New Collection by ‘photographic’ artist

by Chev. E. Fiorentino

 

Just about a year ago I ‘discovered’ a new artistic talent – for me at least – in Cedric Galea Pirotta (b. 1971) from Naxxar, who was putting up his first solo exhibition at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard. He is now back at the same venue with another collection, consisting of 19 drawings and paintings.

Il-KartellThat first exhibition was called Stoneworks. It captured parts of our limestone heritage through cityscapes or in little crannies within our old cities and villages.

The story did not end there since now, with this new collection, which is called Snapshots from our Islet, Galea Pirotta has extended his basic trait to record shots from the unique texture of our island with its eroded limestone stonework and the extent of its formidable architectural patrimony.

Though he has no particular training in art, Galea Pirotta has a technical and engineering background, besides being proficient in graphic design. Coupled with his sensitivity towards his surroundings, this must have led him to choose his pen and inks as his preferred medium for reproducing his stone-related subjects to perfection.

For indeed whenever we look at such subjects such as his Girna, the main entrance of Fort Ricasoli, the Saqqajja Fountain (still waiting for its turn to be properly rehabilitated) or even the large Grand Harbour with its watery sheen, to name just a few examples out of the whole collection, the feeling is akin to viewing some old photograph of the real thing. Just as the camera never lies, the same thing can be said for his drawings.

Galea Pirotta looks at details as much as open vistas. Among the latter one comes across Bjut tal-Birgu with the landmarks of the respective domes of the Vittoriosa parish church of St Lawrence and the Dominican church of the Annunciation, the Windmill at Dingli, the above-mentioned Grand Harbour, an Aerial View of Fort St Angelo and the same fort as seen from sea level.

An interesting combination of textures comes up with Tal-Karmnu where the huge dome of the Carmelite church in Valletta is visually juxtaposed to the time-worn stonework of a semi-dilapidated wall in the foreground.

Tal-Karmnu, Il-Belt VallettaConsidering the spatial intimacy suggested by his meticulous working process I am fully convinced that his detailed approach captures better my attention than his broad subjects.

In this respect such examples as Il-Lukkett , the above-mentioned Girna, the Niche of St Paul preening itself next to Naxxar parish church, the Gallery in Mdina, the unusual view of San Pawl tat-Targa or the recently restored Chapel of the Flight to Egypt at Pinto Wharf in Floriana, have all the makings of what I tend to appreciate most about his production.

Having said that, it could well be said that the high point of his art can best be recognised in the relative microcosm of spots to be encountered in Malta. Of such spots he can have a field day as he scours the island with his camera at different times of the day to capture the best possible angles for his subjects.

I feel that through his work Galea Pirotta succeeds in drawing the attention of and to convince his audience about the beauty that so often resides besides us. No wonder he observes: “too many a time have we gone past things unnoticed. Through my art, I try to make the audience aware of all this”.

Cedric Galea Pirotta must be considered as one of the very few artists in Malta who comes up tops in the genre that he employs. For a relative newcomer with a comprehensive agenda, I consider his work as technically beyond reproach. It is that kind of expression that demands nothing more than a visual empathy with all those who cherish the fascinating singularity of our island home.

The exhibition continues until March 30.

Featured Paintings :

Il-Kartell (Pen Ink and Wash)

Tal-Karmnu - Il-Belt Valletta (Pen Ink and Airbrush)