The exhibition “The Snake Show” tells the story of the changing perception of snakes throughout history – from prehistoric examples to contemporary perceptions.
Having been a symbol of wisdom, fertility and life, the snake lost its positive meaning with the arrival of St. Paul to Malta, his encounter with a snake, and the advent of Christianity. The symbolic power of the snake symbol, however, has remained undiminished from prehistory to her incorporation into popular Christian devotion and beyond.
The exhibition presented art works by contemporary artists as well as research material, archival, documentary objects and found objects. The objects were brought together in an associative way that allowed visitors to discover new and old readings of snake tales. Archive films and photography accompanied the exhibition which invited visitors to explore works also situated within the public space, where they mixed with various existing snake shapes and snake existences.
Artists Pippin Barr, Anna Block, Carl Gent, Ryan Falzon, Sharon Kivland, Karine Rougier, Sarah Maria Scicluna and others presented snake-related work.
The exhibition was open to the general public from February 2nd through February 11th. and took place at ECOTRACO, 188b St Lucy street, Valletta.
The exhibition was curated by Bettina Hutschek and organized by FRAGMENTA Malta as part of Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture.
Opening ceremony was on February 2nd, “Brigid’s day”, which is why we served “Brigid’s brew” and snake cookies. Brigid was an ancient goddess, whose festival day, “Imbolc” is traditionally a time for weather prognostication:
“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bríde,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”