Gozitan artist Mario Agius’s exhibition titled Il-Ħajja is opening this Thursday 28 April for three weeks at the Malta Society of Arts’ (MSA) seat Palazzo de La Salle in Valletta. The exhibition, which is curated by Elyse Tonna, will showcase a collection of 36 pieces carved in olive wood, mulberry and oak wood, and also in Gozitan hard stone and the Italian marbles of travertine and Carrara.
“Through this collection, I want the viewers to reflect upon and appreciate all the beauty and life that still surrounds us, and I believe that art is the perfect language to do this,” remarks Agius, reflecting upon the themes of the exhibition. “Il-Ħajja is also an opportunity for me to share my sculptural works with the public and incorporate them with the heritage of Palazzo de la Salle and its long legacy of influential artists who have also exhibited there.”
Agius’ abstracted figurative works all speak of humanity in one way or another. The title Il-Ħajja reflects his desire to convey the different phases of every person’s journey here on Earth, in which happiness and joy, sorrow and human tragedies, shape our struggles.
Describing his creative process, Agius says that it all begins with an urge to create. “Then, ideas and themes start going through my head, so I produce some simple sketches and studies in charcoal. Next comes the search for the right material to express the idea in a three-dimensional format.
“A single sculpture can take two weeks to finish but sometimes also years,” he adds. “I normally work on three different sculptures simultaneously, so my studio is full of works in progress, where trunks and marble fill the space, waiting for my intervention to liberate the entrapped souls and forms.”
All of Agius’ works transmit strong emotions in a poetic yet earthly manner. MSA Vice President Roderick Camilleri is pleased to finally see this exhibition open. “The exhibition was originally meant to take place in 2020, but the pandemic meant that it was delayed by two years,” he explains. “The artist, however, took advantage of this situation to delve deeper into his creative search, and develop his entrancing oeuvre, articulating the alluring conversation between the artist and his artistic process.”
Il-Ħajja will be inaugurated on Thursday 28 April by Hon. Clint Camilleri, Minister for Gozo, with an introduction by Mr Joseph F. X. Zahra.
Il-Ħajja by Mario Agius and curated by Elyse Tonna is on between 28 April and 19 May 2022 at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts’ seat Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta. Opening Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm. Entrance is free subject to Covid-19 safety measures. For more details please visit www.artsmalta.org or www.facebook.com/maltasocietyofarts.