Following is a piece I wrote about No. 68 Gallery in Valletta for MaltaInsideOut http://www.maltainsideout.com/.
If you are passionate about the visual arts, you might find it hard to locate some of Malta’s talent, especially if what you’re looking for is modern or alternative forms of expression. St James Cavalier might be the place to start, but one, government-backed venue is not enough when it comes to the self expression of a whole country’s artists.
This is where the Valletta house, known simply as No. 68, comes in. The aim of No. 68 is to “host artistic and cultural events and to give exposure to artists, both emerging as well as established names”.
Located in secluded St Lucy’s Street, Valletta, this gem of an artistic venue is an old house, lovingly restored and brought back to life by Alexandra Pace, one of Malta’s foremost photographers. The house belonged to her grandparents, but for decades it lay unoccupied, until, in October 2008, Alexandra was looking for a special place to host her solo photographic exhibition. Now, No. 68 is a prime venue in what is fast-becoming one of Valletta’s hippest streets for the insider crowd.
What Alexandra has done is admirable; she made sure that the renovation mirrored the original structure and decor. Wall colours were kept the same, tiles were scrubbed down until their true beauty flourished, the wrought-iron fire places were brought back to life and a few pieces of old furniture were restored and now lie scattered around the house to remind everyone of the history of this magnificent place.
Probably the most alluring of all rooms in this four storey building is the ‘pink bathroom’, a symmetrical, spacious room with black hexagon tiles and pink fittings. The rest of the house has been left unfilled, but during exhibitions it is endowed with art and installations. The style screams minimalism, but it marries perfectly with the character of the house, in which old merges with new.
No. 68 also hosts Kinemastik, an alternative film club, which takes place every week in one of the larger rooms. These kind of initiatives prove that the No. 68 project has the potential to be the hub for a whole spectrum of visual arts.
No. 68 is an art gallery with a heart, and its own identity. Check No. 68’s blog for information about upcoming events. If you have the opportunity to visit No 68, I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.