Mosta’s parish church – the renowned Rotunda – is the reason most visitors to the islands make the obligatory stop in this busy commercial locality. The sheer size of this domed structure never fails to impress – it is after all the third-largest church dome in Europe and the ninth largest in the world.
But these days there’s a new and exciting art related initiative in town. Marie Gallery 5 is one of a very few private art galleries in Malta – completely dedicated to showcasing some of the finest contemporary art in Malta.
The story of modern art in Malta has still to be properly reviewed and written, although increasingly a number of publications have highlighted some of the early pioneers of the genre. But apart from a tiny representation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, modern art sadly still has no permanent home in Malta – although this is set to be addressed when the promised MUZA art museum comes on stream in the coming years.
Marie Gallery 5 – the brainchild of 26 year old Maria Galea – partly addresses this vacuum. Maria, an artist herself, had previously worked in the family’s business and enhanced this experience with a number of visits – and participation – in international art fairs. A strong believer in local artistic potential, this led her to part ways with her family’s frame making business and launch a gallery of her own with the aim of showcasing the best of local art and – going a step further – to start exposing local art away from Malta’s shores.
Maria plans to have frequent turnover of work in her new gallery, interspersed with dedicated temporary exhibitions. The spacious, well-lit gallery features mostly local artists represented by both sculptures and paintings. Curiously the gallery has an ‘inner sanctum’ – a pleasant little room just off the main gallery space that Maria calls The Collectors’ Room. This features a brilliant selection of works by a few artists who are generally recognised as local masters – a drawing by the renowned Willie Apap and a few works by Gabriel Caruana, Malta’s pioneering ceramist, are probably among the highlights here.
Although the gallery opened earlier this year, Maria is not resting on her laurels and is planning her first overseas venture – taking a selection of local work to New York’s Art Expo. A bold move indeed. But having met Maria and gauged her determination I will place my bets that she is going places…
Marie Gallery 5 is situated about 300 metres from the Mosta Rotunda in Triq id-Disgha t’April which is just off Constitution Street – the road that from the Rotunda leads to Saint Paul’s Bay. The Gallery is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 0930 to 1300 and from 1630 to 1900 and Saturdays from 0930 to 1300.
Gallery website: http://www.mariegallery5.com/
Marie Gallery 5 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariegallery5/