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The Mill Art, Culture and Crafts Centre, Birkirkara
Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta (2019)

Curators and Co-Creative Directors: Elyse Tonna and Raffaella Zammit
Sound Artist: Wen Chin Fu
Exhibition and Illustration Design: Elyse Tonna
Ceramicist: Andrea Pullicino
Programming (Tech.): Marvin Zammit
Organisations/Companies: Gabriel Caruana Foundation (MT), Instrument Inventors Initiative (NL), Mighty Box (MT), 

Participants: Aimee Camilleri, André Cassola, Andre Paul Huber, Angele Galea, Ann Mifsud Depasquale, Annalise Falzon, Azara Xuereb Seidu, Calum Galea, Carlo Rossi, Caroline Spiteri, Chloe Domansky, Christine Rossi, Christine Xuereb Seidu, Elena Portelli, Ella M. Borg, Emily Farrugia O'Neill, Emma Muscat Foden, Emma Scerri, Ethan Galea, Faith Borg, Federica Chetcuti, Giuseppi Martell Petersen, Greta Muscat Azzopardi, Isaac Psaila, Jake Cojocaru, Johanna La Rosa, John Mifsud Depasquale, Joyce Camilleri, Julian Farrugia, Julian Muscat Foden, Laura Bonello, Leila Rosa Petersen, Leila Valenzia, Liana Agius, Luca Sant, Luca Schembri Meli, Lucia Rossi, Luke Galea, Maria Farrugia, Maria Galea, Marie Louise Galea, Maryanne Fenech, Mary Rose Caruana, Mary Rose Degabriel, Massimo Abela, Matteo Caruana, Matthew Camilleri, Mattia Sant, Michela Checchi, Michele Chetcuti, Michelle Azzopardi, Neil Vella, Noah Grech, Noushin Valenzia, Rafaela Cassola, Raphael Scerri, Robin Sebastian Buch, Salvina Aquilina, Sandro Rossi, Serena Valenzia, Sharon Caruana Vella, Skye. R. Caruana, Stefano Rossi, Thomas Grech, Valentina Abela, Vanessa Cassola, Victoria Maria Grech and students of the Sunshine Summer School

a project for Żigużajg 2019

Supported by: Arts Council Malta, i-Portunus, Spazju Kreattiv

curatorial note

ħożż - to sketch, to draw

ħsejjes - noise, sounds


ħożż il-ħsejjes is borne out of the need to reflect on how we relate to our environment and how we as individuals or as a community can (re)invent our surroundings. ħożż il-ħsejjes’ initial inspiration came from the artistic life of Gabriel Caruana (1929 - 2018) and the Mitħna tal-Maħlut that now houses The Mill - Art, Culture and Crafts Centre, Birkirkara. This exhibition, a result of a year long process, is inspired by Caruana’s legacy, particularly in contemporary ceramics and the encouragement he transmitted to people to be creative and original.  This is reflected in the process undertaken to develop the individual clay pieces and the interactive elements of the exhibition. Caruana’s need to make contemporary art accessible as possible led him together with Mary Rose Caruana to open The Mill in 1990. The Mill, a 300 year old rural structure, surrounded by one of Malta’s busiest towns, Birkirkara, is now part of Malta’s Cultural Heritage. 


ħożż il-ħsejjes enabled the connection between Caruana and The Mill to manifest itself by merging two materials; clay and hay. These materials led us to the Għajn Tuffieha clay slopes and the Mġarr wheat fields, speaking to farmers and learning about wheat and its uses. Walking through the fields of Għajn Barrani, winding trails, rushing reeds and golden wheat echoed childhood memories of long afternoon Spring walks. It is precisely this feeling of discovery that we wanted to recreate in the exhibition. 

Mixing these two materials forms a type of paperclay. On firing, the hay, a fibrous material, burns forming hollow spaces. Different amounts of hay gives the ceramic varying acoustic properties. Collectively the ceramic pieces create  four composite musical instruments. 


Each piece of this exhibition was created through a collective creative effort. Clay is a malleable material, having a plastic memory. Each unique press, push and scratch was recorded and sealed through the firing process, a unique signature by each creator. This collective effort is a reflection on how individuals and communities can contribute towards their surroundings.

Look around you, what do you see? Individual instruments or a composite instrument? Are you on your own or will you play with your friends? Will you make noise or create a new melody? Are you ready? Let’s go for a walk in the fields of ħożż il-ħsejjes. 


Each installation is a collection of ceramic pieces crafted and designed by different people. Each piece is highly fragile and can break easily. Play the instruments gently, we must take care of them for future participants. 


In every installation (group of instruments) there are four or more coloured ceramic pieces. These are very different than the uncoloured ones, what do they trigger?

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