MUŻA is the new national museum of art in Malta, branded as a National-Community Art Museum. The chosen name, MUŻA, also stands for the project vision. The word is an acronym which stands for MUŻ(ew Nazzjonali tal-)A(rti), the Maltese name for National Museum of Art. It also refers to the muses, the mythological figures from Classical Antiquity inspiring creativity and, in effect, the etymological source of the word, ‘museum’. MUŻA is also the Maltese word for inspiration. MUŻA strives to show the history of the collection of the Malta National Museum of Art, and the values that have shaped it over time.
The MUŻA project rethinks the collection as a source of inspiration for the Maltese community and beyond. Looking back at how the muses inspired creativity, the project will keep questioning the relevance of museums in this day and age and how these have to remain dynamic and vibrant institutions owned by the community.
MUŻA seeks to adopt and purposely develop a participatory museum model for the arts, with particular reference to its national art museum remit. Community and nation are, by consequence, overlain and traditional museum audiences are rethought into participants and inhabitants.
MUŻA seeks to become a significant community asset promoting social cohesion, intercultural dialogue, creativity and inspiration. It promotes greater participation by the community through a story-based narrative of display and related objects, and utilises a broader range of access tools to experience heritage and culture.
For this purpose, MUŻA is understood as a hybrid of public spaces, galleries, and retail facilities equally relevant within one interconnecting weave of services and facilities that define MUŻA as a National-Community Art Museum. By defining itself as a culture space, with its main courtyard as an extension, MUŻA situates itself as an extension of the urban fabric of Valletta.
MUŻA Exhibitions Call
MUŻA’s exhibition programme will be structured on a call for artists that will be launched once a year. This call has been designed according to the spaces that can be offered and guided by the principles outlined in this document.
– Artists will not be charged but will be required to donate one piece to Heritage Malta to form part of the National Collection, following discussions with MUŻA’s curatorial team.
– Artists will coordinate with, be assisted and supported by Heritage Malta’s exhibitions, logistics and curatorial staff for the setting up of their exhibitions.
– For the inauguration and any other events tied exclusively to the exhibition, artists will avail themselves of MUŻA Café’s catering facilities.
– Price tags against each work are not permitted throughout the exhibition’s duration.
– While a general list can be put up during the opening night only, it is required to be removed for the entire length of the exhibition. The sale of works throughout the length of the exhibition is not permitted.
– Artists are responsible for any other expenses which might include catalogues/leaflets, additional lighting and further display material not available at MUŻA, Heritage Malta.
– A formal agreement including all terms and conditions will be signed by Heritage Malta and the artist following acceptance of the proposal.
The call was officially announced on 28 August, and is available on https://heritagemalta.org. All applications have to be submitted by hand by 1st November 2019 at the MUŻA reception desk. Applications should include the attached MUŻA application form, the proposal (concept/theme), the CV and/or artist’s/s’ portfolio and the set of images reflecting the concept/theme and art works.
For any questions prior to the deadline, all applicants/artists are requested to send an email to Katya Micallef on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A calendar of events with accepted exhibitions, covering the period of January to September 2020, will be announced as soon as all applications are reviewed and vetted.
Three Different Spaces
The exhibition can be held according to the applicant’s choice (unless Heritage Malta directs the applicant to another space) in one of the spaces at MUŻA mentioned below. This should be clearly indicated in the application.
- Solo/Collective Exhibitions – Camerone
Exhibitions by one artist or a collective can be held in this space. This exhibition should be accompanied by a catalogue and it should be a curated exhibition with all basics including marketing, social media, info panels, captions and general interpretation up to high standards.
See plans for further information – Camerone
- Hands-on/Residency Exhibitions – Community Space
Smaller exhibitions can be held in this space. The space should serve as a pedagogical area where, apart from the final artworks, artists should present ongoing development and should also organise some sort of educational workshop or lecture. Curated shows are recommended.
The other purpose of this room is to invite artists for short residences (3-4 weeks) where they can work within this space while interacting with visitors at MUŻA. As a residency MUŻA will accommodate artists during opening hours only, from 9.00 till 17.00 from Monday to Sunday.
See plans for further information – Community Space
- Exhibitions/Installation Work/s – MUŻA Public Space
Applicants can choose the courtyard (half of which only can be used for the allocation of works), and/or the corridors between the two entrances/exits. The applicant should keep in mind that this is a public space with free access. Any damages are the applicants’ responsibility. Free-standing and installation works are highly recommended.
MUŻA Exhibition Guideline Principles
CREATE DIALOGUE with COMMUNITIES
Exhibitions within MUŻA should empower communities, including the artists’ community, the Valletta community, village communities and any other, to create dialogue. This is only possible by reconsidering traditional ways of how to develop and present an exhibition/event by keeping the needs and interests of community members firmly in mind. Ideas of how to engage the community in dialogue should be included in the proposal. It should assist in developing skills to support individuals and communities in general.
To achieve this, the proposals should:
– include educational activities such as workshops, talks or, possibly, a lecture;
– provide opportunities for different community groups to interact with exhibits and display by including interpretation tools;
– invite community groups, students of all ages and educators to visit the exhibition.
CONNECT with MUŻA NARRATIVES: MEDITERRANEAN, EUROPE, EMPIRE and THE ARTIST
Exhibitions within MUŻA should present a meaningful experience by connecting the exhibition concept and/or idea development with the 4 main narratives of MUŻA.
The MUŻA narratives are linked to the identity of the National Collections, the Auberge d’Italie’s architectural fabric and Malta’s history.
To achieve this, the proposal should:
– have a clear purpose and aims;
– be relevant to the MUŻA concept and narratives;
– show how the exhibition can be relevant on an international platform by comparing the concept/theme to ongoing exhibitions abroad.
CONTINUITY for PRESENT AND PAST GENERATIONS
MUŻA, as a legacy project and a Heritage Malta National Museum, aims to preserve the National Collection for current and future generations. All of us should leave something behind. This will offer the opportunity for current and future generations to appreciate events presented today.
To achieve this the proposal should:
– show awareness of the National Collection;
– discuss how the work presented is relative within the local and international context;
– reflect how the work is relevant for future generations.