We’ve reached out to Anna Calleja, an amazing talented emerging artists and winner of our ‘Post your Portfolio’ call. We wanted to learn more about her experience as a practising artist so far, and what to expect from her in the near future.
Ever since I was a child, I have drawn and made things. For a long time I thought of it as a hobby, just a part of myself. I was told not to focus on art as it’s not a straightforward career path. After studying English and History, I decided I wanted to be a doctor because I’ve always had an affinity for sciences. Halfway through my one year plan to sit for my Biology and Chemistry A-Level exams, I went on a foundation preparation course at Central St. Martins in London. Suddenly I was around young people who were determined to make creativity their livelihood.
I had never experienced this level of self-determination within the arts before. After 3 weeks of collaging, problem solving, life drawing and printmaking, I found it very hard to focus on organic chemistry to the dismay of my wonderful teachers! I knew I wanted to follow a career path in the arts.
Tell us about your most recent artistic work and any upcoming projects you are working on.
I am currently working towards a solo show at the Malta Society of Arts in Palazzo De La Salle in Valletta. This exhibition will open from the 4th to the 25th of March 2021. I’ve shown work in group exhibitions in the UK and Malta before, including at the Tate St. Ives, Porthmeor Studios and Wignacourt Museum in Rabat, but this is my first solo show.
My current body of work is a bridge to home; revolving around melancholy in the domestic space, using the process of painting to create quiet moments of introspection. The body of work has, so far, consisted of paintings, prints and a few sculptures. I use traditional techniques; representational oil painting, lost-wax bronze casting, mono-printing and etching. I draw on my notions of comfort: my home, family, pets and stories. The imagery contains recurring motifs of sleep, items of clothing and domestic items that give subtle narrative hints to meaning.
The outbreak of the pandemic has layered the work with new meaning that I couldn’t have anticipated. The domestic space has become a base for the fight against COVID-19, a safe haven and a cage all at once. Notions of comfort, intimacy and safety within the home are being infiltrated by political instability, a sense of loss and angst.
Name one major challenge that you face as an emerging artist as well as an incentive that encourages you to continue practising art professionally?
Anna Calleja featured on Art Paper
What are your dreams and ambitions for the future?
I hope to live by painting and continue to show my work. Being back in Malta after 3 years of living in the UK, I am also a newcomer to the art scene. I would like to get more involved and meet artists and creatives that I admire.
Learn more about Anna Calleja and connect with the artist on her ARTZ ID profile.