On Monday 25th June, the Embassy of Malta in Paris inaugurated Métamorphoses an exhibition of contemporary art by Maltese young artist Emanuel Bonnici. This is the first in a series of contemporary exhibitions planned to take place at new Maltese Embassy in rue d’ Artois.
Encountering the works of Emanuel is difficult not to smile, especially if you are familiar to Maltese culture. Meditating on issues of culture and identity, the work presented at this exhibition is a series of playful juxtapositions of Maltese iconic imagery: the Knight’s sentry box ‘gardjola’ is fused with a twentieth century symbol of British communication - a red telephone box while the Neolithic statue of the goddess of fertility fused with a hamburger, metaphorically used as a symbol of the McDonaldisation of contemporary life.
A number of works presented in this exhibition also reflect upon the influence of religion in Maltese culture society. Simultaneously an iconoclast and iconophilist, Bonnici’s embrace of the mediating power of the image is directed at those images that have mediated power in the West most effectively for centuries: the icon of the Madonna in the exhibition is presented built from tiny LEGO bricks, little boys dressed up for their first holy communion are substitutes to a one sided football team in table soccer game. Bonnici’s remodelling of the familiar activates the potential to think differently about how we respond to the persuasiveness of what we see. This unpredictable code blending offers the viewers a means to question the falsity of prescribed ‘identities’ and cultural habits.
The exhibition will run till the 15th July 2012 and any Maltese who happen to be in Paris during the exhibition are welcome to visit the exhibition. More information and directions how to reach the Embassy of Malta in Paris can be found on www.foreign.gov.mt/france
This exhibition is being organized with the valuable support of Express Group, MTA and Air Malta and with the assistance of Dr. Raphael Vella, Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta who is also the curator for this exhibition.