Bellum in Mundum |
05 Aug 2022 - 11 Sep 2022
After a 7-year hiatus, Tonio Mallia presents a new series of works that re-imagine a world shaken beyond its tipping point, where the tensions between the human and natural world are no longer at play, nor are they creative or life-giving. They have devolved into a tyrannical order in which mankind becomes subject to its own freedoms.
Humanity turns its back on itself when it turns its back on nature, misappropriating and exploiting it, corrupting its beauty into a place of war—bellum—the war that destroys the world, the war waged by man who, no longer a steward of the earth, abandons the scales and becomes death, as Oppenheimer would say. In the empty fairgrounds and the desolate fields, in the mangled trees and the rising seas, in the plague infested skies and desperate flights, here is mankind—our humanity—hanging in the balance.
Tonio Mallia has been active as a visual artist for over four decades. Born in 1955, he beganhis artistic career in his early twenties as a landscape watercolourist. Through the years he dedicated much of his energy to experimenting with technique and exploring a variety of mediums such as acrylics, inks and oils. His paintings’ subject matter has expanded and matured, dealing with themes that often relate to human behaviour.
Notable thematic interests include universal topics such as conflict, spirituality and environmental matters.Mallia has also worked as a graphic artist between 1980 and 2000, providing corporate identities for a number of institutions. The latter include the Gozo Channel Company, having won a competition to design their currently used logo in 1992.He illustrated Christmas cards issued by The Malta Hospice Movement, HSBC Malta and The Eden Foundation for a number of years.
The recent publication ‘Melita Darling’ by Nicholas De Piro also includes one of his illustrations.Since 2014, Mallia took up engraving and printmaking at the Malta School of Art, earning a first prize award in the first-year course. Mallia has been teaching weekly art lessons and conducting workshops for several years. He held ‘en plein air’ lessons in watercolour from 2012 to 2015. From 2016 till March 2020, he progressed to teaching oil painting in various indoor venues.
He provided direction for three solo exhibitions held by three of his students, as well as curating two of them. Being proficient in Adobe Photoshop, he also provided artwork and designed advertising material, such as invitations, posters and banners, for all the exhibitions. Mallia’s paintings feature in publications such as ’10 Watercolourists’ by Grimand Co Ltd and ‘The National Portrait Gallery of Malta’ by Nicholas De Piro.
He has been exhibiting in both solo and collective shows since 1990. His works can be found in many private collections and major local corporations, such as The Central Bank of Malta, HSBC Bank Malta, Bank of Valletta and Malta International Airport.
Giulia Privitelli holds a distinction in two Master programmes: in Art History (University of Malta, 2015) and in Theology and the Arts (University of St Andrews, Scotland, 2021), with a research interest in the eschatological dimension of neglected and abandoned urban spaces.
She is presently the Senior Editor at Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta, a freelance tourist guide, and writer, regularly contributing culture-related articles to various local newspapers, exhibition catalogues, and online peer-reviewed blogs such as Transpositions.