The Mahalla Festival, Malta

The Mahalla Festival will take place in Malta between Nov 17 - 25

Towards the end of 2018 the Mahalla Festival invites local and international artists and initiatives to show concern and contribute artistic positions regarding the international migration moves. 

We believe that the topics have to be seen in a global con
text, discussing the triggers of migration and the problems of inclusion. The Festival aims to show the potential migration has through strong artistic works.

A Festival of film, literature, contemporary art, debates
and several activities combining events that invite local and international participants to mobilize visitors to explore communities under new aspects.

The Festival is located in venues around Valletta, St. Lucija and Zabbar in Malta.

Supported by

Art Council Malta 
Vodafone Malta Foundation
Frank Salt Real Estate 
Allianz Kulturstiftung for Europe
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Valletta
Office of the Federal Chancellor of Austria 
SAHA – Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey
Austrian Honorary Consulate General
The Flanders department of cultuur, jeugd, sport and media

In Cooperation with

Sustainable Design Collective
Heritage Malta
MUZA: National Museum for Art and Community Museum Fortress Builders Studio 87
Utopian Nights
Valletta Contemporary African Media Association Malta


Canon by avantech 
Örebrun kommun

Exhibition in Palazzo Zabbar:

An unconverted Palazzo in Zabbar is serving as a venue for site specific interventions. After having been the home of a noble family the Palazzo served as a police station and was partly burned down during the anti-colonial uprisings in the 1958. Some locals still have personal memories. Later the Palazzo served as a depot for one local band-club. Today it is for sale awaiting a new destiny. 

Antonio Cosentino (TR), Portable– Leather-Suitcase, Object. Eda Gecikmez (TR), The Memory of the Bird – installation: fabric-mural, drawings and objects. Güneş Terkol (TR), Whispering Tulle, Curtain-Installation. Margerita Pulé (MLT), The Cement Bakery – Installation. Ludivine Thomas (FR/SWE), Pop up installation, Clouds and stones. Benny Andersson (SWE), Carrying memories like stones. Mark Andersson (SWE), Dancing Feet –Sculpture, Paintings. Sara Pace (MLT), Traces of a Sleeping Beauty– Gold-Threads and Spray. Victor Agius (MLT), Ritual Columns. Installation with historical Festa columns. Mathilde Melek An (FR/TR), Golddess-Performance during the opening. Rio Drop, Bathroom, Installation, Objects, Hair-sculptures. Tom van Malderen (BEL/MLT), Tables for the 1%, Utopian Nights Photo Studio – Elise Billiard (MLT/FR), Jeremy Mangion (MLT), Malik Yahia (SD/MLT).

The Memory of the Bird, drawing on linen, 2018

“But if you journey on that narrow Way,
Then you will act as they once did and know
The miseries they had to undergo.
Of all the army that set out, how few
Survived the Way; of that great retinue
A handful lived until the voyage was done –
Of every thousand there remained but one.
Of many who set out no trace was found.
Some deep within the ocean’s depths were drowned;
Some died on mountain-tops; some died of heat;
Some flew too near the sun in their conceit,
Their hearts on fire with love – too late they learned
Their folly when their wings and feathers burned;
Some met their death between the lion’s claws,
And some were ripped to death by monsters’ jaws;
Some died of thirst; some hunger sent insane,
Till suicide released them from their pain;
Some became weak and could no longer fly
(They faltered, fainted, and were left to die);
Some paused bewildered and then turned aside
To gaze at marvels as if stupefied;
Some looked for pleasure’s path and soon confessed
They saw no purpose in the pilgrims’ quest;
Not one in every thousand souls arrived –
In every hundred thousand one survived”

Excerpt From
The Conference of the Birds
Farid Ud-Din Attar

lines 4136-54

The white – cheeked Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis) has a pale eye ring.  It is one of the species affected by the civil war in Syria.  These nightingales live in the Syrian Deir Ez-Zor region along the Euphrates River.  Due to the distorted balance of nature caused by armed conflicts, these birds flock together in millions with refugees to Turkey.  Since 2013, the Bulbuls are observed in Birecik, a district of the East Anatolian province in Urfa, it has been recorded as the national bird inventory of Turkey.


In 2014, a huge airport project, started being constructed on 7650 hectares in the Northern Forests of Istanbul.  It is the Third Airport of the city. This is one of the most significant ecological regions in the world and one of the 100 protected forests in Europe.  The area consists of 90% lakes and forest.  Here the birds breed, feed and it is a hiding habitat for 200 bird species.  It is located on the most important bird migration route in the Western Palearctic region.  In Spring and Autumn, approximately 400,000 storks, about 200,000 raptors and hundreds of thousands of birds, waterfowl and shore birds use this migration route.  The first five species recorded using the Istanbul Strait are the Black Stork, the Stork, the Buzzard, the Falcon.  Moreover, the biggest bird population is the small Forest Eagle. 

--> Malta is an archipelago island.  It is one of the important places where birds migrate to and from Europe and Africa.  Notwithstanding this, hunting is a cultural tradition of the island and nearly one million birds used to be killed or captured every year. Turtle doves and quails are the most common hunted birds.  Several of these birds are killed not to be eaten but as a form of sport.  Especially the fastest flying birds like swifts, sparrows and swallows.  Most of the time, the corpses of the birds are left where they had fallen.  The large and colorful birds such as Marsh Harriers, Falcons, Golden Orioles, rollers and Flamingos are filled in and sold to collectors.  Another element threatening migrating birds is trapping.  Singing birds such as Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Hawfinch, Cool and Linnet are caged alive and then sold to so called ‘bird lovers’.  (This information is compiled from the CABS – Committee Against Birds Slaughter website.)  

Supported by SAHA