The Mill Art, Culture and Crafts Centre, Birkirkara - Malta (2020)
The intrinsicity of The Mill and the many aspects it encapsulates have offered several points of departure for the collection of The Many Faces of The Mill. The densified urban context which surrounds this rural structure have subjected The Mill to various spatial and interpetal complexities. One of around 50 mills present in the Maltese landscape, over the past 30 years it has borne an identity like no other. Although its core structure has remained evidently innate with its robust walls and notable turret, the legacy of the late Gabriel Caruana lingers through evident features creating a structure like no other. The objets trouvés which adorn the various planes and surfaces both externally and internally have over the years transformed its character into a beacon for the community; most especially for local modernist and contemporary artists. Although at first glance the illustrations seem to be all about the physical, they convey a multiplicity of underlying connotations. The influence of the ‘wheels’ and their distinctive colour palettes is prominent, whilst other more defined elements such as the sign at the entrance clearly denote its use as a space dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Several of the works combine intangible elements which bear the principles of a modernist artist who ran a space which had no boundaries. The institutional critique component features in works which depict the culture of The Mill as an independent artist-run space portrayed through the use of bold lines and solid primary colours, elements which also feature prominently in the works of Caruana. Both night and day, the punctured openings, provide glimpses of the character of The Mill. For those unaware of its complex history and tangled layers of underlying meanings, each illustration forming the collection of The Many Faces of The Mill is a unique memoir portraying a legacy of several facets which not only encapsulate a snippet of the past but also transmit the remnants of the energy of the late Gabriel Caruana, The Mill and the Gabriel Caruana Foundation into the future.
The Many Faces of The Mill is an opportunity to support both creatives and the Gabriel Caruana Foundation. The idea started off as a means to not only celebrate the 30 year anniversary but also to fundraise in a global context of uncertainty. This fundraiser comes at a point where creatives and arts organisations globally have been impacted heavily due to lost contracts, postponed events, cancelled activities and a plethora of other creative engagements that typically make our lives richer, unique and memorable. Our role as a non-profit contemporary arts organisation is necessary to provide a support structure for our communities; artists, cultural workers, neighbours, children, adults, migrants, elderly and more, especially in tumultuous times. The creatives that we engage with to transport us, our audience, and participants through different creative processes invest time and resources to develop their work. We are not here to reduce a creative process or a work of art to a financial transaction, far from it. We are very aware of the heart, time, iterations, conversations and more, that are behind creative output. The prints that you see before you may look beautiful hanging up in your homes, but they are more than that. They are the work of young, talented and brave creatives, that keep on pursuing their dreams, who have connected with The Mill in a meaningful imaginative process. The Mill and its army of creatives in a Quixotic reversal chasing dreams and enriching our realities. Your support in this fundraiser is more than monetary; it is a testament of a connected community that has contemporary art at heart .