Malta’s dominant culture through forces sustaining ideology

A local scenario and myself within it

Barthes thesis, which confronts the idea of the image being a weak and elementary medium of communication when compared to language, is truly intriguing. My eleven-year experience as a professional graphic designer keeps reminding me how images create and transmit meaning. Thus, the responsibility granted by Barthes onto the image maker becomes factual. One can discuss whether both the image-maker and the image itself can give birth to new ideologies.

The interpretation of images by the audience is directly influenced by the experience and the relationships they carry along. It is sometimes stronger than the actual language that accompanies visual imagery. And that is why the same image could have a different lasting effect within different cultures. When image is set about for debate, its subjectivity should be always scrutinised before any commentary is made.

Within a Maltese context, the lack of exposure to good art for the locals is source to uninformed/uneducated relationships. I would say the experience is many times inexistent as this is also lacking through the educational system.

Different ideologies can trigger different reactions to the same subject, imagery or interpretation of both. When the term ideology denotes a political vision, popular culture is sculptured into a terrain made of political and social significations. 

Unfortunately, censorship within our artistic scenario is still, very tangible. The idea of regulation of expression is the result of ideologies set about by a predominant Catholic Church and a Christian Democratic ruling government.

Yet, in line with German playwright Berolt Brecht, one could luckily affirm that “art is never without consequences”; Duchamp’s “fountain” which declared a rejection of the establishment of art, was an important challenge to the perceptions of people, firmly anchored within their ideologies.

Local ideology works mainly on the religious and the political fronts of society where both linguistics and imagery are used by the establishments to define the common denominators and the ‘dominant culture’. Instances through local history proved such ideologies beneficial, yet, the relevance of both conforming forces today, seem to be quite occult.

On such grounds, my art has in the past years grown sensitive towards these conspiring forces. Starting off through my writing, thus, my linguistic forces, I decided to start describing my emotions related to the local conformism to politics and religion, by using poetry. Following the introduction of social media I made a conscious decision to expose these confronting ideas of mine into public through a blog and facebook. 

I have experimented both with creating and exposing art for and through these platforms, but also to reinvent my graphical artistic expression into something that speaks of a heightened awareness in comparison to a, generally, alienated society.