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A Maltese artist’s quest for the spiritual

Detail of one station of the Via Crucis

In the words of novelist Jorge Luis Borges: “All things have been given to us for a purpose and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.” Artist Antonio Mifsud creates sacred narratives out of tablets of clay, his fingers teasing out figures from the inert material and deve­lops narrative drama into his high-relief (altorilievo) friezes. The monochromatic earthiness imbues these sculptural works with a beguiling timelessness. At other times, Mifsud decides to breathe colour into the fissures and cracks, thus enriching the composition with chromatic rhythm. [attach id=922798 size="medium" align="right" type="image"]Risen Crucifix[/attach] Mifsud owes his academic grounding to his tutor, Alfred Camilleri Cauchi, who induced in him a love for the sacred art genre. The Catholic Maltese upbringing, the obligatory after-school lessons in catechism, and a simple life that centred around the village church activities also contributed to his pronounced inclination towards a sacred art that defines the artist. The anecdotal...

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