PARADOXUM: Debut solo exhibition by Dave Calleja opening tonight at Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq

“Masks are wonderfully paradoxical in this way: while they may hide the physical reality, they can show us how a person wants to be seen.” – Joanna Scott 


Paradoxum marks the debut solo exhibition by Dave Calleja, delving into the profound symbolism of masks. With a rich history, masks possess the power to conceal both beauty and ugliness, enveloping the wearer in mystery and allure. Calleja’s exploration was sparked by the Japanese saying that declares, “We have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends and your family. The third face, you never show anyone.”

Calleja presents an enchanting series of masks, each portraying idiosyncratic characteristics. These creations underscore the notion that individuals often obscure their true selves, revealing specific personae based on their circumstances. The exhibition invites the viewer to be surrounded by numerous masks, creating a showcase where one can choose his/her ‘mask for the day’. Authenticity, according to Calleja, lies in the fact that each mask contains some real part of us.

Consistently using a black metallic metal devoid of distinct features as the ‘base’ for all masks, Calleja provides a poignant commentary on the perpetual quest for self-discovery—an exploration shaped by societal norms and social interactions.

Paradoxum by Dave Calleja, is on from the 8th of March till the 31st of March, at il-Kamra ta’ Fuq, Mqabba.  The exhibition is curated by Melanie Erixon. 


David Calleja (b. 1979, Malta) mainly works with three-dimensional metal sculptures. Developing a fascination for form at an early age, he was intrigued by the numerous characteristics that constitute his native island.

These elements reflect in his present creations and influenced Calleja’s laborious method, in that he has sought to capture the multi-layered aspect of his terrain. He has also been drawn to experiment with technique and in time developed an approach that merges the traditional hammering of a blacksmith with more contemporary techniques in metal art. His dedication to the applied arts reveals an ardor and a final product that conceals a preserved energy.

Calleja’s finished pieces interact with space creating form and life. For a number of years, Calleja has worked with various fabrications and his inclination toward this genre of work, has gradually woven itself throughout his present work. Calleja has participated in numerous collective exhibitions and PARADOXUM is his debut solo exhibition.

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