Mark Mallia’s first solo exhibition since his 2020 Golgotha departs from his role of being a sometimes blunt, sometimes sarcastic, but always honest voice, especially on social media.
While artists in general are regarded as very sensitive persons, this much is certainly true about Mallia, who experiences and analyses the setbacks of life with great sensitivity and concern.
This exhibition puts the human being at the forefront of whatever is going on. A virtual anthropologist on social media but also in real life, Mallia questions and attempts to understand the many different aspects of the human experience. He highlights, in very minimal but equally strong work, the feelings of a sensitive person bearing the weight of living in today’s society. Deluged with pseudo regulations, expectations and standards not only on the media that we follow but also those rooted within our traditions, may lead to frustration, anxiety and depression.
Conflicting messages of how we should be living, buying, feeling, how many holidays we should be having, what we should be eating, saying and ultimately feeling, have driven the artist-person to retreat in a self-made prison, that promises safety but also inflicts feelings of solitude, abandonment, punishment and seclusion.
This is almost reminiscent, in a psychological way, of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Still, inside the wall, the dirty conscience of not being able to please everyone eats the artist from the inside. The work is a cry from the deepest abyss of those who are frustrated by force-fed living standards and of those who long for simple freedom. But especially of those who choose to think.
Reaching a new milestone in his artistic career, Mallia blends his ethnographic observations with artistic expression to produce work that is not only imbued with meaning, but also cuts the flesh in its straightforward, no-frill rendition.
Curated by Etienne Farrell, Manimal runs from June 16 to 22 at Bozza Ħamra, 4, Strait Street, Valletta.