Exhibition of Sicilian Maiolica

The Times of Malta, September 22, 2001

Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti has launched its tenth exhibition, Antique Sicilian Maiolica in Malta.
The exhibition is being held at St James Cavalier in Valletta from today until October 21, after which it is to travel on to Ragusa and Caltagirone in Sicily, where many of the ceramics on display originated.
During the inauguration yesterday, Patrimonju chairman Maurice de Giorgio explained that the idea of the exhibition came about when the heard that the president of the Istituto di Sociologia Luigi Sturzo of Caltagirone was looking  into the possibility pf borrowing a number of pieces of antique Sicilian maiolica held in Malta to exhibit in Sicily.
Patrimonju decided to take up the idea and it was agreed to first hold the exhibition in Malta.  It was fitting that the exhibition should start in Malta and move to Sicily where the fine pieces of maiolica originated, he said.
Preparation for the exhibition, which includes 114 pieces, goes back two years.
In keeping with Patrimonju’s tradition, most of the artefacts have never been seen before by the public.  The majority are from the reserve collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, while the remainder are from the Church museums and private collections.
The Arts Centre has been described as the ideal backdrop for the striking and characteristic blues, yellows and greens of the maiolica.
The ceramics were used by the Knights of the Order of St John to preserve ointments, oils and other forms of medication for their treatment of the sick.  They were, therefore, originally housed in the former hospital of the Knights, the Sacra Infermeria – what is today the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
Education Minister Louis Galea, who attended the inauguration, said the Sicilian maiolica was testimony of the historical connection between the two islands.

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