The Sunday Times in April

by Josianne Facchetti

A long, beautiful, red skirt caught Jeni Caruana’s eye from a multitude of people walking down Republic Street. Less than an hour later she met Jason Lu and the girl in the red skirt – Christine Cutajar – while they were discussing an exhibition. Jason Lu asked Jeni Caruana if she too wanted to take part in this exhibition. When things are presented to you in a way that feels right, I go with the flow. This was the inception of The Art of 4 Elements – a multimedia project where 3 artists chose and got inspired by poems written by Natasa Pantovic. 

They transformed the inspiration from the poetry into their own art. Their aim was to follow their hearts, explore their capabilities and reach their highest emotional, mental and spiritual potential through art and also inspire other artists through this exhibition. Moreover, they have created an online book containing over a hundred of Natasa Pantovic’s poems where each of the poems has a corresponding drawing, painting or photograph. Everyone is invited to take part in this online book by including their own art.

The golden thread weaving in and out of each poem are the 4 elements – earth, water, air and fire. Earth represents the poems, fire represents the life force, air represents meditation and mental work and water represents the flow of emotions and letting go. 

When I asked Natasa Pantovic how she felt about exhibiting her poems and exposing her inner thoughts and feelings to the public she answered – I am trembling about it, because I will be judged by people, but that is part of the growth and the process of growth. 

The artists found the poems emotive, inspiring and full of feeling. Most of them are about spiritual growth and positivity. 

Water – Jeni Caruana

Water kind of chose me. I paint the human figure a lot. I am obsessed with the human figure. I draw and paint dancers and people in motion. There is something very fluid about dances and the way they move. So my paintings in this exhibition are a series of dances in motion which I chose to paint in ink and water because this medium is very fluid and flowing. It is almost uncontrollable. I am drawing with a brush with ink and water and it just takes on its own. It is practically water. You shouldn’t be too much in control when you are working alongside the medium. That is when the exciting things happen. I just went with the flow. Art is for looking at the world and saying how beautiful it is.

Jeni first drew dancers in motion and then ‘married’ them to 40 of Natasa’s poems which she had already chosen. 

Air – Jason Lu

I used oil paint and oil pastel directly from the tube. I tried not to mix colour to keep it pure because I believe every colour and pigment emanates a different vibration and energy and vibration in its pure form can leave a direct impact. The poems I chose are so positive that they inspired me to use bright pure saturated colours. 

The themes in the poems I chose are of finding the freedom within us to love, to liberate and take away the baggage or layers accumulated from parents, society and school. Everyone is intrinsically pure and full of love but it is the fear gathered along the way that blocks this love. 

Through the air element in the poetry I worked on letting go. I soaked myself day and night with the inspiration I got from each poem. Sometimes it took a couple of days to turn this abstraction of poetry into my reality and my reality in art form can also be an abstraction to the viewer.  The thought process was like a therapy, healing me from inside. I felt like a big onion taking off one layer at a time. So the air element for me is elevating. 

I did my best to bring this out in my paintings through the flow, lines and curves. There is a process which works on the subconscious level and is realised once the work is finished. If an artist is honest about the creating process, it should be a reflection of what is going on inside. This experience helped me to grow on the spiritual, love and meditative level. Sometimes it is the process that is important in the growth not the actual work. It was a great journey for me. 

Fire – Christine Cutajar

In Rumania just before I came back to Malta I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I want to do something with my photographs. The next day I was invited by Natasa to take part in this exhibition. When you feel and really want something, it happens. 

Christine says that there was no doubt that her element is fire. This element reflects my driving force, need for creativity, passion, taking action, love for life and the change that this energy brings. 

Life is like fire stages. These stages are reflected in spiritual growth – the highs and lows to reach our ultimate state and divine love. This is what I experienced while producing the photos for this exhibition.

It took me a very long time to choose the poems but I got a lot of inspiration from them and at times the poems gave me a voice for feelings I had, but did not know how to express. Then the poetry inspired me to translate this into shots I took of nature. It was a growth and a relief that I finally expressed myself.  

Each artist chose 40 poems and produced 40 drawings, paintings and photographs related to and inspired from the poems. Some of these will be exhibited at St James Cavalier from the 27th April till mid May. The rest can be viewed on the online book –