14 February - 8 March 2020 MUŻA, Auberge d'Italie, Merchant St, Valletta
A multidisciplinary exhibition about being female in a world narrated by and designed for men. Unfinished Art Space presents its biggest project-exhibition to date; a feminist programme of events and the first temporary exhibition to be hosted by MUŻA, Malta’s National Community Art Museum. Strangers in a Strange Land forms part of Spazju Kreattiv's Art+Feminism 2020 Project, in collaboration with Wikimedia Community Malta, M3P Foundation and the Gabriel Caruana Foundation, which includes a series of curated exhibitions across three sites presenting new works by both established and emerging women artists.
Exhibition Designer Tom van Malderen Programme Strange Land Dance Workshop: Francesca Saraullo (Barumbara Collective) Spazju Kreattiv Theatre Wednesday 12 February, 7pm – 9pm
Strangers in a Strange Land: Barumbara Collective Friday 14 February, 8pm Saturday 15 February, 8pm Sunday 16 February, 5pm Tickets available here.
Artist Conversation: Etienne Farrell, Charlene Galea, Letta Shtohryn Friday 21 February 7pm
Curator’s Tour: Margerita Pulè Sunday 23 February 3pm
My Womxn is a God My God is a Womxn: Roxman Gatt Friday 28 February, 8pm Saturday 29 February, 8pm Tickets available here.
Wiki Editing Workshop – Edit-A-Thon: Wiki Community Malta Friday 6 March, 5pm - 8pm Saturday 7 March, 10am - 4pm
Curator’s Tour: Margerita Pulè Sunday 8 March 11:30am
Strangers in a Strange Land – curated by Margerita Pulè - is a multidisciplinary exhibition about being female in a world narrated by and designed for men. Artists Barumbara Collective, Etienne Farrell with Charlene Gálea, Roxman Gatt, and Letta Shtohryn show work reacting to their experiences of negotiating their lives in a male-oriented world.
The programme will start with a movement workshop for women by Barumbara Collective member Francesca Saraullo on 12 February. The Barumbara Collective themselves will perform a new immersive work at MUŻA on 14, 15, 16 February; Imagined More Than Woman will test the boundaries which our identities place on us, and will redefine the contours of a cultural space through a female gaze. Roxman Gatt will perform her work My Womxn is a God My God is a Womxn on 28, 29 February – her sculptures and paintings will also be on show throughout the exhibition. A collaboration between Etienne Farrell and Charlene Gálea will bear fruit with JIEN - a series of portraits of Charlene herself exploring authorities and insincerities as well as human vulnerabilities. Media artist and researcher Letta Shtohryn has also been commissioned to create a new work; * "woman", "holding". an Altar to Algorithmic Bias is based on her research into the ingrained biases which is present in existing algorithms.
Alongside the exhibition and performances, Wiki Community Malta will hold a Wikipedia Workshops and Edit-a-thons on 6 and 7 March. A conversation with artists Etienne Farrell, Charlene Galea, and Letta Shtohryn about their work will take place on 21 February, while the curator will speak about the exhibition on 23 February and 8 March.
The project is supported by Arts Council Malta’s Malta Arts Fund - Project Support Grant, as well as Express Trailers and Soroptimist International Malta.
It may seem tiresome and even a bit passé to again be confronted with a feminist argument – it’s easy to think that with gender quotas and equal rights, feminism has lost its validity. Sadly though, the message that gender inequality still exists bears repeating; yes, generations of feminists have inched us closer to equal rights, but the world’s default is still very much one rooted in a patriarchal reality.
Indeed, it would be over-simplistic to insist upon a male-female binary divide and thus reinforce stereotypes of masculine and feminine behaviour. A fluidity of genders and identities now allows for a greater freedom of behaviour and opportunities than ever before. However, it would be equally disingenuous to pretend that women are not still experiencing discrimination and micro-bigotries on a daily basis – prejudices that even the most enlightened (but automatically privileged) man may not be aware of. Make no mistake; the thousand tiny cuts of chauvinism – the expectations of how women should behave and what men are entitled to - are still very much ingrained in our societies.
That is the context for this project; to attempt to unravel some of the gender-based values that exist around us. Strangers in a Strange Land refers to the hundreds of negotiations that women make as part of their daily lives – often without even being conscious of them – to navigate in a context where the default is almost without exception a male version of the world. This can range from small irritations like air-conditioners being set too cold for women, to more significant inequalities like inbuilt algorithmic prejudices, medical misdiagnoses or a misrepresentation of sexual violence against women.
The works in this exhibition are at once personal and political, having been developed through research, and through the personal experiences of the artists themselves. Some diverge from the feminist standpoint to encompass many other elements of identity, authority and interaction, seeing the grey areas between the male-bad female-good dichotomy. Others are much more direct – militant almost – in their approach; others are based on hard facts and empirical data gathered by the artist.
The divergence of work and discipline reflects the balance that we – as women – attempt to strike daily. Walking the streets of a world built by and for gentlemen, we also must negotiate between the personal and the political, as we traverse broad interactions and intimacies alike.
Art+Feminism is an annual worldwide edit-a-thon to add content to Wikipedia about women artists. Now in its third year in Malta, this edition features a series of curated exhibitions across three sites presenting new works by both established and emerging artists. This initiative is made possible through an ongoing collaboration between Spazju Kreattiv, Wikimedia Community Malta, the M3P Foundation, Gabriel Caruana Foundation and Unfinished Art Space. More info here.