Valletta in 2018

Collaboration with photographer Inigo Taylor. 

In 2018, seven years after placing its official bid, and six subsequent to clinching success, Malta’s capital city proudly entered its incumbency as the European Capital of Culture (ECoC). Valletta became one in two of the ECoC title-holders during the programme’s 33rd year since inception. Each year since 1985, the ECoC title has been granted to two cities within the European Union, with every tenure lasting one calendar year.

Whilst walking the streets of the city just days prior to the launch of Valletta 2018 (which became the final permeation of the term’s official name), we jointly felt that the polished version of Valletta that was being widely proliferated through the programme’s official publicity and which was being pushed by social media hashtags, did not provide a sincere representation of the Valletta we experienced first-hand on its gridded streets. 

Besides that, the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia less than three months earlier cast a dark shadow over the city, and Malta's year in the cultural spotlight.

Our documentary project, Valletta in 2018, was born from that sense of misalignment. Throughout the year, we visited Valletta sporadically, covering all corners of the city’s footprint, in all types of weather, on varying occasions, during both eventful and uneventful moments, photographing whatever caught our eye, slowly curating an alternative, perhaps unpolished narrative of the city.

Photographs by Joanna Demarco and Inigo Taylor. Book by Kotba Calleja. Text edit by Ann Dingli.

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