23 July 2017
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Miscellaneous - Mixxillenja

Closing Ceremony Speech of the Art Camp Malta 2nd Edition 2017 - 19 May 2017

Dear friends,

Dear artists,

Here we are, standing together at the heart of Gozo’s ÄŠittadella as we bid farewell to another successful venture – the second edition of Art Camp Malta, indeed Art Camp Malta 2017.

Art Camp was imported to Malta by the Office of the Permanent Delegation of Malta to UNESCO through the Associated Schools Project Network on an experimental basis in 2015, thanks to the collaboration with the Andorran National Commission of UNESCO and the genuine interest of Ms Hedva Ser, the Godmother of the Art Camp Project. Back then, in November 2015, we had 13 artists.

Almost two years on, as we found a formidable partner in the Maltese National Commission of UNESCO, we managed to remarkably double this number. In the meantime, with the collaboration with the Andorran National Commission of UNESCO, we sent the Maltese representative to Art Camp 2016 in Andorra and thus, the bilateral cooperation behind this project was further reinforced. This year, it was our turn again to host Art Camp and the Andorran National Commission stood foursquare behind us. This shows that what started as a trial run, in less than two years has grown into a true bilateral project with an even larger reach.

This year, as Malta heads the Presidency of the European Council, it was our intention to give this Art Camp edition a tinge of the European values with which we identify ourselves. Hence, our initial target was to get artists from each and every EU-member country. But then, that might have been elitist, exclusive or selective. Rather, the EU values we uphold promote cooperation, inclusion, diversity, respect, multiculturalism, freedom of movement and freedom of speech, amongst others. And so we got Art Camp 2017 with such a healthy blend of incredible people, cultural baggages, philosophical schools, and great artists. We had people from Australia, from Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa, the European Continent, and the European Union. We had people coming from large countries, from tiny landlocked countries and small islands just like Malta and Gozo. We had people with different beliefs or with hardly any belief at all.

We are all different. I stand here, you stand there. He is this kind of person and she is this different. They belong here, the others belong there. We are all unique. But at the end of this Art Camp we can, hand on heart, say, that we really managed to build bridges of understanding.  We understood others and, in the process, we let others understand us. We listened to others, and in the process, they listened to us as well. We taught others and, in the process, we made sure we also learned from them. This happened thanks to the positive disposition with which each and every one of you participated in this Art Camp.

Ultimately, this “building bridges of understanding” in a set context of Art Camp is nothing but a microcosm – a small and sheltered model of what we should be inspired to do in the larger real-life world we live in. Let this Art Camp be another occasion for us so that we feel empowered and inspired to promote the building of bridges of understanding in our families, in our homes, in our neighborhoods and communities, in our countries and in the world we live in. You have a very powerful medium, you speak a very powerful language – the language of arts. It is a language to which there is always an audience. It is a language that goes beyond borders and beyond time. I honestly and wholeheartedly urge you to use it to promote greater understanding of different cultures.

If your work manages to move and inspire one viewer to do one small good deed, it can move a million persons. And it doesn’t matter if that one viewer, moved by your work of art does not become the head of state of whatever country. It is enough for that person to live with fellow human beings for him to make a difference, a difference inspired by whatever message your work of art is intended to convey.

As I conclude, dear friends, allow me to thank the UNESCO National Commissions of Malta and Andorra with their distinguished personnel and our staff from the Associated Schools Project Network whom I am quite sure you all have come to know during the past days. Allow me to thank especially the Ministry for Gozo and the Ministry for Education as the two main sponsors of this edition, together with the Parliamentary Secretariat for the EU Presidency within the Ministry of the Deputy Prime Minister and Arts Council Malta within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government. I would also like to thank all the sponsors that appear on our printed matter, without whose help, this Art Camp experience would not have been such a success.

Last but not least, dear artists, I thank you, not merely for the paintings that stand as your legacy, but for the wonderful opportunity you gave us and for the message you left with your works of art, which I am sure will last far longer than the time you employed in painting them, and reach far wider than the width of the canvas for the benefit of one and all.

 

Thank you.

 

HE Mgr Dr Joe Vella Gauci

Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Malta to UNESCO

 

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