Resilience and Reverence – The Holy Week from an artist’s perspective Ilina Filipova 03/15/2024

Resilience and Reverence – The Holy Week from an artist’s perspective

Here in Malta, it’s no secret that tradition intertwines with spirituality in a profound and vibrant manner. 

Among the myriad of religious observances that grace the Maltese calendar, Holy Week stands as a pinnacle of devotion and cultural significance. From the solemn commemoration of Our Lady of Sorrows to the jubilant celebration of Easter, this sacred period holds a special place in the hearts of the Maltese people, reflecting a rich tapestry of faith and heritage.

Throughout Holy Week, the Maltese embrace a series of religious rituals and processions that bring the ancient narratives to life. From the hauntingly beautiful liturgies of Maundy Thursday to the solemnity of Good Friday, each day is marked by fervent prayers, solemn processions, and symbolic acts of devotion. Crowds gather in churches and town squares, adorned with statues and icons depicting scenes from the Passion, creating a visual tapestry that transcends time and space.

Central to the observance of Holy Week in our lovely country is the tradition of religious iconography, which has long served as a source of inspiration for artists and artisans alike. From intricately carved statues to elaborately adorned altarpieces, these sacred works of art offer a tangible expression of faith and devotion. Passed down through generations, they serve as a visual reminder of the enduring power of religious symbolism in shaping cultural identity.

For millennia, religious iconography has played a central role in the artistic heritage of humanity, serving as a means of expressing spiritual truths and conveying the mysteries of faith. From the vivid frescoes of the Renaissance to the solemn sculptures of the Baroque period, artists have sought to capture the essence of religious narratives through their work, transcending the boundaries of time and culture.

As an artist who moved here from Bulgaria many years ago, I was always impressed with how religious tradition in Malta, has always found expression. Among other things, in the intricately crafted statues and processional floats that grace the streets during Holy Week. 

It was for this reason that, when Rev Dr. Marcello Ghirlando asked me to work on several icons for the Church of Saint Mary of Angels in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, I did not hesitate. Even after so many years, I remember this project with deep satisfaction, peace and admiration for the deep impact that religion has for so many people in Malta, especially artists.

Carved from wood or sculpted from stone, these masterpieces embody the skill and devotion of generations of Maltese artisans, each piece imbued with a sense of reverence and piety. As they are paraded through the streets amidst the solemn strains of liturgical music, they serve as a tangible reminder of the enduring power of faith to unite communities and inspire the human spirit.

Yet, beyond its religious significance, Holy Week holds a deeper meaning for the Maltese people—a testament to their resilience, solidarity, and unwavering faith. In a world marked by uncertainty and upheaval, the rituals and traditions of Holy Week offer a sense of continuity and hope, reminding us of the enduring presence of grace and redemption in our lives.

Holy Week is more than just a series of religious observances—it is a testament to the enduring power of tradition, the richness of cultural heritage, and the profound artistic expression that can come from faith. 

The rituals and traditions of Holy Week serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration, guiding us as the Maltese people on their journey of faith, identity and artistic expression.

💫 Join in this celebration of religion, faith and life, by re-creating whatever your heart desires as a piece of your home or office space.

Contact me at +356 79729227 or [email protected] to schedule your visit.

Discover more of my artworks at www.artofilina.com and https://www.artfinder.com/artist/artofilina/me-at-work/#.