With just two prior sightings at La Biennale di Venezia in nearly 60 years, the Malta Pavilion is much like a rare bird with virtually no past, no long tradition, or history of participation. Yet rich histories characterise this third appearance, by way of a multiplicity of objects and figures that manifest themselves in the country’s linguistic and cultural exchanges with other lands, its colourful feasts and inherited customs, and a proud imaginary that holds sway over a nation’s relationship with itself and with its visitors.

Curated by Bettina Hutschek and Raphael Vella, Homo Melitensis: An Incomplete Inventory in 19 Chapters combines the work of thirteen artists and a diverse selection of artefacts from national and private collections. Through a non-hierarchical, achronological installation, the exhibition investigates Maltese identity via maps, folkloric objects, historical photographs, and contemporary artworks. Artefacts and paraphernalia intermingle in a series of chapters that reveal stories of nationhood, memory, war, diaspora, dreams, and island life, imagining an identity situated between truth and non-truth. Taxonomically and alphabetically organised in custom-made, spatial arrangements, Homo Melitensis–Maltese man–witnesses the transition from nation-state to an atomised, impenetrable existence, and is perplexed.

Malta Pavilion | La Biennale di Venezia
Location: Arsenale, Venezia
Preview Dates: 10 – 12 May 2017
Opening ceremony: 10 May 2017, 14:30h
Duration of the exhibition: 13 May – 26 November, 2017
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 – 6pm

Adrian Abela
John Paul Azzopardi
Aaron Bezzina
Pia Borg
Gilbert Calleja
Austin Camilleri
Roxman Gatt
David Pisani
Karine Rougier
Joe Sacco
Teresa Sciberras
Darren Tanti
Maurice Tanti Burlo’

Arts Council Malta

Bettina Hutschek
Raphael Vella

Heritage Malta
Valletta 2018 Foundation
Bank of Valletta
Għaqda tal-Pawlini
Architecture Project
Francis Sultana

Exhibition architect
Tom Van Malderen/Architecture Project
Architectural assistant
Martina Cutajar
Graphic design
Jon Banthorpe
Curators’ assistant
Greta Muscat Azzopardi

Margaret, London

Arts Council Malta