Il-Ħaġar reopens

Il-Ħaġar museum and Cultural Centre is pleased to announce that it will again be welcoming visitors from Monday 26 April – at the usual opening hours of 9am to 5pm, seven days a week. Anti-Covid protocols will be followed but entrance remains free.
To satisfy requests, it has been decided to extend the five temporary exhibitions which were limited to the website ( when museums were closed by the health authorities in March, soon after these displays had commenced.

  • “Twilights” (on various levels) offers forty examples of Sacred Art by Aaron Formosa. The full colour sixty-pager exhibition catalogue is again available.
  • Vexilla Regis – housed in a showcase on level -1 – has a range of Crucifixes, from different periods and in assorted styles.
  • Video Room 2 holds “A Meeting of Minds” with documents and manuscripts highlighting connections between Professors Joseph Vella and Oliver Friggieri – including background recordings.
  • A typical Good Friday Procession is represented through hundreds of statuettes – made by Joseph Agius, Lino Fardell and Paul Muscat – arranged in three cases in Video Room 1.
  • The Gozo Philatelic Society showcase (level -1) has a look at Malta’s first stamp, including rare items.

Il-ĦAĠAR jiftaħ mill-ġdid
Il-mużew Il-Ħaġar (Pjazza San Ġorġ, Victoria) bi pjaċir iħabbar li se jerġa’ jibda jilqa’ żjarat mit-Tnejn 26 t’April – fil-ħinijiet normali tad-9am sal-5pm, sebat ijiem fil-ġimgħa. Sintendi jitħaddmu l-protokolli kontra l-Covid iżda d-dħul jibqa’ b’xejn.
Ġie deċiż li jitwalu l-ħames esibizzjonijiet temporanji li kienu ttieħdu fuq is-sit meta l-mużewijiet ingħalqu mill-awtoritajiet tas-saħħa f’Marzu – b’hekk tintlaqa’ t-talba ta’ dawk li ma laħqux jiġu.

  • Twilights (fuq diversi livelli) toffri erbgħin eżempju ta’ Arti Sagra ta’ Aaron Formosa. Il-katalogu kollu bil-kulur fuq sittin paġna issa raġa’ disponibbli.
  • Vexilla Regis (f’vetrina fil-livell -1) tesponi firxa ta’ Kurċifissi, fi stili differenti u minn diversi żminijiet.
  • Il-Video Room 2 fiha A Meeting of Minds b’dokumenti u manuskritti li juru konnessjonijiet bejn il-Professuri Joseph Vella u Oliver Friggieri – u b’recording ukoll.
  • Purċissjoni tradizzjonali tal-Ġimgħa l-Kbira hi rappreżentata permezz ta’ mijiet ta’ statwetti – xogħol Joseph Agius, Lino Fardell and Paul Muscat – fi tliet vetrini fil-Video Room 1.

Fil-vetrina tal-Gozo Philatelic Society (livell -1) hemm ħarsa lejn l-ewwel bolla Maltija, inklużi raritajiet.

Twilights: an exhibition of sacred art by Aaron Formosa

Since Il-Ħaġar is now closed because of the latest health restrictions, current temporary exhibitions have been transferred online. Though the management appreciates that it is not the same experience as being present physically, this should offer some idea of what was available.
“Twilights” features sacred art by Aaron Formosa. Basically a self-taught painter, he was born in 1980 and has participated in various collective and solo exhibitions in Malta and Gozo. His works can be found in private and public collections, locally and overseas. In his art, Formosa aims to capture the intensity of transient emotions and communicate these experienced moments. A crepuscular light pervades these paintings in such a way that the loosely painted figures seek to manifest themselves in this aura of semi-darkness. He teaches philosophy, in which he holds a masters degree, at the Sir M. Refalo Sixth Form.

All the paintings are for sale* and can be seen in greater detail by clicking on each separate one. Kindly send an email to if interested in acquiring any of the paintings still for sale.

*Sold paintings are marked accordingly

Joseph Vella and Oliver Friggieri: A Meeting of Minds

Since Il-Ħaġar is now closed because of the latest health restrictions, current temporary exhibitions have been transferred online. Though the management appreciates that it is not the same experience as being present physically, this should offer some idea of what was available.
Joseph Vella and Oliver Friggieri: A Meeting of Minds, set up for the third anniversary of Mro Vella’s demise, is a documentary exhibition offering an overview highlighting collaborations between two greats of the Maltese art scene. Is-Surmast’s Music Archive, which he donated just a few hours before his passing is also available for research purposes and can be visited on level 3.

The posters below can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Il-Ħaġar Museum closed

We regret to inform you that in view of the new COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Government, Il-Ħaġar Museum will be closed with immediate effect until 11 April 2021. However, one can still admire its Lenten displays online.

One of the exhibits include hundreds of miniature clay statuettes representing a Good Friday procession. The statuettes were made by Joseph Agius, Paul Muscat and the late Lino Fardell, long-established Christmas crib artisans. The idea of creating this artistic Good Friday procession was, in fact, developed within the circle of presepisti and pasturi artisans. There are figurines of various styles, representing both the strictly traditional devotional procession and the modern pageantry type.

Vexilla Regis, housed in a showcase on level -1, has an impressive range of Crucifixes, from different periods and in assorted styles.

An exhibition of sacred art -Twilights – by Aaron Formosa is also available to view online. The theme of the exhibition is human existence in the light of Christ – the spiritual light which enlightens the human condition and makes it meaningful.

Il-Ħaġar Museum is also commemorating the 3rd anniversary of Mro Joseph Vella’s demise with an exhibition about the collaborations between him and another Maltese great who passed away last year, Profs Oliver Frggieri. Joseph Vella and Oliver Friggieri: A Meeting of Minds includes a number of posters regarding the two works, Rewwixta and Il-Belt Rebbieha.

Pain that is laid bare

This artice by Goeffrey Attard was published as an art opinion piece on Times of Malta, to commemorate the launching of the 10th edition of “Il-Ħaġar Gems Series ”

Il-Ħaġar Gems Series No. 10
by George Scicluna, 
edited by Joseph Borg & Maria Frendo

“Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. This is what renowned British author C. S. Lewis of Narnia fame wrote in his famous book The Problem of Pain and this is what came to mind as I visited Il-Ħaġar Museum in Victoria (Gozo) for the inauguration of George Scicluna’s exhibition PAINtings.

The choice of the name for the present exhibition has a history of its own.  Scicluna, together with our common friend and fellow painter Aaron Formosa and myself, were visiting Venice for a short holiday and both friends wanted to make the best of the time we had together by visiting as many art galleries as possible.

Back in the hotel at night-time, the discussions focused on the various painters and portraits we had seen on the day. We reflected on the first four letters of the word ‘painting’ coming to the conclusion that one cannot create a painting without first going through the experience of pain.

Scicluna’s philosophical outlook on life is reflected in the paintings that are featured in the present exhibition. This comes out clearly in Mgr Joseph Farrugia’s foreword to the publication that accompanies the exhibition when he refers to the painter’s “never-ending philosophical discussions”.

Scicluna’s paintings are fascinating. He is able to immortalise particular moments in time and space in such a way that they become iconic.  Even his most intimate paintings are inviting in such a way that the spectator feels that he is part of it himself. There is a vibrant intimacy in Scicluna’s paintings.

The beholder is hooked without being harmed and transported to the very moment so brilliantly captured in the particular painting. His Before the Procession presents a quasi-playful and decidedly joyful scene which is a distinct feature of the proceedings; the same can be said for his Celebrating St George’s Feast and the more profane Inland Sea Dwejra Gozo.

In his penetrating foreword, Mgr Farrugia clearly states PAINtings presents us “with a case where knowing the artist allows a deeper insight into his art”. In fact, some of the individuals appearing in these paintings are so vividly presented that the paintings radiate a life of their own. 

In his exhaustive presentation, art critic E. V. Borg concludes that “although autobiographical, the work has a universal and cosmic dimension”. The fact that some of the paintings feature different places in Victoria and in Gozo endears in no small measure our painter with the local community.  However, Scicluna’s ‘universal’ dimension is not to be underestimated. 

PAINtings reveals Scicluna’s dynamism at its fiercest, impacting the senses without alienating the spirit.  This is due to the ‘paradox and polarity’ that characterise most of his works. 

This is another de luxe publication in the series, a glowing testimony to the brilliance of the artist and a trademark of the high standard achieved at Il-Ħaġar Museum and Cultural Centre at the heart of Victoria.

Christmas Concerts

Il-Ħaġar museumkept to its custom of presenting concertinos also during this festive season.

The first instrumental and vocal recital, “Christmas Charm”, was held recently. It featured two sisters, accompanied by pianist Francis Camilleri. Valentina Rapa performed works on her saxophone alto, followed by soprano Antonella Rapa.

Festive activities at Il-Ħaġar Museum, in Victoria, continued with a concert of Christmas carols by a group of choristers from the Laudate Pueri Choir, under the direction of George J. Frendo and leader Maria Frendo. Titled “Gloria in Excelsis”, the concertino featured carols and motets arranged for four female voices by David Willcocks and Joseph Vella.

The concerts were supported by the Gozo Ministry’s cultural heritage directorate.

Photos by Charles Spiteri