**Due to the current restrictions to combat Covid-19, this event is postponed until further notice. **
As part of the Valletta Cultural Agency’s cultural programme for 2021, The Strada Stretta Concept, under the artistic direction of Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci is set to collaborate with the Società Dante Alighieri and the Art & Art History Department within the University of Malta for an exhibition in honour of the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. This event forms part of a whole series of international initiatives dedicated to the same centenary celebrations. It is open from the 6th-30th March 2021 at the Società Dante Alighieri in Old Bakery Street and The Splendid in Strada Stretta, Valletta.
Established artist Anthony Catania, along with new and upcoming artists and fine art students Matthew Shirfield and Kylie Aquilina, will be exhibiting works that address Dante’s Divina Commedia. Each centralising their study around a different Canto, the artists will be expressing their engagement with the writings of Dante and their visual interpretations of this major piece of literature. Focusing on Canto 26 of Dante’s Inferno, Catania’s Il Folle Volo is a series of visual works that explore metaphoric tropes associated with Ulyssean katabasis, the return voyage. These paintings allow for an engagement with Dante’s interpretation of the Homeric hero in a visual analytic reflexivity and intertextual literary dialogue.
Matthew Shirfield is presenting Dante in a Maltese context visiting the Vie Smarrite (Roads Lost), in search for authentic Maltese identity. He was inspired by Dante’s own journey in the Commedia to search for a purity that would counter the contemporary decadence of his time. Through his works, Shirfield tries to illustrate a few aspects from the epic, appropriating the descriptions of the Medieval poet to the Maltese culture and landscape.
Kylie Aquilina’s La Prima Radice (Il-Għerq Ewlieni) is a series of works narrating the tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca which features in Dante’s Inferno Canto 5. Through careful study of this Canto and her own private writings, Kylie represents lust and love by searching for their roots in history. The two terms are interpreted by Aquilina as being like a seed which is planted, cultivated, and transformed into fruit, rotting by time. Deterioration and painful love are represented by a video projection and a series of triptychs with a constant dialogue with the Commedia and her own subconscious.
With this exhibition, the Strada Stretta Concept is directly participating in the international commemoration of this milestone anniversary. Entrance to the exhibition is free. Please note that due to the current situation, all visitors are to wear a mask and maintain social distancing throughout. More information on the event and the opening times of the exhibition can be found on The Strada Stretta Concept and Valletta Cultural Agency pages on Facebook.