Last Updated on April 7, 2024

Malta will unveil a significant new platform for art and culture with the opening of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS), the country’s first-ever museum dedicated to showing contemporary art. MICAS occupies a historic site in Floriana at the restored Ospizio, a 17th-century fortress that is a short walk from the center of the capital city, Valletta.

With construction currently in its final stages, the museum is slated to open to the public in October 2024.

Contemporary Architecture Celebrates Historic Fortifications

Italian architecture firm IPO Studio won the bid to transform the 8,400 square-metre (90,000 square-foot) heritage site into a multi-faceted campus that will include indoor gallery spaces, an outdoor sculpture garden, and a café – all fronting the picturesque Marsamxett Harbour.  

Upon entering the main entrance located on the third level, visitors will step into a large open atrium immersed in natural light that will permeate from the monumental floating glass roof above. All gallery spaces across the main three floors will be oriented toward an expansive glass wall facing the sea.

The first, second and third floors will provide gallery space for exhibitions. There will also be dedicated space for smaller, more experimental displays and interventions as well as onsite activities. The fourth floor will include a restaurant that offers direct access to an outdoor sculpture garden, which can be used for external events and exhibitions. 

MICAS’ Sculpture Garden

'Palm Goddess' by Michele Oka Doner in Valletta, Malta
‘Palm Goddess’ by Michele Oka Doner in Valletta, Malta. Courtesy Malta Contemporary International Art Space Sculpture Garden.

Supporting the museum’s mission to establish meaningful connections among communities, its sculpture garden, which is situated behind the new building and flanked by historic fortification walls, will be a green oasis for locals and visitors to access art and nature. With its unique position sitting high above the sea, the garden is designed for visitors to meander through indigenous flora typical of Maltese coastal landscapes and discover carefully placed sculptures throughout.

The sculpture garden was designed in collaboration with IPO Studio and Andrew Darragh, a landscape designer who also contributed to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew & Fenton House. 

Globally Renowned and Locally Celebrated Contemporary Artists 

View of Valletta harbor in Malta at sunset.
View of Valletta harbor in Malta at sunset. Courtesy Deposit Photos.

Leading up to its public opening this autumn, MICAS has begun displaying works in several outdoor spaces from artists including Conrad Shawcross, Ugo Rondinone, Pierre Huyghe, Cristina Iglesias and Michele Oka Doner. Select pieces are currently available for public viewing by appointment. These will soon be joined by a significant work by the celebrated Maltese artist Raymond Pitre.

MICAS will offer daily public access to its campus, which will stage three major exhibitions each year across its gallery spaces. The exhibition programme will reflect Malta’s unique history and geography with groundbreaking works by acclaimed artists from around the world in addition to celebrated Maltese contemporary artists, such as those featured in the museum’s 2023 online exhibition ‘Between Sea and Land’.

Artists featured include Matthew Attard, who is representing Malta in this year’s Venice Biennale, and Austin Camilleri, who also exhibits internationally. The inaugural program for MICAS will be announced in June 2024.

Please visit www.micas.art for more information and follow @micasmalta on Instagram to follow MICAS’s journey to opening.

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