Ann Dingli is a Maltese art writer based in London with an M.A. in Art History (University of Malta) and an M.A. in Design Writing (University of the Arts, London). Her areas of studies have ranged from art criticism in mid-century Maltese media, to the artistry of Maltese modernist architecture, to evolving mediums of ‘place-writing’.
In her early career Ann worked in-house with architectural practices building content around practice knowledge and projects, as well as helping to define and coordinate exhibitions, publications, talks and events. She formed part of the curation team for the exhibition ‘Novelletta’ in 2010, brought to The Building Centre in London by Architecture Project Valletta as part of the London Festival of Architecture. In 2017, she left full-time employment to pursue independent writing, editing, strategy and curation. She now works with practitioners from the globally renowned AIA Gold winning Adjaye Associates and RIBA Stirling Prize winning architects dRMM, to several emerging and established architects, designers, artists, galleries, and charities across Europe. Her content writing has been recognised at industry awards, including the 2021 and 2022 Dezeen Media Awards.
In 2019, Ann opened a photography and text-based exhibition titled ‘The Spaces that Connect Us’ at Valletta Contemporary, Malta, with photographer Joanna Demarco, showing content examining the social constructs of an internetless society in rural America. In 2020, she curated ‘Other Places’, a watercolour exhibition by artist Sebastian Tanti Burlò, and in 2022 curated ‘The Archetype Series’, a sculpture exhibition showcasing the work of Norbert Francis Attard. Ann has contributed to several art books, including the recent exhibition catalogues for ‘fuse’, a site-specific art project delivered by the Valletta Cultural Agency, and ‘The Ordinary Lives of Women’, a collective, female-led exhibition at Spazzju Kreattiv. Ann has been writer and editor for Valletta Contemporary since 2018.
SOAP TO THINK WITH
Curated by Ann Dingli
SOAP TO THINK WITH chronicles the artworks and subject-matter of a comprehensive solo exhibition by artist Norbert Francis Attard – a show that will encompass a breadth of work that spans just over two and a half years in the making, and which includes a diversity of media and artistic disciplines. The works and catalogue will interrogate three driving themes, beginning from a universal and global perspective and threading through spheres of collective thought, through to individual analysis. In his creation of three pillars of subject-matter, Attard builds work around humanity’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic; the notion of political and financial corruption in Malta; and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Each theme is catechised by Attard through works that link with canons of conceptual art, objet trouvé, light art, photography, sculpture, and graphic art. In his selection of subject-matter, Attard builds a retrospective comment around the wider and ongoing question of human ethics – his work grappling with the major traumas and moral dilemmas that have plagued communities both worldwide and locally in Malta. Their commentary addresses events that occured over substantial stretches of time and those that took place in the space of a moment.
SOAP TO THINK WITH will not only immortalise an artistic event that will tackle some of the most urgent and lasting events and themes of our recent history, it will also act as a contemplative edict on how human beings live today. As such, these works will become a capsule of reflection for Malta and beyond the islands’ shores – a longform comment on the way humanity contends with the most arduous tests and trials of our time.
SOAP TO THINK WITH includes 111 pieces in total from which 77 works are being featured in this exhibition. They were carried out during the Covid-19 period and immediately after The World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Lockdown started two days later, on 13th March. The first works were created towards the end of March 2020, followed by an entire series of 2D and 3D works which continued being produced until the end of October 2022, a span of exactly thirty-one months. In numerology, which is the belief that numbers share a mystical relationship between coinciding events, the number 111 is closely linked to new beginnings, independence and positivity. When added together, 111 equals 3, which symbolises creativity, curiosity and imagination. These are all attributes which have come define Attard’s decades-long artistic career in which he strays away from stagnation and instead seeks out the new, reinventing himself at every opportunity which presents itself.
This exhibition is dedicated to MARISA VELLA (1960 - 2020)