The Valletta International Visual Arts Festival (VIVA) is a new artistic concept based in Malta that focuses on long-term strategies that facilitate networking, artistic dialogues and educational projects.
The overriding theme of VIVA in 2014 is the relationship between art and politics, which is not being defined here exclusively in the limited ideological sense of party politics. Rather, politics is about making individuals and communities meet and confront each other. It is about asking people to reflect about others and their place in the world and to reconsider perceptions about status and power. In VIVA, these aims are being achieved in several ways. The Curatorial School brings Maltese artists, students, art historians, educators and others in contact with international curators, academics and artists to discuss contemporary curatorial strategies and pedagogical relations with audiences. These international connections are further strengthened by a small group of Dutch, emerging curators-in-residence based in Valletta, who are researching Maltese contemporary art in order to propose curatorial projects for implementation in 2015.
Exhibitions will revolve around related themes: the relationship between emotions and capitalism (Mieke Bal and Michelle Williams Gamaker), the choreography of a group of traceurs overcoming the immobility of death in a cemetery (Democracia), the architecture of zoos and the gaze of the audience (Katharina Swoboda), the relationship between male dominance and violence (Alpha), young artists’ interpretations of the word ‘radical’ (Divergent Thinkers 03) and commissioned public sculptures installed around the new Parliament that mix a measure of irony with traditional notions of ‘monumentality’ and power exchange (Austin Camilleri and John Paul Azzopardi with Michael Camilleri). Film screenings will involve the Maltese public by presenting recent productions by Mieke Bal, Benny Brunner and Michelle Williams Gamaker in the open-air space of Pjazza Teatru Rjal. We hope that these events will help to project VIVA as a new, international platform for contemporary art within the historic fabric of a small yet wonderful city, Valletta.
Dr Raphael Vella
Artistic Director for VIVA 2014