Fran Balzan with some of her terracotta works.jpg

FRANCESCA
BALZAN

Francesca Balzan (b.1973) is an art historian, author and practicing artist.  She holds a post-graduate degree on the history of jewellery in Malta and has lectured extensively on the subject. Balzan was curator of Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum from its opening to the public in 2007 until 2018, and was recently engaged in the design of a new museum.  She has curated several exhibitions, both of historic objects as well as of contemporary art, and written catalogues and monographs to accompany them.  She is also the host, researcher, editor and promoter of a podcast series called ‘Treasures from Malta’ for Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti.

As an art practitioner she studied art privately under Harry Alden, and obtained a diploma in painting from the Malta School of Art.  Entirely self-taught in sculpture, she focuses principally on hand-built clay objects with specific reference to the male portrait and caricatures. In 2006, together with artist Celia Borg Cardona, she was awarded first prize in a design competition for an artistic installation for Malta International Airport's new Schengen Extension Area, resulting in a large sculptural installation which was installed at MIA for a number of years. Since 2006, Balzan has continued to develop her practice in both painting and sculpture and most recently held a solo exhibition titled ‘Impossible Conversations’ (Gallery 87, Valletta, 2021) that consisted of sculptures of characters who gravitated in and around the Ta’ Liesse area.

Francesca Balzan’s interest lies principally in portraiture and the human face, using historic sources to produce narratives which are whimsical and often humorous. Nonetheless, pathos and humanity remain sub-lying themes which inform her work.  She considers written narratives which accompany her sculptures, as an essential element to her work.

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