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

Artists: Abigail Agius, Rhea Micallef Gavin, Martina Spiteri
Curator: Elyse Tonna
GCF Programme Manager: Raffaella Zammit

part of the Gabriel Caruana Foundation SPRING (v1.4) Artistic Programme for Emerging Artists 2021

curatorial note

Bound by aspects related to identity and self-expression, the works of Abigail Agius, Rhea Micallef-Gavin and Martina Spiteri are subtle interpretations of individual embodiment. In Inherent Dispositions, they challenge fashion-related narratives and interrelated notions linked to consumption, making, adaptation and appropriation. Beyond the commonplace definition of fashion as mannerisms resulting from or due to a particular context and culture, fashion (as a way of doing) is oftentimes a reflection of an individual’s behaviours and preferences interlinked to personal realities or societal norms and values, or both. Cultural transmission, awareness and embodiment play a vital role in its development, especially in the transmission of skills, values and style. 

Albeit presented in various forms and through diverse media, the artists highlight individuality and challenge conformity, creating contemporary renditions of predisposed narratives. Through painting, drawing, clothing and spatial interventions, Abigail, Rhea and Martina depart from personal experiences and topics of concern to playfully tap into issues related to gender, representation of identity, transmission of skills and sustainability. Martina adopts clothing styles and upcycled fabric passed on in her family to create parallels between the intergenerational aspects of the running of The Mill, whilst challenging clothing norms. The transmission of skills is also present in Abigail’s work who has adapted knitting to create spatial interventions. Her drawings echo personal reflections and ways of seeing. Rhea challenges identity and portrays images of men endorsing various stylistic representations associated with gender-based perceptions. Although apparently diverse and unique, the overlaps reinforce context and culture as determinant factors affecting ways of individual behaviour and material choices.

photos by Elyse Tonna

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