Occasionally, a passing comment unexpectedly grows and develops into something you wouldn’t have dared to dream. That’s how The Shift’s art exhibition developed into the event we are launching today supported by 18 of Malta’s top artists.
This past year has been hard on us all. The uncertainty that COVID-19 brought meant that every plan, every target, every element of how The Shift functioned had to be rethought… and that is when that comment was made. It was barely muttered before it was brushed aside.
The event unexpectedly sprung to life when a tentative message to one of the artists received an immediate response: “Sure, happy to”. We then hesitantly contacted another artist and again received a “more than happy to”, and so it continued.
We couldn’t believe it. Within days of that first message, we had 20 pieces donated by Malta’s most prestigious artists in support of our investigative journalism.
The endorsement of The Shift’s work by the art community in Malta has exceeded our every expectation and has brought to light solidarity that we didn’t even realise existed and which we greatly appreciate.
From left: Debbie Caruana Dingli, Sebastian Tanti Burlo’, Isabel Warrington, Catherine Cavallo, Luciano Micallef, Roberta Zammit Cutajar, Pawl Carbonaro, Celia Borg Cardona, James Vella Clark, Joseph Farrugia, Richard Saliba, Michelle Gianlanze, Tonio Mallia, Madeleine Gera, Anna Galea, Anna Grima, Ray Piscopo and Marisa Attard.
The proceeds raised from the sale of the artworks will fund The Shift’s work over the next months but most emphatically these artists have supported journalists and the free press in every sense possible.
This is what Luciano Micallef, one of the artists in this exhibition, had to say: “All those who are seriously concerned about a free press in Malta should support The Shift. Well done, Shift”.
Michelle Gialanze also features in the Art for Free Press exhibition. “I donated a painting to The Shift because I believe in the cause. Freedom of speech is essential to our lives. It’s the component that allows for growth and change. It’s our pivot to a healthy community.”
As one of our columnists, Ryan Murdock has put it, “In an environment where everyone is on the take, The Shift has become a trusted source for in-depth investigations and thoughtful commentary”.
The Shift is driven by a passion for truth, a solid work ethic, and the sort of stubbornness that refuses to cave in to pressure. A line up of Malta’s top artists has endorsed our work, and they will be joined by a number of writers and academics in Malta who will be adding their voice in support of truly independent journalism on The Shift’s third anniversary.
“I support The Shift News, as much as I support the free press, as this is a main pillar on which democracy rests. We have a right to have a free press because its absence makes way for autocratic, corrupt and arrogant public figures to dictate the way in which honest citizens must think and believe. We have not learnt from the past… I do not want my family and grandchildren to live in terror and corruption. I want my art to shout out loud and I hope my contribution helps you out,” said artist Ray Piscopo who has donated two of his paintings.
The Shift was born out of the darkest of moments. During the last three years, and despite the massive challenges, we have investigated and exposed the depths and extent of corruption. We have unravelled the excuses and laid bare the facts without fear or favour. Without this kind of journalism, “our sense of injustice would lose its vocabulary and citizens would not be armed with the information they need to fight”.
We answer only to our readers. It’s now up to you.
For more information, visit the online exhibition.