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Breaking boundaries in search of truth

Scandinavian artist Marie Louise Kold speaks to Juan Ameen on the upcoming exhibition ‘WORDS’ and her aim to support “the Maltese who show their true mettle in their roar for justice, for freedom of expression and for the truth”.

Marie Louise Kold art for The Shift
One of the original pieces titled Truth Be Out created for The Shift by Marie Louise Kold that will be auctioned.

Danish artist Marie Louise Kold knows what it is like to work with materials that are strong, heavy duty and powerful as she crafts huge sheets of raw metal into delicate, intricate pieces of art.

And this same love of metalwork and its everlasting strength has also led her to have an admiration and passion for words and their immense power, resulting in an exhibition of 21 beautiful metal works of art to be held next month at Studio 87 in Valletta titled Words’.

The exhibition is a continuation of Kold using her art “to join the Maltese who show their true mettle in their roar for justice, for freedom of expression and for the truth”. Proceeds from sales will be donated to support investigative journalism by The Shift.

Two years ago – just a few weeks after Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb – Kold felt she had to create a piece to mark the life and work of the Maltese journalist that now sits in the press room at the European Parliament in Strasbourg named after her. The portrait of Caruana Galizia, unveiled by former president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, is made from a single sheet of copper etched with acid and painted with printers ink.

“I am still shocked and outraged at her death – her words and her truth continue to live on. This exhibition is not just to remember Caruana Galizia but also the many people who keep her work alive by constantly searching for the truth while investigating with integrity,” Kold said.

Blossoming Words – one of the original pieces created by the artist for the exhbition in November.

Three works of art – Truth Will Out, Blossoming Words and Words Unfurling – were specifically created for the exhibition and will be sold through a silent auction that will end on 22 November. Each piece in the exhibition has been transformed by Kold from a bulky sheet of shiny metal to a delicate, almost crumbling piece of art – awash in beautiful shades and colours.

Truth Will Out looks like a metal box bursting at the seams with huge letters that threaten to spill out. “I am fascinated by text and old words. These letters are very old – they were used in old signs and I had kept them for a long time to be used in a special work of art.”

Blossoming Words reflects her belief that new life springs from old words as can be seen in the delicate copper flowers rising from a sheet filled with etched text that seems to have become almost illegible over time.

Words Unfurling is a set of three scrolls seemingly held together with a thin strand of wire that is much stronger than it looks. “I like the feeling of having words protected but then unrolled, unfurled to reveal the truth,” Kold said.

Detail from the work Words Unfurled

The works are made from etched and patinated copper, bronze and brass and show how precious, powerful, fragile, inspiring, uninhibited, hard-hitting words are together with their immeasurable importance.

Kold has held several exhibitions in Malta, including one titled Ex Libris that was held last year at the National Library in Valletta. “Malta is and will always be close to my heart. I hope this one won’t be my last exhibition here but it will likely be the last one for a long time,” she said.

No work of art leaves her studio unless it reaches her high expectations. “They are all very special to me”.

After being in and out of Malta for around 10 years, Kold has moved to full time work from her studio in Sweden.

“I am grateful for all that Malta has given me and all the wonderful, art-loving people I have met there. And I remain outraged at any kind of suppression of freedom of speech, the worst example of which was the assassination of Caruana Galizia. People who carry on asking tough questions, demanding accountability and exposing truths no matter the risk deserve all of our support,” she said.

She decided to support The Shift with her art. “I think their work is amazing and they have the stamina and integrity to keep on going – no matter what.”

She said it was appalling that journalists and their families were at risk in Malta, adding that she was in awe of those still brave enough to continue their work. “All of us suffer – all of society – when journalists are attacked or murdered.”

Bidding for the three artworks on auction starts today – contact [email protected]. Learn more and take a look at the catalogue here. Kold will travel to Malta for the opening of the exhibition on 15 November at 7pm. It will run until 22 November at Studio 87, Ta’ Liesse Hill in Valletta

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