FROĠA / FARRAGO
Froġa/Farrago, Sebastian Tanti Burlò’s latest solo exhibition, presents a collection of oil paintings that build on Burlò’s expanding conversation with his perceived surroundings. The varying themes and aesthetics take us across the painter’s experiences living between Siġġiewi, Florence, and London.
The farrago of paintings represent different parts of these experiences, divided into series of works titled: Growing Gardens, Rajt Malta Tiħxien (I Saw Malta Grow Fat), Probable Headlines, and Everything remains the same (The Beating of Yūḥannā). The series lays bare Burlò’s distinct preoccupations and pleasures, unified through his flair for the absurd, his satirical strokes, and underlying subversive narrative.
Known for his political cartoons published in the Times of Malta, here Burlò swaps his pen for the brush, retaining his unapologetic social commentary.
The saturated colours of the Mediterranean are ever present in his palette, evidence of his enduring connection to the island he loves. On this occasion, Burlò widens his commentary to global preoccupation, touching on the impending environmental catastrophe and the regression of democracy to the far-right. The works in this show are a tragicomedy between the romanticised memory of the island he was born to, and what society has become.
Yet, beneath these bleak preoccupations, there exists beauty - in the gardens and countryside where Burlò grew up and spends most of his free time. In the joy of friendships grown through childhood adventures up trees, and the long summer meals and prolonged winter walks relished with friends and family. Items and settings depicted throughout the paintings are those closest to the artist. They represent totems to humanity’s incredible progression and the fragility with which it may all regress.
“Sadly there are no donkeys in this exhibition. We are mindlessly running towards a future where there may no longer be any, ever, anywhere.” - Sebastian Tanti Burlò