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Nov 12

Act Aeon

November 12 @ 7:00 pm - December 3 @ 4:00 pm

Opening Evening 12th November at 19.00 till 21.00, Malta Postal Museum, Valletta
Act Aeon, Curator’s critique
ACT (Action) Aeon (It has been a long period in time)
Myths were never really just an exercise in good storytelling. So many fears, hopes, dreams, and beliefs may lie concealed behind those fantastic stories of impossible loves, herculean endeavors, and wondrous transformation. Beneath those myths that we came to love and typically consider the result of our primitive ancestors’ overwrought fantasy, there are present so many truisms about the human condition and its relationship to the natural and the supernatural. The biggest surprise of all is that whereas science for all its fact-finding promise, is liable to change according to the most recent research, myth has a timeless sacredness about it that makes its truths eternal.
Ancient myths tend to crop up, possibly just about masked under a different guise, in both high and popular culture. From Shakespeare to Margaret Atwood, from Monteverdi to Philip Glass; from Marcel Camus to the Coen brothers, ancient myths play a pivotal and inspiring role. Possibly painters and sculptors are at the top of this list. Under some pretext or other, visual artists are never really far removed from the lure of the ancient world.
Franco Navarro is no stranger to the allure of the ancient myth. Time and again he feels drawn to the eternal wisdom embedded in these stories and he employs it to spark or bounce off his ideas. This collection of paintings and drawings, aptly called Act Aeon, does exactly that, however, with a particular purpose in mind. Franco sees these myths as morality tales and he picks specifically those ones that speak of the dire consequences incurred when humans irreverently meddle with earth and nature. This was a subject that troubled the ancient Greeks to the extent that they voiced their apprehension in myths. It is a subject that should trouble us, even more, considering our callous and inconsiderate relationship with mother earth. Time and again Franco informs his Weltschmerz about our abysmal treatment of the earth and the environment we inhabit by the wisdom of these myths.
Most of the mythical characters that people Franco’s images revolve around the Roman goddess Diana, whose characteristics are almost one with her Greek counterpart Artemis. Amongst other things, she was considered the goddess of childbirth and the Moon. In Franco’s re-imagining she comes to symbolize nature itself. Reflecting upon this tradition, Franco delves wholeheartedly into those stories that speak of gods, demigods, and humans who knowingly or unknowingly disturbed Diana/Nature and about the retribution that was meted upon them as a consequence of their actions. Sipriotes, Actaeon, and Orion who, all play leading roles here, met terrible ends due to their meddling or falling in love with Diana.
The punishment exacted upon Actaeon, to whom this exhibition is dedicated, was particularly gruesome. Various versions exist that speak about Actaeon’s fatal transgression. He might have never really wanted to peek at the chaste Diana bathing naked in a stream of water along with her nymphs. But he chanced upon her whilst hunting and that stolen glimpse was to cost him dearly. In her wrath, Diana turned him into a dappled stag, and soon his own hunting dogs, who failed to recognize their altered master, brutally slaughtered him. Tiziano perhaps gave us the most memorable image of the surprised Actaeon in his Poesies series. His image is full of sexual undertones directly inspired by Ovid’s re-telling of the story in his Metamorphoses. Franco, like any other visual artist, is intent upon producing an interesting image but ultimately his aim is to drive the point that nature fares better when left well alone.
In the end, these are the two specific aims this collection of images aims to reach. To dazzle the senses and to intrigue the mind.
Dr. Christian Attard, Exhibition Curator, and Art-Historian


November 12 @ 7:00 pm
December 3 @ 4:00 pm
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Malta Postal Museum
135, Archbishop Street
Valletta, VLT 1444 Malta
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Franco Navarro Artist


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