The exhibition [Be]Loved Malta: Stories of Sexual and Gender Identity has been launched by Heritage Malta in Valletta on the occasion of the first ever EuroPride held in Malta and the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in Malta.
The exhibition recounts the stories and struggles of historical personages and the recent achievements of the local LGBTIQA+ community, over a timeline which spans from prehistory to the present day. The main messages that the exhibition seeks to put across is that diversity should be embraced in all its forms and that the queer community is not a modern invention but different modalities of gender identity and sexual expression have existed since the beginning of human civilisation.
[Be]Loved Malta offers an immersive and audiovisual experience, rather than being artefact-based, since sexuality is intangible. Ten stories, told through the medium of an audiovisual narration, each featuring central protagonists, form the core of the exhibition.
However, a number of meaningful artefacts are on display, such as a 19th-century hermaphrodite statuette recently acquired by Heritage Malta; a Neolithic figurine of an ‘embracing couple’ discovered at the Ħal Tarxien Prehistoric Complex; the medical report about Rosaria Mifsud, whose case is the earliest found so far of an intersex individual in Malta, dating back to 1774; and two dresses owned by Katya Saunders, one of the most prominent trans women from the 1970s till the 2000s who truly had an impact on the queer community in Malta.
Visitors to [Be]Loved Malta also experience a short documentary on the Gilbert Baker flag. A segment from the mile-long rainbow flag created in 1994 by Gilbert Baker to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, has been brought over and loaned to Heritage Malta by the European Pride Organisers Association through Allied Rainbow Communities Malta, and weaves through the entire exhibition.
The [Be]Loved trail ends with several installations featuring extracts from interviews of people from the LGBTIQA+ community commenting on the legal developments in Malta and whether current legislation actually mirrors prevailing attitudes and behaviour towards this community.
Noel Zammit, Heritage Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, remarked that behind every monument, artefact, event or celebration there is a story to share. The sum of these stories make up our national identity, our story. The individual stories of the ten people thoroughly researched for this exhibition are also part of us. True to its mission, Heritage Malta is ensuring that these stories are preserved for posterity and are made accessible for everyone, everywhere, to experience and enjoy.
[Be]Loved Malta: Stories of Sexual and Gender Identity runs until 11th November at the Main Guard, Valletta. Opening hours are from 10:00 till 18:00. Tickets may be bought at the door or online from https://heritagemalta.mt/whats-on/. Tickets cost €5 for adults and €3 for students, seniors and Heritage Malta passport holders. Heritage Malta members are admitted free of charge.
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