Artists: Victor Agius, Aaron Bezzina, Tom van Malderen, Laura Besancon, Giola Cassar & Aprille Zammit, Text Catalogue & Andrea Zerafa, Chakib Zidi & Fatima AM & Noah Fabri, Samuel Ciantar
Curator, Artistic Director and Project Manager: Elyse Tonna
Production Manager: Raffaella Zammit
Research Assistants: Aidan Celeste, Kurt Calleja (until November 2020), Claude Ebejer (November 2020 - July 2021)
Production Assistant: Jamie Barbara
Produced by the Valletta Cultural Agency as part of the Agency's Cultural Programme 2021
process & research
A context-specific and an interdisciplinary, community-driven project, fuse was developed in 2019 by Elyse Tonna and involved elements of creative placemaking, safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and active community engagement and inclusion through storytelling. The main scope was to explore, investigate and implement a collaborative project with the communities in the surroundings of the Valletta Design Cluster (VDC), also known as the Biċċerija. The project involved six main phases: research phase, data collection phase, development of thematics, selection of artists, artistic development and artistic production.
The research and data collection process involved direct and indirect interaction with individuals and organisations and observation of the surrounding context of this area in Valletta. As a result, the development of the nine curatorial thematics was highly dependent on the factors which are significant to the citizens who live/d, work or interact with this area. Consequently they respond to the main question: what are the inherent group identities of the communities which have a relationship to the Biċċerija area?
Following the selection of artists, eight public art interventions were developed as a direct collaboration between the curator and the artists. Each artist/artist collective was directed to investigate narratives and develop site-specific, context-specific and/or community-specific work pertaining to a unique thematic. Each intervention therefore unlocks and builds upon collective group identities exposing, in a sensitive manner, traits, characteristics, traditions and typologies uncovering what makes them unique. These include the untold history of bakers in the area, its associations to Carnival, the history of street games and vendors and other current-day issues exposing community traits related to gentrification, ownership and appropriation. Meanwhile, fuse became a symbol of the community; a reflection of what it lacks, needs or wants.