one of the pioneers of modern art, expressing himself in innovative sculptures in wood, papier mâché, objets trouvés, paintings and ceramic art. Ever the innovative and prolific artist, Caruana sought to exhibit his work in Malta and beyond
Born in 1929, Malta, Gabriel Caruana has in the course of his long artistic career made a respected name for himself in the field of sculpture, painting, and ceramics. Early training in Malta was followed by travel and studies in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Early in his artistic career, Caruana showed a marked preference for the international modern art movement. Indeed, in Malta he was one of the pioneers of modern art, expressing himself in innovative sculptures in wood, papier mâché, objets trouvés, paintings and ceramic art. Ever the innovative and prolific artist, Caruana sought to exhibit his work in Malta and beyond, during a time when it was quite a challenge to travel, connect and establish his name outside of his home country. His friendship and contacts with artists, creatives and critics including Richard England, Victor Pasmore (United Kingdom), Domenico Matteucci (Italy), Carlo Zauli (Italy), Charles Sewter (United Kingdom), Henry Caroselli (USA), Julius Schmidt (USA) earned him precious experience, introductions and artistic growth.
Gabriel Caruana has had several one-man and collective shows, and his work has found a place in many private collections around the world. His work has been exhibited in various countries including the UK, USA, Germany, Holland and Italy. He has held solo exhibitions in Malta, England, Italy and Switzerland and has shown his work in group exhibitions in Osaka, Detroit, Munich, Tripoli, London, Israel, and Melbourne. He has participated several times in the International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art in Faenza, Italy and his works can be found at the International Museum of Ceramics of Faenza, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, at City of Manchester Art Gallery, and at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Malta. Caruana has a number of public art sculptures across Malta, including St Julians, Zebbug, the University of Malta Campus, Ta’ Barkat as well as in Cervara di Roma in Italy and Kaisersteinbruch, Austria.
Caruana’s career spans over 60 years of intensive artistic activity and travels. In recognition to this in 1999 the President of Malta honoured him with the presentation of the Medal for Artistic Achievement. In 2003, the then Malta Council for Culture and the Arts honoured Gabriel Caruana with the “Premju Għarfien Kulturali”. In 2014, the Malta Society for Arts awarded Gabriel Caruana the gold medal in recognition of his contribution as an artist and art educator. Caruana has been published in several publications, including Gabriel Caruana: Ceramics (Libria, 2001), Another side of Gabriel Caruana (Bonne ten Kate, 2005), and Gabriel Caruana (Kite Group, 2015).
Throughout his artistic career Gabriel Caruana has constantly pushed for contemporary art to be accessible to the public, as attested by his participation in the Maltese Carnival Celebrations (1958 to 1988), his celebrated and well attended Ceramics Evening Classes at Tarġa Gap, his temporary art installations in public spaces, numerous public art sculptures and the setting up of MACCC at il-Mitħna ta’ Ganu/ Tal-Maħlut in Birkirkara, one of the first contemporary art centres to be opened in our Islands.
In 1990 Gabriel and Mary Rose Caruana founded the Mill Art, Culture and Crafts Centre in Birkirkara, Malta. The Mill holds a permanent exhibition of Caruana’s works and other visiting artists as well as hosting events, including exhibitions, talks, workshops, book launches, literature nights and school visits.