It’s two years since Valletta moved from ‘candidate’ city to future European Capital of Culture and we’ve three more to go to big-bang celebratory year. The road is long but it’s already being mapped, directed and planned. The tagline on the Valletta 2018 website talks of the ‘journey’ to 2018, as the whole point of being a Capital of Culture is to see change before, during and after the year itself.
Many of us may not be aware of this journey which is involving more than the Valletta 2018 organisation’s inner team. Numerous schools, NGOs, clubs, communities, individuals and international partners from counterpart European Culture Capitals present and future are busy on initiatives that are both one-offs and also longer-term, such as themed collaborative projects leading to events in 2018 itself.
A glance at the Valletta 2018 current cultural programme gives us an idea of the range of activities sponsored by the Valletta 2018 Orgnisation, the entity driving the European Capital of Culture. As part of this year’s Notte Bianca events last month, for example, Valletta 2018 was behind a project called L-Ikla t-Tajba (or ‘buon appetit’) – a first street food celebration of its kind in Malta drawing on the talents of amateur and budding chefs. Coming up this Christmas season, for a second year running, is a 3D Architectural Mapping Projection; a collaborative event between the Valletta 2018 Foundation and MCAST Institute for Art and Design which promises an audio-visual spectacle of projections on the facade of the Grandmaster’s Palace in St George’s Square, Valletta.
While the artistic programme and micro planning of 2018 are still way ahead, it’s clear that Valletta 2018 is being felt, slowly and surely, in various areas of cultural and civic life. More of us need to understand what it’s about and how to get involved and that perhaps needs more public info out there from the powers that be. No doubt more opportunities will be flagged up as the journey quickens pace.
To help set the scene for the remaining years, and to galvanise the public’s interest, Valletta 2018 Organisation recently launched a new corporate identity with the help of a video entitled ‘Valletta is my Orchestra’ (see above); a vignette of Valletta as seen through the eyes of a young boy during a visit to his grandfather who lives in the city. As the Valletta 2018 organisation says “the story is a reflection of the life of other children and young people from Valletta and other towns and villages in Malta and Gozo”.
Some voices have said it shows Valletta in too traditional a vibe but while that may be the case, the Maltese Islands have proud and venerable traditions to celebrate amid the new-wave of events and embellishments going on. The cultural programme shows that new thinking in arts and culture is taking centre stage. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, we say. There’s plenty of time to see Valletta is manifold representations. The new logo is based on the street grid plan that defined Valletta as a glittering, unique and new style of city when conceived over four hundred years ago.
Valletta 2018: more info
For more on Valletta’s journey to European Capital of Culture, visit: Valletta 2018 Organisation.