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comino will be different next summer
15 Mar 2024 - 20 Apr 2024

Collective exhibition 
Joanna Demarco, Inigo Taylor, Mario Asef, Sheldon Saliba, Daphne Caruana Galizia

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Detail from a photo by Inigo Taylor & Comino will be Different Next Summer exhibition poster 

comino will be different next summer
A collective exhibition featuring Joanna Demarco, Lisa Attard, Inigo Taylor, Mario Asef, Sheldon Saliba and Daphne Caruana Galizia
Curated by Maria Eileen Fsadni

“But if we sincerely recognise all that was already here, both culturally and ecologically, we start to understand that anything framed as construction was actually also destruction.” Jenny Odell, How to do Nothing (2019)

Discarded pineapples rot adjacent to the sand, the garigue and along the cliffs. Businesses teeter on the edge of illegality as they occupy public shores with deckchairs, sell over priced cocktails to thousands of day-trippers littering the surrounding area - paying little regard to the island’s status as a Natura 2000 site. Comino’s fate hangs in a liminal space between the interests of big business - riddled with corruption and fuelled only by greed - and the island’s desperate cry to regain its dignity.

The island’s early 20th century history, as a close-knit farming community was radically disrupted with the arrival of the hotel in the 1960s. Over the decades, the intensification of tourism has only worsened. Businesses continue to push the limits, only to be reprimanded by activist groups and select individuals who have become custodians of the island in lieu of proper governance.

The title of the exhibition, Comino will be Different Next Summer, is a quote drawn from a 2022 interview with Malta’s tourism minister Clayton Bartolo. In response to increased pressure from activists, Bartolo makes the bold claim that any problems faced that year, and the years which preceded it, will cease to exist. Two years on, his comments have been revealed to be nothing but an empty promise.

The exhibition brings together the works of Joanna Demarco, Lisa Attard, Inigo Taylor, Mario Asef, Sheldon Saliba which are complemented by an excerpt of text written by Daphne Caruana Galizia. Emerging from vastly different artistic disciplines, their work seeks to tell the story of a so-called protected island that has endured decades of disrespect and highlights the calls from civil society to safeguard its natural heritage.

It aims to trigger the question, how will Comino be different next Summer?

This exhibition is being organised in collaboration with Friends of the Earth Malta and Il-Forn ta' Kemmuna.

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Portrait of Maria Eileen Fsadni (Photo by Inigo Taylor)

Maria Eileen Fsadni is a self-identified multi-hyphenate who blends her roles as a cultural professional, writer, and environmental activist. Through her writing, she delves into intersections between art, culture, and environmental justice.

 

 

Over the past eight years, she has worked in some of the island's leading heritage and art NGOs. Maria holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Art History from the University of Malta and during her university years, she served as President of the History of Art Students' Association. In recognition of her environmental advocacy, Maria was honoured with the JCI Ten Outstanding Persons of the Year award for Environmental Leadership in 2023.

 

Maria's involvement extends beyond her professional endeavours. In 2018, she began volunteering with FoEMalta, eventually transitioning to a part-time role within the organisation in 2022. Notably, Maria played a pivotal role in a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2023, raising €30,000 to initiate the restoration of Il-Forn ta' Kemmuna. 

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