Biennial for Young Artists

from Europe and the Mediterranean

Naples, September, 2005


From Rome 1999 to Naples 2005

Marcelle Teuma


The Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (BJCEM) will be presenting its XII Edition of the Arts Festival in the city of Naples in September 2005. This event will bring together 20 years of work since its 1 edition in Barcelona in 1985. It was followed by Bologna in 1988, Marseille 1990, Valencia 1992, Lisbon 1994, Turin 1997, Rome 1999, Sarajevo 2001, and Athens 2003.


The International Association of the BJCEM was founded in July 2001 in Sarajevo during the 10th edition of the Biennial. The aim of the Association is to strengthen the relationships between ministries, municipalities, institutions and cultural associations of the Mediterranean region. The association has 61 members coming from 19 countries, representating local and national realities of the Mediterranean countries.


The members of the BJCEM network are:


Albania, Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malta, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey


The Association promotes he creativity of the young artists, encouraging international exchanges and henceforth enhancing cultural relationships which go beyond the political and the geographical borders. The BJCEM encourages unity within Europe and the Mediterranean. During these years the Biennial has been considered the most important Mediterranean event which focuses on young creativity (the age group of the artists being between 18 and 30).


The artistic productions included in the Biennial are the following: 

  • Visual Arts (Plastic Arts, Photography, Installations, Video Art, Comic Strip, Cyper Art)

  • Music (Rock, Jazz, Pop, Folk/Ethno, Contemporary, Digital, Dj’s)

  • Show (Theatre, Dance, Urban Acts)

  • Literature (Prose, Poetry)

  • Applied Arts (Architecture, Visual/Industrial/Web design, Fashion, Digital Creations)

  • Images on the Move (Short films, Video, Animated Films)

  • Gastronomy

Malta and the BJCEM


Malta first took part in the Biennial in the IX edition held in Rome in June 1999. The group was led by Adrian Grima, who presented a paper on Malta (“A Cultural Identity between Europe and the Mediterranean”) at an international conference held during the Biennal entitled "Between Europe and the Mediterranean: Youth, Towns, Culture." Malta was represented by the Gozitan artist Austin Camilleri and Teatru XXX made up of actors Clare Agius and Ray Calleja.


In June 2000 I attended my first conference about this Biennial and the following year I went to a similar meeting in Rome. Both conferences were in preparation for Sarajevo 2001. Thanks to our participation in these meetings Inizjamed was able to send more artists from Malta to take part in this event. The theme for this Biennial was “Chaos & Communication.” We had artists from three categories:

  • Literature (Karsten Xuereb)

  • Sculpture (Savio Deguara)

  • Theatre (Teatru Marta Kwitt - Immanuel Mifsud, Romina Cachia, Daniela Vella, Glen Calleja)

Prior to this event a Maltese architect Adrian Mifsud took part in a 13-day architecture workshop in Sarajevo in May to make designs for the Biennial. This was made possible thanks to Flavio Mongelli, a leading figure in the organization of the Biennial with whom Inizjamed works very closely. He also visited our country and discussed this international association with various members of Inizjamed.


After Sarajevo 2001, Inizjamed was made one of the members of the Board of Directors of the newly setup Association. In November 2001 and May 2002 I attended meetings in Bologna and Malaga. Both conferences led to the Biennial in Athens in 2003. The theme there was “Cosmopolitanism.”


Maltese artists were represented in 5 categories:

  • Literature: Clare Azzopardi, Stanley Borg

  • Theatre: Aleateia (Simon Bartolo, Loranne Vella, Antonella Axisa, Anna Formosa, Sephora Gauci, Massimo Farrugia)

  • Installation: Mark Mangion

  • Moving Image: Mark Ciavola

  • Music: The Katambů Sound Factory (Renzo Spiteri, Edward Cauchi, Gaby Giacchino, Marie Louise Calleja)

The organizers of the Athens Biennial also invited well known artists and journalists from each member of the Association. Inizjamed asked established writer Trevor Żahra and journalist Sharon Spiteri to accompany the Maltese group.


The countries hosting the Biennial cover the expenses of the artists’ lodging and food. In the case of Malta, the artists’ travelling costs are covered by the artists themselves. For the Biennial in Athens in 2003 Inizjamed made a formal request to the Malta Arts Council for financial support.


Naples 2005 - “Un Anno Di Passione”


See also: Endless Forms, Endless Relationships - Artist Anabel Cordina


In April 2004 I attended a conference in Marseille in preparation for the Biennial in Naples in Settembru 2005. The theme chosen for this Biennial is “Un Anno Di Passione”. The Biennial in Naples is also going to commemorate 20 years since its first edition in Barcelona in 1985. For this occasion a catalogue with all the artists who have participated so far will hopefully be published and ready to be distributed during the Festival.


During the conference an election was held for a new President and Ibrahim Spahic was re-elected. The conference was spread over 2 days. The 1st day was for the members of the Board of Directors and the 2nd day was for all the members of Assembly. The first day was the most important one as most of the decisions are taken by the Board of Directors. Besides a presentation of the preparation concerning the Naples Biennial the President discussed with us once again certain proposals which were discussed at the Helsinki conference in December 2003.


Inizjamed will be taking part in 4 categories: Literature, Music, Visual Art and Gastronomy. The Maltese contingent will also include a leading journalist and established artist.


For the first time for this Biennial we are going to organize an event prior to the Festival in which the Maltese artists will present their work to the Maltese public. This should serve as a good opportunity for the artists themselves to present their work as a team as well as to show more openly what Inizjamed has been doing so successfully in the international field since 1999 when we took part in the first Biennial. Hopefully our participation in the Naples Biennial and the event that will precede it will attract sponsors to help us publish a catalogue of the participating artists which Inizjamed can present in Malta and Naples.  



Marcelle Teuma is the Representative of Inizjamed in the BJCEM

This paper was presented at a seminar for Inizjamed coordinators held at Birmula, Bormla, on 10 July, 2004




Maltese Artists in Naples



The artists representing Inizjamed (Malta) who took part in the Naples Biennial were writers Claudia Fiorini (Gauci), Simone Inguanez and Bernard Cauchi; visual artist Anabel Cordina, and the Europa Ensemble led by Karl Fiorini and composed of Aisa Ijiri, Luisa Rosina, Carina Albuqerque, Jose Zalba, Paola Caballero, and Steven Burke. Maria Grech Ganado was the guest Maltese artist.


Adrian Grima represented Inizjamed at the meeting of the BJCEM, the association that runs the biennale.


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