Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019

On the evening of 16 April 2019, the venerable walls of the beautiful Manoel Theatre in Valletta saw a vivid and important event: the presentation of Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019, Malta’s highest national arts award, organised by the Arts Council Malta with the support of Malta’s Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government.

Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019

The principal guests at the awards ceremony included Malta’s recently elected President HE George Vella and his spouse. The ceremony featured the traditional attributes of such events: white-tie attire for ladies and gentlemen, a red carpet, a live broadcast on Malta’s National TV channel, fanfares and an array of presenters announcing the names of those have been entered into the history of Malta’s cultural life.

Il-Premju Għall-Arti, Malta’s highest national awards in the arts, were presented for the second time in 2019. There were such nominations as “Best Work for Young Audiences”, “Best Community Project”, “Best Artistic Programme or Season”, “Production of the Year”, “Best International Achievement”, “Artist of the Year”, “Innovation Award”, “Best Creative Enterprise”, “Audience’s Choice Award” and others.

Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019

Albert Marshall

Executive Chair, Malta Arts Council:

“Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019 awards ceremony is a very important event for us. For those who have dedicated their life to the arts, it is a wonderful opportunity to receive the recognition they deserve. The government of Malta focuses particularly on culture and the creative industry. It is generally understood that culture requires investment. These cultural investments will benefit the people of Malta and will advance the development of Malta’s economy.”

The categories were determined in accordance with the Arts Council Malta’s 2020 strategic plan.

On 16 April 2019, the stage of the Manoel Theatre welcomed Malta’s preeminent cultural figures to receive their awards, including the famous Maltese architect, writer and artist Richard England, winner of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” (“Unurgħall-Karriera Artistika”). The “Audience’s Choice Award” went to the Valletta 2018 Foundation. It was received by the Foundation’s head, Jason Micallef, and its executive director Catherine Tabone. Composer and director Luke Saydon was three-time winner of the evening, winning in the categories “Production of the Year” (Premjugħall-AqwaProduzzjon), “Young Artist of the Year” (Premjugħall-Artist Żagħżugħ tas-Sena), and “Best Work for Young Audiences” (Rebbiehaghall-aqwaxogħolgħaludjenzi żgħar). Innovative and creative Malta was represented by Anvil Game Studios. They designed an online game based on the Napoleonic Wars and won in the “Best Creative Enterprise” category.

Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019

Jason Micallef

head of the Valletta cultural agency “Audience’s Choice Award”:

“I am very glad that our agency received this recognition, the highest award for achievements in the arts for the year 2019. All the programmes we ran were dedicated to developing Maltese culture, Valletta. It is wonderful that all the people we have been working for have chosen us as deserving recipients of this award. It was the result of the “Valletta 2018” year. Now, the key thing is to look forwards and to use the successful experience of the events we held to continue our work.

Creating the Valletta cultural agency was an important step and we will continue our collaboration. We have a great number of cultural and infrastructural projects in the works. In particular, creating the Valletta Design Cluster, Malta’s first. It’s a wonderful thing to be creating this project for creative professionals in our capital, for those who are just now launching their projects and for those who are working on projects that are already under way.

As for cultural events, we invite local artists to take part in shaping new projects. We will be developing a large-scale programme and, at the same time, we will certainly continue with existing projects, such as the Malta Fashion Week, the Valletta Film Festival, the Notte-Bianca Museum Night and, of course, our traditional Christmas celebrations.”

Throughout the evening, the theatre rang with congratulations and words of gratitude in the Maltese language. There was only one exception: the thank-you speech was delivered in English when Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the European Foundation for Support of Culture, the first and so far only foreign recipient of Malta’s highest award in the arts, received the “Honour of Cultural Promoters” for his unique contribution to the culture of Malta.

The award winners received a glass and ceramic sculpture created by the Maltese sculptor Kane Cali. It embodies the author’s attitude to creative work, when vibrations, waves, the movement of water freeze and become a physical object. Artists must not struggle, they must create: such was the sculptor’s idea.

Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019

Andrew Farrugia

Anvil Game Studios producer “Best Creative Enterprise” winner:

“We will keep this award in our office and it will inspire us to strive for further achievements. We are the first Maltese company to design online games. It is a very interesting thing: not only to be part of history but also to make history. We are very happy to have this opportunity. Our winning this award may inspire many people in Malta to start working on game design. This is a very interesting industry with a huge potential. For us, it is not only a business, it is also art, the possibility to create something interesting and worthy of attention.”


Best Creative Enterprise: Anvil Games Studios
Andrew Farrugia

Innovation Award:
Magna Żmien – Andrew Alamango

Artist of the Year:
The New Victorians

Best Artistic Programme or Season:
The Malta Jazz Festival 2018 - Festivals Malta

Best International Achievement:
Kirana, Soundscapes Ruben Żahra

Best Work for Young Audiences:
Hush – Denise Mulholland and Luke Saydon

Production of the Year:
Hush – Denise Mulholland and Luke Saydon

Young Artist of the Year:
Luke Saydon

Best Project in the Community:
Deep Shelter – Pamela Baldacchino in collaboration with the V18 Foundation

Audience’s Choice Award:
Valletta 2018 Opening – Valletta 2018 Foundation

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Richard England

Honour for Artistic Legacy:
Soċjeta’ Santa Marija u Banda Re Gorg V Mqabba

Honour for Cultural Promoters:
European Foundation for Support of Culture – Konstantin Ishkhanov


Il-Premju Għall-Arti 2019

Luke Saydon

composer, stage director (“Production of the Year”, “Young Artist of the Year”, and “Best Work for Young Audiences” awards):

“Such recognition certainly means a lot for a creative person, and not just for me, but also for those artists who took part in our project, particularly young artists. This is something special and today is a wonderful celebration! It is very nice to see this special attention to culture. When I was a child, arts in Malta were treated merely as a pleasant hobby, something you did for pleasure, not as a career. But for the last few years, for instance, I have been working as an artist professionally, this is my only job. Thank you, Malta! I am grateful for having the opportunity to work in culture, to meet many new and interesting people every week, to give the world theatre, music, works of art. This is great! Yes, much has been done and much has changed for the better.”


Konstantin Ishkhanov

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