And so it begins, another year. This illusion that somehow an arbitrary mid-night, one day from 365, somehow brings things to an end and sets in motion new beginnings is fascinating. Let's admit it, very little changes from the 31st of December to the day after. Yet, the accumulation of little changes, day after day, thoughout the whole cycle around the sun changes so much! For me, this is an important year, full of ideas and projects, the culmination (or at least I hope so) of years of hard work on many fronts....so let the games begin!
May I wish all of you following my work, a year full of love and peace. May you and your loved ones have a good 2018.
'Red Booth' is the latest addition to the selected paintings available as Limited Edition Giclée Prints. A number of red British telephone booths are still seen in Valletta, Malta. This can be found right between Pjazza Regina and Pjazza San Gorg. Thie print is both available framed (as in images below) or Unframed.
For more information about limited edition prints please visit HERE. For any queries, please contact the artistHERE.
It's been a week now that you're here. Each year when you're back, your arrival seems to go somewhat unnoticed. I have no memories of anyone celebrating your advent, nor proclaiming happiness when you're with us or even mildly acknowledging your presence. But maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just my own bias against you that takes over. Yes, maybe that's what blinds me against you, unpleasant childhood memories of repetitive ends. But then again, it’s not the same with your sisters. So many publicly proclaim their love to one of them and some to more. They’re famous, they’re wanted and they’re expected. Many spend good money to enjoy them.
But as I grow older, I must admit that I’ve learnt to appreciate you more. I have become more attuned to your moods, between us there seems to be resonance. I have also learnt that the colours that you bring, no one does. Welcome back Autumn.
'Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.' - Pablo Picasso
I have always found this quote intriguing. If Picasso was right, what did I manage to retain from my childhood that kept me from growing out of being an artist? Not an easy question to answer. Is it the inquisitive mind of a child? is it that feeling of awe, where everything is new? or is it that sense of adventure where even if closed within the constraints of 4 walls you still feel you are discovering the world? But let's face it, there are many other professions that you need to retain these attributes to be able to succeed. Take being a scientist for example; you definitely need an inquisitive mind, a sense of adventure while sitting in your lab and the enthusiasm of a child. And yet there is so much you need to learn that growing up is crucial. I think it’s the same with the arts.
I thought about this for quite a while and suspect that Picasso might not be completely right. Maybe every child has the potential to become an artist but is not yet one. In my case, I relate more to a different period in my life than my childhood. That period when you are no longer a child yet not an adult. Do you remember it? Do you remember that craving for growing up yet wanting to be able to play? I remember it clearly. A period when I was mentally and physically no longer a child, yet miles away from being an adult. I would look at my toys, which I was able to play with just a few months before, hold them in my hands and realise I had forgotten how to. Yet I tried and tried again which would lead to a sense of uneasiness that I repeatedly ignored. I remember clearly the need to recreate a world I no longer fit into; yet never give up in trying.
And that’s what being an artist means, at least to me, today.
Few are the things that give me more satisfaction than when I get to know that my work has inspired other creatives in theirs. Yesterday I received this in my inbox by Miriam C inspired by 'Triq ir-Repubblika - Valletta'
I was searching in a crowd
and every time I thought I found you
a blank face turned in surprise
a stranger once again
with stories in her eyes
but I didn't have time for that
- Miriam C
If you are interesed in Miriam C's work, please visit HERE
2014 has been a very important year for national celebrations in Malta. 50 years of independence, 40 years a republic and 35 years since Malta is no longer a military base. On such occasions one cannot but question what does it mean to be Maltese. In a country the size of a small city, that has always been dominated by some foreign power, that has always been a naval centre of sorts, where people come and go on a regular basis, what does national identity mean? What is it that make us Maltese? Is it lineage? Is it birth? Is it culture? Is it traditions? Is it food? or maybe a combination of them all.
Despite my dislike of categorisation of art, broadly speaking, Rupert Cefai’s art can be grouped into landscape paintings and figurative works.
Cefai’s landscape art is quintessentially a celebration of the Mediterranean and, in particular, the Maltese lifestyle. His palette, albeit rich in tones, is often limited to the warm spectrum, echoing sunshine and hues which evoke the timbre of a well-developed Maltese stone patina. Cefai does not opt for realism, probably deliberately: the urban landscape is in a constant state of flux, even if at times to its own detriment, a fact perhaps defined by the often turbulent brushstrokes. Yet, even in their often abstract nature, the paintings’ thematic capture the essence of the islands’ identity: the fortifications, the cubic architecture, the mass and solidity of stone and inevitably topped by the Baroque dome. Cefai’s mastery of ink wash reflects his strong architectural background but nonetheless departing from strict and rigid draughtsmanship to create fresh and vivid works which, like a photographic camera, capture a moment in time the streetscapes which define the Maltese urban fabric.
The artist’s versatility is celebrated in his creation of layered digital artwork and figurative painting, particularly his “Tiers of truth” series, which I had the privilege of viewing in his London exhibition. Here, Cefai is inspired by ordinary daily activities, such as café or village festa life, characters from literature or movies, to deconstruct and thereby illustrate various facets of life reproduced through seemingly banal subjects. My personal favourite is “Ridi, Pagliaccio” – where the figure of the clown could be a metaphorical image of society’s forgers of smiles or, conversely, those in a constant painful struggle to live up to the pressures of today’s society and faking a smile to meet its demands. Cefai, in his unique style, thus employs art to explore metaphysical, intangible matters, consciously or perhaps in a state of mind at play, and provoke the viewer’s thought via the canvas. The limited but tough collection of portraits is another observance of the still relevant role of art to capture the essence of a moment, even in an age where (digital) photography is so widely accessible, ironically portrayed in “La donna gravida”.
All this forms the basis of my judgement of Cefai: he is an important contributor to Malta’s 21st century artistic legacy, both in the parochial sense, thanks to his robust repertoire of landscapes, but also on a broader (possibly deeper) level by way of his figurative works. Cefai’s works are evidently a strong and passionate tribute to the Maltese cultural heritage and a source of inspiration to anyone who, like myself, has this at heart.
Over the years, I have become a good friend of the camera. To the contemporary artist, digital photography provides a number of tools that until recently did not exist or rather, did not exist so cheaply and never so easily accessible. Keeping record of things, from snap shots of places, things and people; capturing moments that you wish to never forget; to archiving in the most professional way has never been easier. The digital camera has a capacity of capturing a moment in time and transfer it to a number of dots that when placed in the right order trick us in believing it's a true image.
This is where a painting differs. Brush strokes are analogue, not digital. They are produced over a period of time, thus capturing a longer span that can be weeks. This fact, I believe, puts the artist in a better position to capture more than what he sees, more that the gist of the moment. It also gives the artist time to explore more, to try and understand more and to analyse more.
And when the subject is yourself, things start being interesting. The process gives you time to see yourself in detail. It gives you time to compare the reflection you see in the mirror, with the mental image you have of yourself. After a while you come to the realisation that the visible surface is just one layer of a multitude of layers that are there hiding behind the skin. The marks, the shades and the tones of the skin become a map that guides you through yourself and through your thoughts. The process of painting a self-portrait can kick-start a journey of change, a change in what the artist understands by the self
Oct. 2014 - Fragile Beauty - project with Shield Consultants
Mar. 2015 - Talb Imsikket - more info soon
List of Major Past Exhibitions
April 2013 - tiers of truths...extended - Solo - Artitude Gallery, Sliema, Malta
Oct. 2012 - tiers of truths - Solo - Artefact Gallery, London, UK
Dec 2011 And Then - Solo - Capotavola - Marsascala, Malta
Sept 2011 Spirtupront - tranlating Jazz into colour - A collaborative Project with international Jazz Musician David Paquette - Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana, Malta
May 2011 Ġmiel il-Ħrafa ( the Beauty of the Tale) - Solo - Inquisitor’s Palace - Heritage Malta - Birgu
Dec 2010 Art...e Gozo - together with Carmel Cachia, Andrew Diacono, Victor Spiteri - art...e Gallery, Victoria, Gozo
May 2010 A Tribute to Mothers - collective - Pardo Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Palazzo Parisio, Valletta, Malta
April 2010 Tektika Tango - collective - Phoenicia Hotel, Malta
Oct 2009 Milonga Otonal - Tango Studies and Sketches - Solo - Villa Madama, Attard, Malta
Oct 2008 Narratives In Light - Solo - Chiesa Degli Artisti, Piazza Del Popolo, Roma, Italia
Oct 2007 2nd ArtsDirectory Malta Annual Exhibition - Collective - Palazzo de la Salle, Valletta, Malta
Oct 2007 C – an exhibition of paintings - Solo - Art…e GALLERY, Victoria Gozo, Malta
July 2007 Garibaldi Exhibition - competition - Winner of Intercontinental Price - Italian Cultural Institute, Valletta, Malta
Jun 2007 Malta Society of Arts Annual Exhibition - competition - 1st Runner-up - Naxxar, Malta
Apr 2006 Arts Directory Malta Annual Exhibition - collective - Phoenix Complex, St. Venera - Malta
Dec 2005 Artissa 02 Exhibition – collective - 240 Complex Fgura, Malta
Oct 2005 Artissa 01 Exhibition – collective - 240 Complex Fgura, Malta
Oct 2005 Effigy - images of human likeness - Solo - Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard - Malta - del Borgo Wine Bar, Birgu - Malta
May 2005 Four-Figure Tables collaborative - together with Photographer Bernard Bonnici, Calligraphist Gordon Pace Flores , Manoel Theatre Central Courtyard, Valletta, Malta - del Borgo Wine Bar, Birgu, Malta
During the 1st two weeks of October 2012, Rupert will be holding an exhibition titled 'Tiers of Truths' which will be held at the Artefact's Framers Gallery in London. More information will be published soon
If you would like to keep updated, please visit http://www.rupertcefai.com