June 12, 2014 Editor

Malta and Australia: two islands brought together in an art exhibition

Malcolm J. Naudi, Managing Director, Malcolm J. Naudi Communications writes

Tomorrow I will have the privilege to attend the opening of an art exhibition, Malta and Australia, by the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, at San Anton Palace, Attard.

Rita Muscat Galea, originally from Qormi, is a Maltese-Australian artist who lives in Melbourne. Over the past few weeks and months, I have got to know this extraordinary character who has great courage and personality, which is reflected in her work.

Together with other Board Members of the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, we have worked to make this first exhibition by Rita a reality and, as a result, she has committed to give the Foundation a donation to help it in its mission to provide training and other assistance to visually impaired persons, such as in the use of the long cane, mobility and orientation skills, and guide dogs that will assist them to interact in their daily environment, enhance their individuality and gain independence in their everyday life.

Malta and Australia is an intimately personal exhibition that sums up the attachment Rita has for the island of her birth and the one where she has made her home and grown a family. Consisting of 26 artworks, varying for still-lifes and city-scapes to beach and harbour scenes of Valletta, Sydney and Melbourne, apart from the Australian Bush, many paintings are executed in plein air, enabling her to inspire people’s hearts and imagination.

Made in various mediums, like oil on canvas, oil on boards and charcoals on paper, Rita has always enjoyed the challenge of painting on different mediums and in different styles – from realism to impressionist, which enable her to explore life through her art and art in her life. Often the scenes of her paintings will reflect a mood or a frame of mind that enables her to externalise these strong emotions.

Rita Muscat Galea’s father was a baker and her mother a homemaker. She was always unique and an individualist in her ways of being, expressing her creative side since early childhood. First it was music, singing in festivals and competitions around Malta, and learning the guitar, but also designing her own clothes.

Her love for oil painting began with her grandmother giving her an art kit at the age of 12. Her first paintings harnessed her connection to water and Malta’s seascapes.

When she was 16, she emigrated with her family to Australia, which immediately reminded her of the connections she had with water and Malta’s landscapes.

Now married to an Australian-born Maltese and having three children, she currently lives on a farm in the Melbourne suburb of Victoria. She never lost her desire to paint and opened her own art studio (Muscart Art Studio and Gallery) in 2008, where students are encouraged to experiment with various mediums, and both traditional and modern art.

Having previously exhibited her works in the Maltese Centre in Melbourne and at community fund-raisers, it is the first time she has shown her work in the land of her birth. Since she left, she has been back to Malta four times.

“I never cease to be amazed by the beautiful and variety of landscapes Malta offers. Every time I come here I take many photos that, when I return to my studio in Australia, help me to put to canvas what I had seen and felt over there,” Rita said.

Once the Malta and Australia art exhibition over, Rita Muscat Galea envisions painting her autobiography in Malta over the coming years.

Do make it a point to visit the exhibition, which runs from Saturday, 14 June-Tuesday, 24 June, 2014. Opening times are daily from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Not only will you be able to enjoy Rita’s art, but by buying one of the paintings, you will also be helping the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation.

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