Excited to hear about the latest contemporary art initiative – Art Sweven – ARTZ ID caught up with Melanie Erixon, the brains behind the project. Melanie has numerous years of experience as project manager and curator of well-received projects on the local art scene. We are looking forward to find out how she combined her background, her network and her skills to come up with an innovative concept.
You already have extensive experience managing artistic projects. Can you tell us more about your background in art and culture?
Art is definitely my biggest passion. Even though I am not a practicing artist, I cannot live without my daily dose of good art. I am slowly building a little art collection focusing on contemporary artists living on the Maltese Islands, and almost all my traveling is linked to major art exhibitions around Europe. I graduated with a BA (Hons) in History of Art (Malta) and read for an MA in Museum & Heritage Management (Newcastle). The last couple of years I also attended two courses at Sotheby’s Art Institute, on how to run a contemporary art gallery, and on curation.
I was part of the Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale team for 2 editions, where I focused on the events calendar coordination and assisting the curator. Both editions of the biennale were under the artistic direction of Prof. Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci. I was also the producer and presenter for the Biennale radio show – Culture Vulture, which aired on Campus FM. Following this, I produced and presented another radio show series, under the auspices of the History of Art Department, University of Malta – also on Campus FM – Saviour Faire, which was delving into another of my passions – design.
I did an internship at Studio 104, in Valletta, (now Desko), under the amazing Michelle Morrissey – a woman who truly inspires me so much and whom I really miss working with. We organized some interesting exhibitions and I learned so much about running an art gallery! Between 2015 to 2018, I was the coordinator of the Strada Stretta Concept, also under the artistic direction of Prof. Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci, a project under the auspices of the Valletta 2018 Foundation. I was in charge of around 90 cultural events throughout those years, including operas, a fashion show, concerts, poetry evenings, lectures, art exhibitions, theatre and many other cultural events including collaborations with various embassies. This was an amazing experience which enhanced my network in the cultural sector immensely.
You are currently working on a new, exciting project – Art Sweven. Can you tell us more about the idea behind it and what it can offer to the local artistic community?
As the name implies, Art Sweven, is representing my Art Dream. artsweven.com is an online gallery which also specialises in commission-guidance for patrons and collectors with specific visions; whilst at the same time promoting artists. Art Sweven will be working together with Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq, curating monthly exhibitions at this new exhibition space located in the New Life Bar in Mqabba. I will be working with the sculptor Antoine Farrugia, who runs the mentioned bar. All exhibited works will also be featured on artsweven.com.
What should we expect from Art Sweven in the near future?
As mentioned, the main ‘project’ will be the monthly exhibitions which will be held at il-Kamra ta’ Fuq at New Life Bar. Within a few days of the soft launch of the venue and the website, we have an almost full calendar of exhibitions for 2021. It is very exciting to be able to work with Antoine Farrugia, who not only is one of my favourite local artists but also one of my best friends. We have exhibitions booked by the following artists in the coming months – Darren Tanti, Mark Mallia, Pawlu Mizzi, Debbie Bonello, Johanna Barthet, Clint Scerri Harkins, Joyce Camilleri & Nikki Lee Zammit. I am also very much looking forward to a collective exhibition that I wish to curate, on a particular theme, aimed tentatively for November 2021.
What are your long-term aspirations and ambitions?
Let us call them Sogni nel cassetto. I wish to have the opportunity to be part of the curatorial team for the Maltese Pavilion for an edition of the Venice Biennale. La Biennale, is one of the events I eagerly await every two years and always do my utmost not to miss it. I think it is a mind-blowing experience for everyone who visits, and it is amazing how a magical city like Venice is transformed into something even more otherworldly during the biennale period. Another dream is to work on a project/exhibition with my two favourite contemporary artists Nick Alm and Chiharu Shiota. And last but surely not least would be to be able to gain some work experience with Vittorio Sgarbi and Hans Ulrich Obrist, both of whom I stalk (I mean follow 🙂 ).