Grazzi Malta: An art exhibition with works by Olaug Vethal (1946-2007) whilst in Malta from 1988-2007 will feature 40 works of art and other artifacts that reveal the relationship of this artist with the Maltese people whom she loved to paint. It is taking place at the St James Cavalier Centre of Creativity upper galleries between 26 February and 30 March. This is the first exhibition and publication following the artists death on 24 February 2007. This exhibition will reveal the stylistic changes in her art from the very first presence of the artist on the island till the very last stages of her life , during her illness. The influences of the Maltese culture, people, way of life and light are reminiscent in her works following comparisons to when she first arrived.
A native of Norway, Olaug Vethal became one of Malta’s most prolific artists, known primarily for her “…movement and expressive brushstrokes…..each piece is a mosaic of an endless tapestry concerned with freedom of invention” (Dr Joseph Paul Cassar). Olaug Vethal is considered one of the major proponents of Figurative expressionism who also had a touch of impressionism in so far as “capturing a moment in time” and “en plein air” painting. Through this, she embraced the realistic depiction of everyday people and scenes in Malta, particularly village topics.
From 1964 to 1987 Vethal studied various subjects including gymnastics, music, philosophy, German, Latin, philology, History of Art, printing, and fine art , between both the University of Oslo, Norway, as well as the University of Hamburg, Germany. Residing primarily in Malta since after this date, Vethal has also been teaching art at A level standard privately, as well as at the De La Salle Sixth form between 1996 and 2007.
Olaug Vethal chose to represent the world around her in a manner of exalting the virtues of a simple lifestyle. Her favourite topics included portraits of family and friends, to bathers by the sea, tribal figures, jazz musicians, temples, boats, dancers and nude figures, primarily those of robust figure. She was “a meta-physical artist” as she herself stated and her art progressed in many different ways, leading to the works of her last years where she fell ill, hence the possibility of dwelling on the philosophy of our human existence.
This exhibition is being sponsored by MTA, National Lotteries Good Causes Fund, Strickland Foundation, Citadel insurance, Poultons Printshop and Marsovin wines.