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Prehistoric Malta and contemporary art

posted on 13.01.2011, 09:24 by Louis Lagana
Malta, a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean is extremely rich in its Prehistoric archaeological heritage. Local and also foreign artists were and continue to be fascinated and influenced by prehistoric art during the course of their careers. This thesis demonstrates the ways in which contemporary artists interpret Neolithic symbolism, particularly the images of Neolithic Goddesses found in various temples on the islands. The well preserved state of the Maltese Temples and their artefacts, and their beauty, still stimulate the imagination of artists to create works of art that show not only their personal reflections, but also their 'collective' psychic qualities. My methodological approach is to employ Jungian theory and contemporary theories of Primitivism to analyse such these works of art. I explore the reasons why artists are still interested in recreating symbols of the past. My general line of argument in the thesis is that some contemporary artists have a strong desire to recapture what they see as the 'spiritual perception of nature' that seems to be lacking at the present time. Through personal and collective symbols artists can be seen to be creating a new vocabulary which might act as a healing agent to relieve society from its persisting ills. The particular facets of this work and issues arising within practices relating to Malta's Neolithic past are explored through a number of case studies, examining closely the works of some well-known artists (local and foreign), such as Neville Ferry, Eva-Gesine Wegner, Sina Farrugia, Louis, Casha, and Jean Busutil Zalcski.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • Arts


© Louis Lagana

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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