Four generations of art at Matchbox Gallery

By Leo Billington

Four generations of artwork at Yinnar’s Matchbox Gallery

According to Picasso, if you do not notice the passage of time when working, you are doing something you enjoy. Your work and studies will become more interesting if you become passionate about them. Such is the case of Gilio Barbara as he presents an exhibition of art work from four generations of his family.

Commencing March 17 until April 3, a collection of family art work by Gilio’s father, Gilio, son Julien and grandchildren will be showcased at Yinnar’s Matchbox Gallery.

Gilio Barbara - Elaborate fireplace surround

According to Gilio, ‘I’m extremely proud to co-ordinate this exhibition. We are very passionate about creativity, using our imagination, being inspired and inspiring others if possible in the process.

As highly passionate individuals our exhibition describes a great deal of positive emotions at work; we are interested, confident, proud, and happy. The art work brings out the inner self in all of us.”

Gilio’s father, Joseph was a carpenter with the State Electricity Commission after arriving from Malta and settling in Newborough. Back home Joseph was a sculptor having worked restoring the Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady commonly known as the Rotunda of Mosta. The church narrowly avoided destruction during World War II when on April 9, 1942, a German aerial bomb pierced the dome and fell into the church during Mass, but failed to explode. 

At home in Newborough after work, Gilio would sit with Joseph watching and learning finer details about sculpture and intricate woodwork. One of Joseph’s masterpieces, a marvellous, elaborate fireplace surround, resplendent with fine plaster inlays is displayed in the exhibition.

Gilio Barbara - plaster fresco depicting the patron saint, St Gi

Another, a plaster fresco with its fine lines and complexity on display, depicts the patron saint, St Gilio. One will certainly marvel at its intricacy.

“Our whole family is arty”, explains Gilio. “On display will be classically inspired work, fashion design paintings (oil and acrylic), ceramics, wood sculpture and stone work.”

Brazil based popular cult artist, Mathiole, several years ago made the point that art speaks for itself most of the time. He believed any text that accompanies art should serve to connect you with the artist's approach or motive in order to add to your experience of it. 'Art speaks where words are unable to explain.' There is a time and a place for art speak.

The artistic talents of Gilio’s family allows art to speak.