The Maltese archipelago has 7000 years of history and lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean, with Malta 93km south of Sicily and 288km north of Africa. The Islands enjoy a fascinating eclectic culture. The splendid St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta built in the 1500’s tells much of the history of the knights of St. John. Elaborate Tombs are inlaid in the floor of the palatial church that is both a mausoleum and a gallery filled with masterpieces of art. There are still reminders of the British period and true to the melting pot of cultural influences, the national languages are English and Maltese.
Valletta has launched a preview of its 2018 European Capital of Culture program. A collection of artistic, cultural, and community projects as well as festivals and carnivals, the island is thrilled to be showcasing its eclectic history and heritage.
The program will kick off with a ceremony on 20th January 2018 to mark Valletta’s crown as Europe’s Capital of Culture 2018. As part of the opening festivities, various dynamic shows will be using Valletta’s open squares, namely the Triton Fountain, Castille Square, St. John’s Square and St. George’s Square, as the backdrop for their performance, which will include the participation of international acrobatics company La Fura Dels Baus, performances by ŻfinMalta dancers and digital projections around the city.
Valletta 2018 Chairman Jason Micallef said, “The European Capital of Culture festivities will take on the spirit of an island-wide festa, an event where people and families meet to celebrate and talk and which serves to infuse localities with warmth, life and colour, while bringing the community together.”
“The Valletta 2018 Cultural Program is filled with innovative participatory cultural events, performances and projects, the likes of which have never been seen in Malta before. It is a great opportunity for people to come together and participate in arts and culture,” Program Coordinator Margerita Pulè said.
The program also includes Valletta 2018’s multi-site visual arts exhibition curated by internationally renowned curator Maren Richter, Aħna Refuġjati – an operatic work by young Maltese composer Mario Sammut, Altofest Malta – a Maltese edition of the Naples arts festival hosting interdisciplinary projects in diverse spaces – and Malta Calls; a set by international DJ Per QX, dances from ŻfinMalta and projections by London-based artists Shaun Prickemage and Dan Strutt.
Peter Vella, MTA’s UK Director is looking forward to the program: “The whole city of Valletta is a Unesco World Heritage site… the city needs to be discovered and Valletta 18 is an amazing opportunity to make the UK aware of its beauty”. There will be plenty of incentives for British holidaymakers to travel to Malta to discover Valletta themselves during the celebratory year, with airlines and tour operators expected to join in with the promotion of the program.
However, the city will revel its title of European Capital of Culture long after the program ends: “The Valletta 2018 is a long term project to preserve the cultural heritage and create a legacy that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike to foster cultural heritage as a reflection of our identity as Maltese, Mediterranean and European”, said Minister for Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici.