Debbie Bonello

‘Gatherings’ by Debbie Bonello is one of the exhibitions which you just cannot miss this month. Debbie is exhibiting a new body of work at Il-kamra Ta’Fuq in Mqabba. Mainly known for her famous landscape work, this time Debbie is exhibiting, bold yet light figurative abstract paintings, she started this collection in 2016 and continued developing the technique over time. We reached out to her to give us some insights behind the exhibition and get to know more about her work and aspirations.

You say ‘The theme found you’ , could you expand on that a little?

As soon as the first lockdown started, I had to adapt and suddenly work in isolation in my studio. I could no longer attend live classes, or paint outside with my fellow artist friends. So I decided to go through some previous works as I decluttered my studio in Balzan, and came across a small painting of Immigrants in silhouette crossing a rough terrain,  that I had painting four years ago. It stuck me immediately and I could make direct relations to our current situation so instantly decided to develop the theme and see where it takes me.

We love your monotone approach to colour palette, what inspires your colour choices?

Just as my moods change daily, so does my colours. Some colours attract me more than others and its a natural choice, my hands reaches out instinctively to use them. I do like to challenge myself however and one can see that in the ‘pink’ clusters. It is not a colour that features in my body of work generally.

Developing this project from 2016, what challenges did you face? How did you over come them?

The biggest challenge was to remain focused. I like to work on different things, from portraits, to landscapes, seascapes, painting outdoors, drawing the model, and so on. So keeping my attention onto one particular theme was a challenge but one finished piece guided me to start planning the next one.

Any advice to artistic youth? Both locally and internationally?

Always do what you love. I tell that to my kids as well and try to practice what I preach. My younger son loves dancing and he breaks the usual stereotype which i admire because it takes courage to be different. In the end if one follows a dream and does something everyday towards achieving that dream, it will happen

What's next?

I’m invited to exhibit in a few collectives in Malta and Gozo and I would love to have an exhibition abroad somehow. This requires some serious thought and funding. I also have a rough idea for another solo but obviously this needs a lot of dedicated attention and time. In the meanwhile my practice continues daily with portraits, en plein air sessions and studio work.

This exhibition is curated by Art Sweven, check out the event page for all information about this exhibition. 

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