ArtMuse has been the icing on cake of the Community Art project that Kopin held together with Charmaine Zammit, the educator of the project, during the summer of 2017. The exhibition included the works created by a group of inmates at the Corradino Correctional Facility as participants of the project.

As an intern, I helped with the setup of the exhibition and I had the privilege to attend the Official Opening, on Wednesday 20th September. I knew inmates were going to be there with their families and, somehow, I thought I would find a group of people in prison jumpsuit, how naïve! Actually, I was surprised by the pleasant atmosphere where everyone looked at their ease, chatting and enjoying the evening.

I had the chance to personally help Ms. Zammit in hanging photos and drawings up, and this allowed me to know the story behind every frame, a story of migration, of willingness to come back to the normal life or to stay out of troubles.

At the beginning of the project, inmates have been asked to choose among images of the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta what seemed more significant in their eyes, so they could reproduce them or use them as a starting point to develop their ideas and give their experiences a shape.

It was fundamental to understand, as Ms. Zammit also pointed out during her speech, that the quality of the technique used by the artists didn’t matter, it wasn’t an art contest, no one was going to be awarded ‘best painter’, we weren’t at the exhibition to admire the style of each brush stroke or pencil mark. We were there to appreciate the commitment and the creativity of each artist, to let everyone of them share with us a part of themselves.

Michael Farrugia, the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, was there to give a speech and to award participants with a certificate. You could feel and see how proud the relatives and the inmates were, their eyes really shone when looking at the artworks. Maybe those certificates will end up in a drawer, someday, but I can bet that being applauded for something you’ve created is among the most rewarding feelings ever.

Written by: Valentina Garofalo

(awesome intern by day, starwars enthusiast by night)