Katya Micallef

Research Group: Visual & Material Culture Research Centre
Award studied: PhD

Project title

Understanding the 'Context' of contemporary visual art in Malta through Dialogic Principles


My main research question is to get a better understanding of how contemporary art is developing and how it is being understood by many. Since this is a very wide study, I decided to focus exclusively on contemporary art by Maltese artists, between the 1990s and 2015, and furthermore, research on how the general public perceives it by using a number of theorems including Dialogical Principles and Post-Colonial Discourse.
The choice of focusing mainly on Maltese contemporary visual art came about due to a number of aspects, primarily because very little or rather no critical research has been carried out on contemporary visual arts in Malta and its development. Apart from that at present Malta and the Cultural Sector is undergoing a number of changes since Valetta will be European Capital of Culture in 2018. The visual arts are playing a forefront role in the strategy.
This research engages the art works and the viewer; to understand them in their specific context. One must keep in mind that the Maltese Artists and the Audience, both on a conscious and unconscious level, constantly interact all the time with a number of situations that includes; the Historical Context, the Eurocentric, the African Spring, Socio-Political Religious Circumstances whilst living on an Island. All this has an effect on the artists' production and the audiences' perception.
In addition to this, this research will underline the essential value of contemporary visual arts and the changes in traditional ways of seeing and interpreting the arts in general. This philosophy has been discussed widely, however very little has so far been published on the interpretation of visual contemporary art in a specific 'Context.'



Switzerland, Bern, 2013
5th International Conference of Mediterranean Worlds: Light Colour Line - Perceiving the Mediterranean. The (Non-Artistic) Performance of Mediterranean Rituals: Case Study Malta

Funding received

Kingston University Conference Fund