The Crucifix (also 'Il-Kurċifiss') is a ceramic sand wood statue by artist Matthew Schembri. It mesures 60cm x 30cm x 8cm and weights 3kg. This work was donated to Fondazzjoni Kreattività in 2018 and is now part of the Fondazzjoni Kreattività Art Collection.
It portrays the various intriguing similarities and contrasts between religion and social media - in this case, Christianity and Facebook Messenger, respectively. The first and most evident similarity is that between the shape of the crucifix and that of the Facebook icon ('f') - one that the artist thought about for quite a long time. The curve at the top of the 'f' just needs to be straightened, and there you have it: a crucifix. In a predominantly Catholic country like Malta, the latter is a symbol so deeply rooted and common in everyday life that sometimes it almost becomes invisible to the familiar eye. However, in the post-digital era, the same is happening to the virtual icon of the highly popular social media platform. Facebook is a worldwide phenomenon, were its usage became an integral part of many individuals' daily lives. The latter's skyrocketing rise reflects that of Christianity in the past, and this work attempts to create a dialogue about what this means in terms of the past, present or the future. In addition, the ultimate force at play in this instance is one that is shared between the two spheres in discussion, even if at first glance, they seem to be total opposites.
Therefore, due to the digital, participatory, cultural, historical and contemporary nature of The Crucifix, the piece is seen to fit perfectly with the theme of DRHA Malta 2018. It strongly echoes this quote: "certain digital practices both critique and influence the social and political, in as much as they question the very nature of our accepted ideas and belief systems regarding new technologies" (DRHA Malta 2018; 2018).
Photo in the Exhibition
The Crucifix has been displayed in the following exhibitions:
- 25th January to 7th April 2019: Art from the Fondazzjoni Kreattività Collection: Documenting 2013-2018, held at Spazju Kreattiv;
- 8th September to 30th September 2018: Exhibition Remembering the Future, held in Spazju Kreattiv.