Ahead of his latest solo show in Malta next month, Kerrejja Causi, which will be offering a glimpse into an abandoned, 16th-century corner of Valletta, we sat down with him to delve into his creative vision and find out what drives him as a creative - both within and outside of Malta.
In what way does collaboration impact your creativity?
I have always been an advocate for collaboration, I think it plays an important part in my creativity. Having a person or group of people to bounce ideas off certainly helps. At the arts university I went to in the UK, I was surrounded by like-minded students studying an array of creative subjects. The fashion and make-up students would collaborate with photographers; the drama students with the filmmakers…it was a great environment to be in, and it really sets you up for later life.
You have just wrapped up a 3-month exhibition in Thailand. How does your travel photography – and travel generally – impact and affect your more commercial work?
My Thai exhibition featured the fine art photographic series Europa, that uses camera-less photography methods to conjure imagery that could be mistaken for the surface of Jupiter’s smallest Galilean moon (Europa). So, not your conventional travel photography, unless you consider taking people’s imaginations on a journey to the far reaches of our solar system to be travel photography!
For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for travel, in particular wildlife and conservation. When I was 19, I decided to travel to Madagascar to make a short wildlife documentary about the indigenous species of the island and the increasing threat of deforestation. Off the back of this personal project, I have been asked to return to the island and have created several short films for an NGO concerned about plastic pollution and its effect on marine life. I’m lucky that travel photography and filmmaking now plays a crucial role in my commercial work. I have just returned from a trip to Thailand, photographing the beautiful Iniala Beach House hotel, and then I travelled to Bali, where I directed a series of short films for the Inspirasia charitable Foundation.
As a creative, what of Malta intrigues and fascinates you?
Possibly the most obvious thing that struck me when I first came was the landscape and beautiful coastline. This is mainly what I documented on my first visit in 2018. Since moving here in January this year, I have learnt a lot more about the rich history of the island, and this knowledge has hugely influenced the body of work I have created for my exhibition Kerrejja Causi.
Why did you choose a less obvious aspect of Valletta – and of Malta – as an abandoned kerrejja to focus your first solo show here on?
The body of work I created for Kerrejja Causi encompasses a lot of what I have learnt about the island in the past six months. The building I chose to photograph was built in the 16th century, so it existed through some incredible historical events including the Great Siege, and both World Wars. What I love about this abandoned building is the sense that it was deserted on one day many years ago, with even knives and forks left laid on tables. Kerrejja Causi is full of character, and it represents a past Malta which will be lost in the natural passage of time and modern development.
What is your motto?
Don’t be afraid of the word ‘no’ and don’t give up. Persistence is key! Cold call, contact and email as much as you can. Assist on projects in the early stages of your career; I have found that it has been instrumental in building my reputation.
Christian Marot’s latest work shall be on display at his first Maltese solo-show, ‘Kerrejja Causi’, at Iniala Gallery in Valletta between 9 and 19 May 2019