The Mill Art, Culture and Crafts Centre, Birkirkara - Malta (2021)

Artists: Matthew Schembri, Sheldon Saliba, Ian Farrugia
Curator: Elyse Tonna
GCF Programme Manager: Raffaella Zammit


part of the Gabriel Caruana Foundation SPRING (v1.2) Artistic Programme for Emerging Artists 2021

curatorial note

Found objects have always presented multiple opportunities for artists to play around between the ordinary and not-so-ordinary, between the usual and unusual. Whilst being a focal point of conflict and contradictions, found objects are primarily discarded objects with meanings that vary from one context to another. 

Such occurrences, hereby exposing both the natural and the man-made, present strong parallelisms and contrasts. Their unusual presence incites a sense of mysticism whilst their contradictory juxtapositions facilitate elements of serendipitous encounters. The run-of-the-mill objects (pun intended), as presented here, enable the heightening of sentiments and facilitate an understanding of a dialectic which these works embody; expressions of the anti-power, subtle references to modes of production, or even so, hyper-modes of production. Interactions with the works generate a certain formation of consciousness and state of mind, about our environment, about movement and our state of health. Currently, all three present an opportunity to evaluate equally relevant and pertinent matters. Especially in Sheldon Saliba’s interventions, the work presented triggers and articulates a necessity, an urge to question. Within the context of The Mill, the work presents interesting parallelisms to the development of the context of the 300-year-old structure; itself exemplary of the imaginable faith of the undeclared sites represented through the found objects cemented together in Tiles of Occupation. The glorified motorbike as presented by Ian Farrugia, is testament to identity formation as dictated by contextual yet contested narratives which yearn for interaction and contemplation. Matthew Schembri’s ‘why I was absent’ instigates a direct testimony of the artist’s absence and foments a sense of curiosity. Its jarred presence within this already-charged space in a context overridden by an influx of health-related narratives, magnifies the relevance and transmits snippets of the experience