Exhibition held by Sara Pace and Xaxa Calleja at the Fortress Builders Interpretation Centre, Valletta in February - March 2016
This exhibition was the culmination of two separate periods of artistic study by both myself and Xaxa Calleja, while at the Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan and at the Camden Arts Centre, London respectively.
The concept behind it was to bring about awareness of the trans-formative nature of an artist's residency for the artistic career of an artist. It is a time spent focusing on one's own work, creating, as well as mingling with other artists on an international level thus bridging cultural backgrounds and informing the artist on contemporary work within the international art scene.
We both felt that there were artistic parallels taking place in the work we were separately producing whilst abroad, and thus upon arriving in Malta we started discussing the possibility of holding a duo exhibition within the local context. The practice of artists co-working to create further works is not a new concept, and even though in this case there was not a conscious link before we came across one another's work, we were both going through difficult personal times at the working stage of these artworks. This can be seen expressed in our then separate methods employed, that link and resonate, even if in their own particular ways.
The fact that natural objects were at the basis of our influence towards the creation of our final pieces, as well as the very opposing landscapes we were faced with everyday creates a very particular affinity in our contribution, especially when seen as a whole.
The works conducted during a residency or artistic study period are part of a soul searching experience where the artists immerse themselves into their work without any other preoccupations or responsibilities, this allows one to focus, and experiment without inhibition, aiming to find that zone of expression and interaction with like-minded individuals. As well as meeting new people, methods and artworks which may veer one’s artistic direction, one is able to seek one's own voice to express oneself. Thus once one has had this experience and placed such input into the creation of these works it is only understandable that one would wish to exhibit the works, particularly in the artist’s own local environment.
The pieces which both Xaxa and I have exhibited are works stemming from a natural source, imbued with mystical undertones and a moving energy. There works vary both in imagery as well as size, but the linking thread of nature's resources was palpable in every work. The exhibition was comprised of paintings, drawings, photography as well as videography exhibiting the artists’ development and thought transition throughout the month spent away. We both presented artists’ talks to discuss our experience with other artists and interested students in various spaces, as well as at the exhibition space itself.