On the 22nd June 1990, the late Gabriel Caruana together with Mary Rose Caruana, launched the first contemporary art centre at Ta’ Ganu/Tal-Maħlut Mill in Naxxar Road Birkirkara. Gabriel Caruana had been working on establishing a centre where contemporary art was to be appreciated for a while and it was only after his retirement as a Ceramics Instructor at Tarġa Gap that he could focus on this dream. In one of his interviews Caruana mentions that ‘My wish was for our Country to stay abreast with the International Contemporary Art World’. In 1990, he was entrusted by the Government with The Mill to be used for contemporary art and cultural purposes.
My wish was for our country to stay abreast with the international contemporary art world
The opening of The Mill as an Art, Culture and Crafts centre was received with great enthusiasm by all of Gabriel’s students, friends, artists and visitors and has so far received thousands of visitors over the past thirty years! Since 2016, The Mill has been safeguarded and managed by the Gabriel Caruana Foundation (GCF), set up by Gabriel Caruana himself together with Mary Rose Caruana, Richard England, Umberto Buttigieg, Raffaella Zammit and Gabriella Caruana Box. The current Administrative Board is composed of Raffaella Zammit, Elyse Tonna and Gabriella Caruana Box entrusted with the Strategic Planning of the Foundation. The GCF has since been engaging and implementing a varied creative and contemporary artistic programme together with various contemporary artists, organisations and communities. Its efforts have recently been recognised by Arts Council Malta, which has been supporting the Foundation through the Investment for Cultural Organisations Fund 2020-2022.
The Mill, a scheduled Grade 1 building dating back to 1724, boasts itself as a community art space, hosting numerous and various types of events and activities. From its launch, 30 years ago, it has hosted over 70 distinct events, 24 of which have been held over the past three years! These include exhibitions, workshops, book launches and other activities. It also holds a permanent exhibition of contemporary artworks donated to Gabriel Caruana and the Foundation of Maltese and International artists.
As part of the 30th anniversary, the Gabriel Caruana Foundation is currently working on a number of projects to mark this special year. 30@20 – The Mill, funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations within the Ministry for Education and Employment. . Through this project the Foundation has engaged Dr Nikki Petroni to research the 30 years of activity of The Mill – Art, Culture and Crafts Centre. The Foundation has issued a community call that will enable anyone to share their memories (including stories, photos and videos) of their visits and experiences of The Mill.
Last March, the Foundation launched a call for illustrators, The Many Faces of the Mill. Ten illustrations have been selected and will be launched in the coming days as limited edition prints.
The Gabriel Caruana Foundation would like to thank all those who have supported The Mill and its artistic programme over the past 30 years and looks forward to welcoming everyone when it re-opens!