MARK SAGONA, Ph.D., is a visual artist, art historian, and resident academic member of the Department of Art and Art History, Faculty of Arts, University of Malta, where he lectures in Art History and Fine Arts. A leading specialist in the Decorative Arts in Malta, Sagona has conducted extensive and pioneering research on the subject within its international dimension and has published and lectured widely on the subject. He was also the convenor (with Dr Roberta Cruciata) of the first conference in Malta on the Decorative Arts in 2019. In 2021, he edited and published International Perspectives on the Decorative Arts: Nineteenth-century Malta (Midsea Books), the first in a series of volumes entitled Studies in Central Mediterranean Decorative Arts. As a practising visual artist, Sagona has engaged with the environment around him, his personal experiences and universal notions as sources for artistic interpretation. His more recent work combines his strong abstract manner with references to current happenings and private occurrences.
Mark Sagona introduced the study of the Decorative Arts at the University of Malta for the first time in 2012, and today he leads the research project on the subject within the Department of Art and Art History. His publications include ‘Ornamental Drawings for Malta 1600-1900: problems, reflections and insights’ in Sabina de Cavi (ed.), Dibujo y ornamento: Trazas y Dibujos de Artes Decorativas entre Portugal, Espana, Italia, Malta y Grecia (De Luca Editori d’Arte Rome, 2015); ‘Malta and the Renaissance Revival’ in The Journal no.39 (Decorative Arts Society, London, 2015); The Nadur Basilica in Gozo: Art – Architecture – Decoration (ed.), (2018); ‘The decorative arts at the Addolorata Cemetery: epitomising the Revivalist and Eclectic attitudes’, in Conrad Thake (ed.), The Addolorata Cemetery (2020), and ‘Gothic Revival influences on Europe’s border: change and resistance in Malta between decorative arts and architecture’, The Journal no.45 (Decorative Arts Society, London, 2021).
In April 2018 Mark Sagona curated, together with Italian art critic Chiara Gatti, the exhibition Manet – Etchings – the Alfred Strölin edition of 1905 at the Ministry for Gozo. In May 2018 he collaborated with renowned Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi during his Malta presentation of his book Dal Mito alla favola bella. Mark Sagona has delivered lectures at the Art College of the University of Xiamen, China (April 2017) and at the Università degli Studi di Palermo (October 2017). He has more recently participated in the international conferences Cirice 2020 La Città Palinsesto (with Prof. Conrad Thake) organised by the University of Naples Federico II (June 2021), and Revivals, convened by the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Decorative Arts and Design (ICDAD), (October 2021).
Mark Sagona has exhibited his works in Malta, Paris, Rome and Brussels. His personal shows in Malta include Manifesting the Soul, St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta (2004), Diaries of Existence, National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta (2008), A conversation with Favray, Cittadella, Gozo (2017-18), The Painted Psyche and other narratives, Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo de la Salle, Valletta (2018-19). The art of Mark Sagona has featured in various local and international publications and is found in churches, museums and in private collections in Malta and in Australia, Brussels, China, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.