No More Mdina Landscapes

Lisa Falzon (b. 1983)

Acrylic on canvas. 65cm x 65cm. 2006.

Lisa Falzon draws her inspiration from the notions of femininity – vulnerability, tenderness, protection and inner strength- to render her images into visual metaphors and stories. Such a narrative develops in her early work ‘No More Mdina Landscapes’ and provokes the viewer to question their opinions on what constitutes true progress.

No More Mdina Landscapes, is at first glance a rather ‘cute’ image of a girl seated on a rubble wall, making a hand gesture inviting the viewer to keep a secret. Upon further inspection it is evident that the secret we are entrusted with is far from childlike or innocent but pushes forward an ecological message. The artist toys with the viewer’s thoughts on how we treat our natural and urban landscape. On the one hand the view of Mdina is burning against a beautiful cerulean blue sky, and on the other the girl sits on a traditional rubble wall cheekily holding the match. A harsh question is asked: should we hold on to our traditional landscape or should we make way for urban development?

This work raises the same questions as the Pop-Surrealist artist Mark Ryden, whose works in ‘The Tree Show’ also encourage the viewer to think about the environment. Both artists use innocent characters which at first glance lull the viewer into a false sense of security-“this is simply a pretty painting” – but upon deeper inspection sends a message that penetrates on multiple levels and reflects upon the values by which we live.