Based on experimental photography, Kamy Aquilina’s first solo exhibition Xlokk Kaħlani opens from the 21 October and will run until the 11 November at the Malta Society of Arts’ Palazzo de La Salle in Valletta. The exhibition aims to communicate a strong sense of life in the seaside village of Birżebbuġa as experienced by the artist, through a multisensory exhibition blending photography, cyanotype, light and sound installation, and alternative drawing approaches.
Artist Kamy Aquilina explains how the exhibition portrays her own visually documented life in her hometown in Malta’s southeast (Xlokk in Maltese). “Living in Birżebbuġa means that I can constantly hear the sound of the Freeport and of aeroplanes landing and taking off among other things,” muses Aquilina. “This makes me wish I could change the current atmosphere into a more peaceful one, where one can appreciate the sounds of nature and the stillness of silence, and enjoy dark skies and the stars at night. Unfortunately, even though Birżebbuġa does enjoy richness in nature, it is too hectic.”
Aquilina has been documenting different kinds of memories and stories through her camera for a very long time, and Xlokk Kaħlani is the culmination of these documented feelings and thoughts, which are now being expressed through experimental mixed media. “Installation art, cyanotype, and photography play a very important role in my artistic style, and I am always documenting and researching through visuals,” she continues.
Aquilina’s personal artworks are aimed at raising awareness about Birżebbuġa, which the artist feels has been forgotten by many and perceived negatively by others. “Despite what some might think, Birżebbuġa is not just about the Freeport and its oil spills or light pollution. It is also about its history, heritage, and love of the seaside town itself,” elaborates Aquilina. “I am hoping that the artworks engage visitors in a dialogue about the perception of Birżebbuġa and how it can perhaps be improved in the long run. The aim is to make use of the two senses, sight (vision) and hearing (auditory), with the intention and hope that people appreciate the smallest and most taken-for-granted details surrounding us.”
Exhibition curator Carmen Aquilina describes Xlokk Kaħlani as a “walk-through experience taking the visitor through the artist’s lived experiences. I have no doubt that each visitor will discover that the works will engage with their own experiences of living on an island continuously struggling with nature on many levels.” She hopes that the exhibition itself will offer the opportunity to restore a great sense of calmness and respect towards the meaning of beauty.
MSA President Arch. Adrian Mamo invites visitors to ‘experience’ the exhibition. “Through Kamy’s very personal and innovative works, anyone who walks through the doors of the MSA’s Art Galleries will feel a sense of familiarity with their own towns and their own sensations vis-à-vis our constantly changing environment,” concludes Mamo.
Xlokk Kaħlani by Kamy Aquilina and curated by Carmen Aquilina is on between the 21 October and 11 November 2021 at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts’ Palazzo de La Salle, 219, Republic Street, Valletta. For more details about the exhibition please visit www.artsmalta.org/events or www.facebook.com/maltasocietyofarts, and also www.instagram.com/xlokk_kahlani.