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117 Art in Ceramics The Art of ceramics takes us back before the era of the prehistoric cultures.The Art of ceramics takes us back before the era of the prehistoric cultures. Probably clay was the first material which ancient humans used to produce their pots to carry water and food.Probably clay was the first material which ancient humans used to produce their pots to carry water and food. From clay, they also made statuettes and objects of ritual to honour their gods.From clay, they also made statuettes and objects of ritual to honour their gods. When we trace our ancient heritage we come across Malta’s rich and great variations of prehistoric pottery. We find interesting symbolical motifs on various pots, and perhaps the most symbolical aspect is that of the great number of figurines made in terracotta presenting the non-conventional renderings of the human figure expressed in a variety of stylised statuettes.When we trace our ancient heritage we come across Malta’s rich and great variations of prehistoric pottery. We find interesting symbolical motifs on various pots, and perhaps the most symbolical aspect is that of the great number of figurines made in terracotta presenting the non-conventional renderings of the human figure expressed in a variety of stylised statuettes.

118 We can say that art started from the earth.We can say that art started from the earth. Clay begins its journey from the earth where it is given its first colours by nature.Clay begins its journey from the earth where it is given its first colours by nature. Then the transformation continues. The four elements of water, earth, fire and air are in the firing. Water and earth are found in the clay, and air and fire in the firing.Then the transformation continues. The four elements of water, earth, fire and air are in the firing. Water and earth are found in the clay, and air and fire in the firing. Clay is mixed with water and then fired to make it durable and resistant. The merging of these fundamental elements derived from nature produce some of the most amazing artifacts which we find in the story of art.Clay is mixed with water and then fired to make it durable and resistant. The merging of these fundamental elements derived from nature produce some of the most amazing artifacts which we find in the story of art.

119 Clay has been always used as a medium precisely for what makes it so attractive to artists.Clay has been always used as a medium precisely for what makes it so attractive to artists. It has fascinating characteristics: the smell, the look, the feel of its granular texture and pliability. Clay is a material which responds to manipulation and with clay ceramic artists bring a work to life and symbolically give it a sense of permanence.It has fascinating characteristics: the smell, the look, the feel of its granular texture and pliability. Clay is a material which responds to manipulation and with clay ceramic artists bring a work to life and symbolically give it a sense of permanence. The possibility for creative work in ceramics is boundless and contemporary artists seek to celebrate the diversity and richness of human existence.The possibility for creative work in ceramics is boundless and contemporary artists seek to celebrate the diversity and richness of human existence.

120 This exhibition explores the numerous directions of different ceramists. It is therefore a unique opportunity to see the works of Maltese and Cypriot artists who are collaborating and exhibiting together and creating exchanging ideas.This exhibition explores the numerous directions of different ceramists. It is therefore a unique opportunity to see the works of Maltese and Cypriot artists who are collaborating and exhibiting together and creating exchanging ideas. It is the hope of the organizers that this exhibition will provide a thought provoking and visually stimulating experience, one that serves as only the beginning of what is sure to become a more common vehicle for viewing ceramic artwork into the future.It is the hope of the organizers that this exhibition will provide a thought provoking and visually stimulating experience, one that serves as only the beginning of what is sure to become a more common vehicle for viewing ceramic artwork into the future. Dr. Louis Laganà University of Malta Dr. Louis Laganà University of Malta

121 Ceramics The favourite materials of some of the most highly thought of contemporary artists are garbage, rotten scraps, excrement.The favourite materials of some of the most highly thought of contemporary artists are garbage, rotten scraps, excrement. This preference contrasts sharply with that of artists in previous ages who chose, if they could, the costliest stuff to work upon, even though it may have been the luminosity of gold or diamonds or silk that might have constituted the essence of preciousness in their eyes rather than market- price. But the contemporary choice of materials that are deemed intrinsically worthless harks back in a way to the early and perennial attraction of clay.This preference contrasts sharply with that of artists in previous ages who chose, if they could, the costliest stuff to work upon, even though it may have been the luminosity of gold or diamonds or silk that might have constituted the essence of preciousness in their eyes rather than market- price. But the contemporary choice of materials that are deemed intrinsically worthless harks back in a way to the early and perennial attraction of clay. The contemporary artists who choose to work with flotsam and jetsam, with remnants and relics, ravaged or ruined have ceased perhaps to think of their work as creative but see it rather as redemptive. They do not try to figure out things, but rather to transfigure absurdity into meaning.The contemporary artists who choose to work with flotsam and jetsam, with remnants and relics, ravaged or ruined have ceased perhaps to think of their work as creative but see it rather as redemptive. They do not try to figure out things, but rather to transfigure absurdity into meaning.

122 In so doing, they may actually be more closely following the example of God as he is pictured in the Book of Genesis producing the cosmos out of chaos and the first human being out of clay.In so doing, they may actually be more closely following the example of God as he is pictured in the Book of Genesis producing the cosmos out of chaos and the first human being out of clay. The material that serves as starting point for the divine actor is dust of the earth. With a little added water, possibly spittle, the dust becomes clay. The proto-Potter who moulds Adam is visualised as transforming matter that is synonymous with that the nature of which is to be brushed away. It is salvaged by a gust of air, form breathed into it to give it soul and life.The material that serves as starting point for the divine actor is dust of the earth. With a little added water, possibly spittle, the dust becomes clay. The proto-Potter who moulds Adam is visualised as transforming matter that is synonymous with that the nature of which is to be brushed away. It is salvaged by a gust of air, form breathed into it to give it soul and life. Fire, fourth of the elements, may be used to purify it and even give it the shine and radiance that goes with the ability to reflect light.Fire, fourth of the elements, may be used to purify it and even give it the shine and radiance that goes with the ability to reflect light. The ancient and most basic technology of the ceramist was refined to yield elegance of the most sophisticated sort, while yet retaining the spell- binding capacity of the most primitive magic. No wonder it remains as apt a medium for the artist of the third millennium as it has been in every century of the history of humankind.The ancient and most basic technology of the ceramist was refined to yield elegance of the most sophisticated sort, while yet retaining the spell- binding capacity of the most primitive magic. No wonder it remains as apt a medium for the artist of the third millennium as it has been in every century of the history of humankind. Peter Serracino Inglott Priest and Professor of Philosophy Peter Serracino Inglott Priest and Professor of Philosophy


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