Alex Grech's blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For Dennis Vella

If you wanted to be pedantic, Dennis Vella and I would not have been considered to be 'close friends'. Not in the sense that we met regularly every week. But we were friends over a long period of time. And when we did meet, often bumping into each other in Valletta, or at some concert, it was difficult not to get engrossed in some conversation on art, food, love, music and the movers and shakers in Malta who would occasionally rudely interrupt Dennis's world.

For a short period of time, when I was setting up Heritage Malta, I was technically his boss. He was patiently waiting for some bureaucratic mountain to be moved so he could finally do what he was born to do: get people to understand that modern art in Malta deserved a museum and that artists deserved a voice, a friend, a scholar to put what they did into context.

Everyone has a personal picture of Dennis. Mine is goggle specs, a book on Sciortino seemingly permanently tucked under his arm, even in the middle of a drunken party. Vague, smiling, wispy, gentle, anarchic, elegant, even dapper, sometimes. A fine chef. Owner of a Pandora's treasure chest of art at his house - many of them artists he had discovered, encouraged, sponsored. He bought my brother Shaun's piece called 'Three White Scum' for the museum just as racism started to rear its ugly head in this country.

A brave guy, easy to forget, particularly if he came to stay with you - because he could bury himself in a book or spend hours admiring something in your house that you had forgotten you owned. Never ever boring. He once cooked this incredible lamb casserole, and being the only single guy at the lunch party, kept a spare seat for a Russian icon he had just bought from some antiquarian in London.

Now he's gone, at 56, I just hope someone will have the grace to see his lifetime project to its conclusion. And set up a Museum of Modern Art in Malta, in his memory.

So many of us have lost a person that in some way, contributed to making our lives more interesting - and this country, that much more bearable.

Yesterday, as I was preparing to leave my office, my eye caught a Norbert Attard print I have hanging on the wall. It's an old present from Dennis, to coincide with my return to Malta, all those years ago. It's called 'Intelligence of the Heart.'

I'm just so glad I bumped into you, Dennis, over the past 30 years.

3 comments:

Generic Viagra said...

I admire the valuable information you provide in your articles. I'll mark your blog and see my friends here often. I'm sure you will learn many new things here than anyone else!

wenbin wang said...

Basketball Sneaker Basketball involves a lot of vigorous moves, Asics Onitsuka Tigerhigh jumps, extreme running, blocking and shooting. So there may be the chances for you to get injured.the north face jackets But basketball sneakers are there for you to safeguard you and your feet from getting injured by the vigorous stunts. Basketball sneakers are the ideal pair to offer you snug fit, firm ankle support and excellent traction over the highly polished maple woodMoncler Sale. Today, basketball shoes are designed with innovative technologies for good shock absorption and cushioning. Patterned sole and stylish finish of the retro sneakers North Face Jackets For Menwill fuse your heart to buy a pair for you to show off your excellence over the field.

buy generic viagra said...

Oh man… How did I ever not read your articles before? Do you write articles on only this topic or do you write on many others as well. How and where can I find your articles so that I read them and gain the knowledge on the same, because I just love the way you write.
kamagra