The inaugural Malta Biennale is set to take place from 11 March to 31 May across 12 historic sites in the Mediterranean Islands of Malta and Gozo, including its main exhibition venue, which will be Valletta’s recently restored Grandmaster’s Palace, the megalithic temples of Ġgantija and Birgu’s Armoury.

Lead by independent curator Sofia Baldi Pighi, the exhibition, titled Insulaphilia, will engage with the landscape and geopolitical significance of the Maltese archipelago. The biennial’s main theme is inspired by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s concept that islands contain “the intensity of the world itself.” Pighi in a statement promised that “Insulaphilia” would “investigate insular thinking,” noting that the biennial aims to show the island “not as a postcard utopia but as a delimitation that produces learning and encounters.”

She has organized the main exhibition into four sections, each stemming from the themes laid out in “Insulaphilia”: regional issues, facets of decolonization, the political dimensions of the Mediterranean, and various forms of resistance. Amy Bravo’s work will be included in the thematic section of The Matri-Archive of the Mediterranean, which is exploring the question of the archive in the context of creativity, memory and the artistic, performative female community of the Mediterranean region (in collaboration with Heritage Malta, the University of Naples L’Orientale, the Centre for Postcolonial Gender Studies, and the scholars of the Matri-Archive of the Mediterranean).

The Matri-archive presents itself as a radical, open archival platform for collecting and discussing  issues such as: the ability to manage and transmit knowledge through the creativity of one’s own arts; the generational transmission not only of tradition but also of trauma stemming from patriarchal control, making artistic practice a tool for exorcism, processing and healing; the celebration of the matriarchs who have paved the way for experimentation, innovation and ingenuity for generations to come; the identification of practices, styles and forms necessary for new classification, identification, preservation and transmission.

The main show will also be accompanied by 11 national pavilions: Austria, China, France and Germany, Italy, Malta, Palestine, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.

A list of 72 artists has been announced: Alan Abd El Monim (Italian/Egyptian), Camilla Alberti (Italian), Anna Anderegg (Swiss), Teresa Antignani (Italian), Jean-Marie Appriou (French), Rosa Barba (Italian-German), Simon Benjamin (Jamaican), Laura Besançon (Maltese), Aaron Bezzina (Maltese), Rebecca Bonaci (Maltese), Josian Bonello (Maltese), Isabelle Borg (Maltese), Claude Borg, Maria Borg, Sumaya Ben Saad, Rebecca Mifsud (Maltese), Amy Bravo (American), Tania Bruguera (Cuban), Siwani Buhlebezwe (South African), Teresa Busuttil (Australian), Anna Calleja (Maltese), Austin Camilleri (Maltese), Edson Chagas (Angolan/Portuguese), Mel Chin (Chinese-American), Leo Chircop (Maltese), Dolphin Club (Maltese, French), Joseph Cochran II (American), Andrea Conte (Andreco) (Italian), Gaia De Megni (Italian), Mònica de Miranda (Portuguese/Angolan), Adama Delphine Fawundu (American), Zehra Doğan (Kurdish), Dolphin Club (Maltese, French), Madeleine Fenwick (British), Andrea Ferrero (Peruvian), Martina Georgina, Romeo Roxman Gatt (Maltese), Nina Gerada (Maltese), Sara Goldschmied, Eleonora Chiari (Italian), Bettina Hutschek (German), Anne Immelé (French), Daniel Jablonski (Brazilian), Barbara Kapusta (Austrian), Dew Kim (South Korean), Konstantina Krikzoni (Greek), Wioletta Kulewska Akyel (Polish), Sara Leghissa (Italian), Ji Yeon Yaloo Lim, Pia Borg (Korean, Maltese-Australian), Luz Lizarazo (Colombian), Edson Luli (Albanian), Basim Magdy (Swiss/Egyptian), Guadalupe Maravilla (El Salvadorian), Jermay Michael Gabriel (Italian), Karyn Olivier (American), Zazzaro Otto (Italian), Adrian Paci (Albanian) Post Disaster (Collective), Grazia Mappa, Gabriele Leo, Gabriella Mastrangelo, Peppe Frisino (Italian), Dijana Protić (Croatian), Laure Prouvost (French), Keit Bonnici, Florinda Camilleri, Neils Plotard (Maltese, Maltese, French), Agnes Questionmark (Italian), Anna Raimondo (Italian), Pedro Reyes (Mexican), Cemile Sahin (German), Paul Sammut (British), Zineb Sedira (French/Algerian), Ana, Giuditta Shametaj, Vendrame (Italian/Albanian, Italian), Anthony Spagnol (Maltese), Tom Van Malderen (Belgian), Fabrizio Vatieri (Italian) and Raphael Vella (Maltese).