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MALTATODAY 20 February 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 20 FEBRUARY 2022 5 ART Ryan Falzon's 'Friends with plants' at il-Kamra ta' Fuq THE exhibition features oil paintings based around the theme of plants – a subject which has currently become a trademark and a synonym of Ryan Falzon's oeuvre. Falzon goes a step further by including figures in his greenery inundat- ed interiors. This comes as no surprise. Falzon amalgam- ates the concept from his Bo- tanica series with another series titled Selfies, which has not yet been exhibited. The Covid-19 pandem- ic proved to be quite a com- fort zone for Falzon, who de- scribes himself as a reserved individual. The halt in the rush of the everyday life and the lack of social pressure brought about by social restrictions, gave him op- portunity to breathe and reflect, without experiencing the fear of missing out. Just like many others confined inside domestic spaces during several periods in the past two years, Falzon em- phasizes that plants were of a great comfort during the pan- demic. Just like painting, indoor gardening is a solitary activity which encourages reflection, routine and growth. An avid gardener himself, Falzon finds comfort in these two parallels activities. The evolution of indoor garden- ing is considered as a significant branch in social history studies. From the hanging gardens of Babylon to the craze for newly discovered specimens imported from the New World during the Victorian era to the 2020's plant boom, plants offered ground- ing, nutrition, and comfort. This pandemic showed us how much the human being craves companionship, and plants are a perfect non-demanding com- panion. The lack of commitment required by plants created this wordplay on the title Friends with Plants. So, we invite you to become a friend with a plant. About the artist Ryan Falzon is a painter and printmaker based between Malta and Berlin. His vibrant, expressive works deal with the contemporary themes of duality, narrative, social media, human interaction and existential con- ditions. Since 2020 Falzon has been working on the Botanica Series, a collection of internal scapes/ still lifes that has received much positive critical attention. A di- rect result of Covid-19 pandem- ic, the main themes portrayed here are suggestive domestic spaces and growth. Since 2009, Falzon has partici- pated in a significant number of solo and collective exhibitions in Malta and Europe. His works can be found in both public and private collections in Europe and the US. Between 2013 and 2015, Falzon managed the Xarolla Windmill Project, aimed at supporting emerging artists. His body of work between 2016 and 2019, such as "Quick Fix: A Morality Tale" (2016), We Lost the War" (2017) and "Culture is Past Art is Future" (2018), has become a reference in recent local political art. He is also involved in local literary circles, and has had his works published in local anthol- ogies. He is currently working on his first novel. Falzon is an art edu- cator and is currently reading for an MA in Fine Arts at University of Malta. For more info, one can follow us on Facebook: il-Kamra ta' Fuq or

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