Artist: Edward B. Gordon
1980 - 2001 Various exhibitions in London, Munich, Edinburgh
1998 Royal Academy London Summer Exhibition
1999 Galerie Rogge Berlin-Mitte
2001 Biennale Internationale dell'Arte Contemporanea
When I was given the task of painting the "United Buddy Bear" for Malta, I was engaged in pleasant and lively communication with the Embassy of Malta in Berlin, most of all, Ambassador William Spiteri - whereby I became an enchanted listener. I was deeply moved by the passion found in the history of Malta and how this little country can look back proudly on its history.
Malta takes the future tasks seriously and comes across as a powerful force because it occupies a historically eminent position as a bridge between Europe and the Mediterranean area and the north of Africa.
I decided to combine several important cornerstones of Malta's history, city and country impressions, as well as typical Maltese elements in my painting. Karl the Fifth is depicted on the bear, just like Jean Parisot de la Valette, founder of today's capital Valetta.
The image of a young woman on a boat painted in the typical Maltese
colours represents Europe, who crosses the sea to Malta over and over again in various shapes, but it can also be seen as the Maltese woman of today.
The back of the bear shows how the Maltese have a fancy for fireworks. Limestone, found in abundance in Malta, turns golden through being chiselled and through exposure to light. Limestone found its way into my interpretation through the Maltese buildings one can see, and in the coastal side Valetta offers.
The Malta of today, taken together with its past, should be represented through symbolism and through the values native to the land. Malta literally means "Island of Honey". "Golden" is basically how one describes the atmosphere in Malta at dusk: an island in the ocean, lit up with festive fireworks, rockets, but these are rockets of joy! These are the only ones worth shooting off, wherever you may be, anywhere in the world.
Edward B. Gordon
Sponsor: Botschaft von Malta