Panel Discussion - Life After Art School
20th March 2020
From art student to art professional or professional artist - how do you do it? What's it like to pursue a career path in the arts after graduation? Where do you even start? We're all familiar with the artist's struggle and the difficulty of making a career in the field, so we are bringing together 5 young professionals from the local scene to tell it how it is - the good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly. They will speak about their individual journey and answer questions from the audience.
We invited people from different disciplines - visual artists Aaron Bezzina and Stefan Spiteri, fashion designer and couturier Luke Azzopardi, artist and curator Sabrina Calleja Jackson and performance artist Charlene Galea all have a very individual story and different experiences to share! Moderated by VC's own Manuela Zammit.
So, if you find yourself wondering about these things and you think some insight might help, this event is for you!
This activity is supported by MCVS through the VOPS funding scheme.
Aaron Bezzina (b.1991, Malta) earned a BA (with honors) in fine arts at MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts in 2014 and completed an MFA in digital arts at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta, in 2016. Bezzina has been exhibiting work both locally and overseas for several years. In 2015 he was awarded a residency by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. During the summer of 2016 he undertook a traineeship with the cultural association for the arts Nuova Icona in Venice and in 2017 he was one of the artists selected for the Maltese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Although Bezzina’s work inclines toward the sculptural, he is also interested in other media that encourage meaning making and further associative actions.
Stefan Spiteri (b.1998) has recently finished a three year BA in Fine Art at MCAST Institute for creative arts. His main focus is two dimensional work primarily drawing, painting and collage. His creative process revolves around the theme of space in which identity, memory and time are explored. In July 2019, he exhibited in Distinct, as part of the annual ICA Festival. In December 2018 he participated in a group exhibition entitled Shifting Contexts at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta.
After studying at Central Saint Martins in 2013 creative director and founder Luke Azzopardi moved back to Malta to launch his brand. The Luke Azzopardi studio focuses on the idea of timeless elegance stemming from Luke's academic background in costume history. The creative director was awarded the prestigious 'Premio Cultura e Moda 2016' by L’Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the 'Fashion Designer of the Year 2018' award by LovinMalta, and has most recently been shortlisted for the award of 'Artist of the Year 2018/19' by Arts Council Malta.
Charlene Galea is a conceptual artist whose body often navigates between online identity and physical experiences. Charlene is self-taught in performance art after being educated in Art Direction for Fashion at London College of Fashion followed by Digital Fine Arts at the University of Malta. Her education has enabled her to create work that clashes between commercial moods - in turn highly influenced by popular culture - and fine art.
Concepts are mostly presented through performance, in which clothes act as a metaphor to narrate how the body is experienced within contemporary times - focusing on identity, the effect of the media and its communication, space, and human relations. In her installations, Charlene often challenges the viewer to immerse in the experience of being present, rather than simply consuming that which is presented. Complex political ideas are usually presented with a healthy dose of humour in the aim of positively influencing various groups of people within society - especially those who are not are art connoisseurs.
Sabrina Calleja Jackson
Sabrina Calleja Jackson (b. 1988) is a Malta-based artist and curator. Her work delves into the collected memory by means of visual narratives, archived objects and dynamic processes of research. This sensitivity towards the future of memory stems from a deep understanding of nostalgia and the impact it leaves on time and space.Calleja Jackson is an artist by profession and plays an avid role in the art and culture scene. Apart from having collaborated on a number of projects such as open studio and exhibition space X242 - The Xarolla Windmill Project in Żurrieq, Calleja Jackson also took part in a number of collective exhibitions and held her first solo show in the UK in 2012. Calleja Jackson obtained a Masters Degree in Fine Art, Site and Archiving Intervention from the University of Central Lancashire in 2012 and a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Art at the MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts in 2011. She previously worked as a Programme Coordinator at Spazju Kreattiv, St James Cavalier and is currently based at MUŻA, The Malta National Community Art Museum as a Coordinator Curatorial Support.
Manuela is trained as a contemporary art curator and specialises in art exploring approaches to language. She graduated with an MFA in Contemporary Curating from Manchester School of Art in September 2018 and then moved on to work in Amsterdam as curatorial trainee at Foam photography museum between 2018/19. In 2017, she was awarded a steward-research fellowship by the British Council through which she spent a month working at the British Pavilion during the 57th Venice Art Biennale and developing a research project which was later presented at Kingston University, London. Her practice utilises research and making as complementary processes that inform each other. She currently works as assistant to the artistic director at Valletta Contemporary.