Dare I say, unhappy?
What is the epitome of happiness for you?
There is a particular point in time when I’m painting a picture when it’s all coming together, and the bulk of the painting is still inside my head rather than the canvas. At that moment it feels like everything is perfect. That’s happiness. It doesn’t last long but I savour the moment because soon after, as I keep working, I infallibly mess things up.
Favourite colour and what it means to you?
This is a silly question… I don’t have a favourite colour! I have a favourite palette which I use most often in my paintings. These are the paints I know well as I’ve used them for years and I know exactly how the colours mix and how they work together.
What is your favourite indulgence?
A good cup of coffee and a doughnut
The Bank of Valletta Retrospective Art Exhibition featuring Celia Borg Cardona’s works and curated by Francesca Balzan will be hosted at the Gran Salon at the Auberge de Provence (National Museum of Archaeology) in Triq ir-Repubblika, Valletta. It will be open from 1 February until 4 March 2020 from 9am till 5pm every day with the last admission at 4.30pm.