‘Ebba’s Sketchbook’ can be viewed until 18 September 2008 at NUVO art & dine, 104, Zonqor Street, Marsascala. All proceeds will go to Din l-Art Ħelwa.
Din l-Art Helwa is grateful to Saviour Balzan and to all patrons of this exhibition.
Maltatoday, 29 June 2008, by Franica Pulis –
Currently NUVO art & dine is exhibiting the first commemorative exhibition of Ebba von Fersen Balzan organised by her husband Saviour Balzan and Nuvo. The choice of the German restaurant as Saviour said was “significant. It was here that we spent our last suppers together… It was here that we enjoyed some very precious moments.”
Ebba’s sketchbook was inaugurated by Ingeborg Beggel, Deputy Head of Mission from the German Embassy and Vince Briffa, Artist and Art Director on the 17 June. Friends attended the opening; artists, some of whom worked closely with Ebba, and distinguished guests including Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Labour MP Helena Dalli. Nuvo’s patron chef Stefan Shulte opened the night and invited all guests to savour of his delicacies and Franken red and white wines.
In her speech Beggel compared Ebba’s strength with that of the females fighters fighting during the struggle for the independence of Eritrea. She compared the independent mindedness and perseverance in the Eritrean female fighter to Ebba.
Vince Briffa who knew Ebba spoke about the intimacy an artist’s sketchbook holds.
“To speak about an artist’s sketchbook is really to speak about a person’s compelling desire to draw what he or she observes from life; of someone’s very own personal journal brought about by the gathered experience of this journey we call life.
“A sketchbook provides us with a live record of an artist’s process of visual thinking and reveals the deepest aspects of one’s creative process. Indeed, it finds its parallel in a writer’s urge to describe. A sketchbook is a place where one dialogues with oneself, where one draws, writes and scribbles – it is a descriptive testimonial of some of the most intimate moments of one’s experiences.”
The exhibition, as its title suggests, is made up of 65 sketches chosen arbitrarily by Art student Gulja Holland. These sketches portray mainly Maltese and foreign landscapes in ink, pastels and some in oil. Some of these sketches led to larger works of art. However, some of them are a finished product in themselves.
In his note on his German-Maltese wife and her art, Saviour Balzan wrote: “It is my way of celebrating her memory in a short time since her death.
“Discovering her extensive work in her studio in Malta and Brittany was an experience. It led me to understand the inspiration for many of her studio works which are in themselves too complex to be exhibited without some careful attention to presentation… something I am unable to do by myself. The works here are just a taste of the dozens of her undiscovered sketchbooks.”
He added, “Being with her was a patient but unique experience. I am artistically unable to describe the profoundness of her work. Ebba would always say it is not important to understand a painting – if it conveys an emotion, and you like it or it means something to you – then it means the painting is worth something.”
Vince Briffa ended his speech saying: “We are privileged to witness this collection of pages taken from Ebba’s beloved sketchbooks. Ebba is here presenting us not only with her own live record of the places she’s been to in order to paint or sketch, but is also, through this modest but wonderful collection, showing us her technical and creative resourcefulness; her progression of ideas and investigation into forms, colour and character. Most of all, through such work, Ebba is here laying bare full evidence of her inquiring mind.
“…These private sketches, drawings and paintings are evidence of Ebba’s commitment, conviction, and determination to take the road less traveled.”