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Art Discussion Group - Malta

164th Meeting Artist

Feng Xiwen And Debbie Bonello

The Art Discussion Group (ADG) will be holding its 164th meeting on Wednesday 20th March 2019 at 19.30hrs at the ‘China Cultural Centre’, 173 Melita St., Valletta (corner to St. Paul Street). The artists Feng Xiwen and Debbie Bonello will be represented with the work exhibited at the Centre to commemorate Women’s Day (7th – 22nd March 2019). The title of the exhibition: ‘Innocence, Tranquillity & Beauty’ underlines the ‘dialogue’ between the two visual languages, that at times become a heated discussion that might turn into an argument or even a confrontation. The works bring out the differences behind the cultural, social and artistic background of the artist and the different visions and concepts.

Xiwen’s cultural concept saturated in Zen: ‘Live a pure and simple life; see the world with a calm heart and mind’ presents a stark contrast with Debbie’s symbolic aspects of life such as the ‘cycle of life, female sexuality and the challenges and opportunities faced by women in contemporary society’. The former is about simple living, the latter is about rebellion inside a woman’s heart.

The dialogue is about life’s journey. Feng Xiwen has learnt to sing and swing in the cage while Debbie Bonello has flown out of the gilded cage in search of adventure and fulfilment. Feng Xiwen is content in her simple world. Debbie Bonello exults in its beauty. Xiwen finds peace and contentment in sublimated feeling while Debbie overflows with emotion and sentiment. Xiwen is spiritual while Debbie is sensually emotional. Both expressions are romantic, therapeutic, symbolic and yearn for tranquillity, serenity and peace. Both are lyrical and poetic. Both are a palliative; a harmless palliative in Xiwen’s language, a vigorous therapy for Debbie’s admirers. Xiwen is passive in contemplation and meditation. Debbie is active in vigorous action. For Xiwen taking risks and chances might end in friction. For Debbie risk is responsibility in liberty. Xiwen is the calm after the storm while Debbie is the hurricane itself. The empathy with nature is explicit in both. Both expressions convey or intimate a joie de vivre and an élan vital in different doses.

The Blue Lotus by Feng Xiwen

Listen to the Snow by Feng Xiwen

Xiwen’s little monk ‘Carefree Sisi’ lacks the polarity of the opposing facets of good and evil. He has a simple, happy, innocent, soft heart that conveys the purest love. Good is truth and beautiful. 

This philosophy is akin to Thomas Merton’s mystic view: – ‘Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony’. 

This philosophy nurtured by the little monk could be a therapeutic cure for the modern Chinese individual. Exhausted and out of breath by running forth into the void after the opening up of China’s isolationist policy he needs to pause and reflect in the peace and solace that this little monk offers.

Through the Branches by Debbie Bonello

In Debbie’s landscape, in nature around her she feels the metaphor for man’s moods and character. She focuses on weather and mood; on nature and atmosphere on the spirit of existence. Nature imitates man’s character, his changing moods or perhaps man imitates Nature, his master. 

When a scudding cloud hides a brilliant sun it is like a noxious thought that clouds man’s brain. Her flower series also becomes symbolic and deals with aspects or the vicissitudes of life. A wild flower, a symbol for woman is forced to live in a vase, to live only on water, in isolation. Flowers are delicate and their beauty seduces but wilt in time, they dry and die. Life is a journey, a polarity of good and evil!


by Debbie Bonello

A power-point will include all the work represented in the exhibition. The presentation of the images will be followed by an analysis, a discussion and question-time. ADG invites its members, their friends and the general public to this cultural and artistic event.

E. V. Borg


ADG Chairman