Nadine Noko’s Two Heads and a City
“Imagining things from my own perspective” – Nadine Noko talks Two Heads and a City prior to its opening and gives us an exclusive preview of one of the illustrations populating her exhibition.
Nadine Noko is one of Malta’s best illustrators and designers, whose signature is simplicity. Her latest exhibition, Two Heads and a City, opens this Saturday at Splendid on Strait Street in Valletta and will look at life in Valletta, with a focus on the people and the quirkiness that make the city.
Here, she talks about what inspired the exhibition, which piece is her favourite, and what she hopes those venturing into her illustrated world will take away from it. She’s also been kind enough to share an exclusive photo of one of her pieces (below).
Nadine describes her piece Tac-Cintura – “These are a group of Valletta women that go around in a green van, boom box, a statue of the Madonna and chairs, plonk themselves in different areas and recite the rosary in a very monotone voice. The characters are the actual people.”
“In my life I’ve moved quite a bit: from St Julians to Turkey to London to Attard, but then, three years ago, I moved to Valletta and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home. It’s such a unique place with so many quirks and rituals. You notice something different every day. Also, the people are amazing and I love walking around the streets,” says Nadine.
”In fact, over the past three years, I’ve been taking my sketchbook, iPhone and headphones and just walking around the city, observing, sketching, imagining things from my own perspective, and that’s how Two Heads and a City came to be.
“My favorite piece from the exhibition is the ‘Most Beautiful Spot’, which is an illustration of Gunpost Bar,” she continues. “I have a lot of good memories with my friends there and the bar’s owners are great… even their cat is cool!
“I also like to go there on my own, when I’m feeling uninspired, and have a shandy and some of their amazing chips with lots of vinegar – slightly white trash, I know – but between that, the sunset and the peacefulness, all the ideas start to flow again.
“The design of the space is also very particular, with its simple lines and the use of materials. Ironically, I’m not a fan of green at all, but in this case I make an exception. It also has sunflowers, which were my dad’s favorite flowers, so it reminds me of him.
“When people come to view this exhibition, I’m sure a lot of them are going to have many different perceptions. I think one of the hardest things about exhibitions is to be present while people are seeing your work – I always feel very embarrassed! Ultimately I hope audiences will enjoy themselves, and maybe get to see Valletta from a more people-perspective rather than just for its architecture.
“I hope that the little quirky things that happen in the city might make people smile like they make me smile. We Maltese like to complain a lot – including me – but when we feel that way I think we should go to Valletta, walk around on our own and remember just how lucky we are to have such a unique place.
Two Heads and a City (www.twoheadsandacity.com) will open Saturday 19th November 2013 at Splendid, Straight Street, Valletta. The opening times are Mon-Sat 11am-7pm and Sun 10am-12pm and will run until Tuesday, 29th November 2013. Each illustration is unique and a limited edition of just one. The project was supported by the Malta Arts Fund, V.18, Valletta European Capital of Culture and Farsons Group. Nadine’s portfolio can be viewed here.