The artist’s latest solo show, inspired by the divergence between dreams and reality on the island, opens at MSA’s seat Palazzo de La Salle in Valletta
Dominique Ciancio is a Malta-born artist who has been working as a freelance artist between Norway and Malta for the past 10 years. His solo exhibition, titled Return Island, will feature works that are mostly influenced by the consequences of recent flight restrictions where, like many others, the artist found himself bound to the island. The resulting moments of introspection prompted an urge to paint, inspired by the idea of ‘islands’ or people surrounded by water, and how that affects the way one thinks.
“I chose Return Island as the title for this body of work because for some reason that name kept echoing in my mind while I spent more time here than in Norway during the pandemic. My memories of growing up on this Mediterranean island with its temperament and traditions intertwined with present realities of urbanisation and changing human relationships. This is what inspired many of the works,” explains Ciancio.
Running between the 6 and 27 May 2021 at the Art Galleries of Malta’s oldest art institution the Malta Society of Arts (MSA), the show will consist of a series of paintings on canvas, linen or jute which are reminiscent of theatrical scenes or acts involving fictional protagonists within their surroundings. A selected number of preparatory works will also be exhibited alongside the finished works in the galleries.
Propelled by his keen observation of local life and colourful characters, some of the works feature celebrations, more specifically how, out of habit, we may celebrate things that perhaps should not be celebrated, while the things that deserve to be celebrated are often overlooked. Ciancio admits that some works like The Sermon / Listen to Me! (Paniġierku / Ismagħni!) are the result of a good dose of irritation mixed with inspiration. “This combination gave birth to a number of works in this series. I also think that a sense of humour is crucial,” he shares. “I do laugh a lot while composing and working on the paintings, but then I like to mix different elements – the humorous, the tragic, and the dynamics between different personalities.”
Curator Marit Anette Lurås describes Dominique’s particular style of painting as “figurative yet imaginary. It reminds me especially of the storytelling in films. For Return Island we hope that visitors will enjoy walking from one scene to another much like seeing stills of a movie and being able to make up their own stories along the way.”
MSA President Arch. Adrian Mamo is proud that the MSA will be hosting its third exhibition since the beginning of the year. “Despite all the ups and downs of this pandemic, the MSA is determined to keep exhibiting high-quality art. We are taking all necessary safety measures to ensure that we accomplish our mission of supporting artists and their work,” he says.
The exhibition of paintings Return Island by Dominique Ciancio is open from 6 to 27 May 2021 and can be visited during the Malta Society of Arts’ opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm. Entrance is free subject to Covid-19 safety measures. For more information about the Malta Society of Arts and ‘Return Island’ please visit www.artsmalta.org or www.facebook.com/maltasocietyofarts.