House of Dreams – a Collective Exhibition at Palazzo De Piro

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Palazzo De Piro in Mdina will be hosting an exhibition entitled Collective Exhibition – House of Dreams from this Friday until November 30.

The exhibition features the work of four people: two women and two men, two from Malta and two from abroad. Maltese Sculptor John Mayl and artist Matthew Micallef; artist Kaissa Traore from Guinea, West Africa, and German photographer Eva Fekete.

What brings them together is this tiny little island and their love of art and the dreams. asked the artists the same questions… and here are their answers

What is it about dreams that is so fascinating to everyone?

John Mayl (JM): Dreaming is one of the most mysterious and interesting experiences in our lives. During the Roman Era some dreams were even submitted to the Roman Senate for analysis and dream interpretation. They were thought to be messages from the gods. It is also known that many artists have received their creative ideas from their dreams.

Eva Fekete (EF): Fascinating, mysterious, fearful, ecstatic… Sometimes dreams are more vivid than reality. Is reality truly all that you wake up to in the morning – bathroom, breakfast, kids to school, work etc? Maybe our everyday life is the dream, a constantly repeating dream where the mind and the body can relax after walking all the way up on the nowhere-to-go steps, flying over the red-grass fields of reality. Maybe in real life you are two cats looking at each other – one who sits behind the window and glances at the reflection of other-you on the glass…

Kaissa Traore (KT): Dreams allow us to have plans for a positive future and to invite alternative futures. Much of the world is not good and we all need to dream the world differently. All of us have something to contribute, I dream futures centered on me being from Africa, living in Europe, and travelling around the world

Matthew Micallef (MM): I feel that the realm of dreams is a reality of conscious experience common to all human beings that is separated from our wakeful state by a very thin but definitive veil. It is the dwelling place of the subconscious mind that encapsulates all possibility of what has been, what is, and what will be – the infinite. But notice how delicate this veil is; upon waking up after a dream, as you get out of bed, before your feet hit the floor, you find yourself grappling to remember what it was you were dreaming of. Like sand slipping through your fingers! Mind-blowing!

How do you capture the essence of dreams through your work?

JM: As Borges Said “”All art is perhaps a form of dream,” My work can easily be related to dreams. One of the paintings entitled Peace – this is most people’s dream. An other one entitled Flower of life. Life itself is a dream or for some could be a nightmare as in the 3rd Painting entitled Auschwitz.

EF: One like to think that one can see the objective facts on a ’raw’ photograph as they are! But no, the camera is the biggest liar ever! You can show what you want with it, even if these are dreams, even if you want to show pictures from the borders of reality. You don’t need Photoshop either because the pictures of the other world are around us. And I am looking for these pictures.

If I leave the camera and the lenses out of photography and just let the light play on the light-sensitive paper – as I did with the exhibited photograms – the real world will be more blurry and questionable.

KT: My painting capture my dreams of a positive future for Africa, my country Guinea, and for African woman. My pictures depict the different images of women, as women make such a large contribution to African society, and to all societies including Malta. My paintings show women working, carrying things on their heads, depicting the burden they have, but they also show bright colours, movement and joy, depicting the positive future I dream for women of my country.

MM: Since we are dealing with the realm of all possibilities it depends on the subject and emotion that one receives through this realm. There have been instances where I have been able to keep a little journal or sketch pad close by my bed just in case anything comes through. The challenging part is to wake up quickly and calmly so as not to lose the concept, and write some key words down that will trigger the concept the following morning; or if there is enough focus at the time of receiving the idea I will just sketch out just enough to be able to recall the concept clearly.

What do you hope viewers will take away from this exhibition?

JM: Hopefully they will appreciate art more and find the courage to practice some form of art themselves and even exhibit eventually.

EF: I hope they leave enough time for the pictures to work their effect on them. Any kind of effect, a thought, an emotion, a memory… Not just scroll images, as we do in everyday life but to feel and travel with them.

KT: I want viewers to go away thinking about the positive contribution we can all make to Malta, including people from all over the world such as me, from Guinea, but who lives in Malta. I want people to take away a positive image of Guinea and the part women play in Guinean society. I want them to think about art as a cultural activity which conveys dreams and concepts.

MM: More than the artwork itself: that is to inspire others to train the mind and learn to bring back useful and helpful information from the ethereal realm into the physical realm, that we may slowly change old ways that are redundant; into new growth and conscious awareness.

And finally, a word from John Mayl, who organised the exhibition. “From the tender age of three I was passionate about painting and also enjoyed craft work as well,” he says. “I always looked at art as being some kind of magic. Try to imagine our world without any form of art. Art changes over the years and is evolving continuously. My passion for art is everlasting.

“At the age of 17 I was the first person in Malta to start making faithful replicas of the artifacts found in our unique Neolithic sites across Malta, among other items. Apart from being a sculptor I paint from time to time. I have always enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life and thought that now it was about time to have my first exhibition of paintings together with Eva, Matthew, and Kaissa, who in the majority are also exhibiting for the first time.

“Exhibitions are important for artist to get their work seen by a larger audience and to share with other fellow artists. For us living artists, seeing our work being exhibited and viewed hopefully by many, can allow us to understand whether our work goes down well or not. Not that one should be populistic in any way, however, because our art is an extension of ourselves and it is irrelevant, i believe, whether it is liked or not. That said, i have no doubt we will learn a lot from this exhibition and thus our art will continue to evolve.”

Collective Exhibition – House of Dreams will be exhibited at Palazzo De Piro, 3, Triq Is-Sur Mdina, from this Friday until November 30. For further infomation visit the event Facebook page 


Paula Fleri-Soler

Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.

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