A celebration linked to International Women's Day took place at Spazju Kreattiv, on the occasion of the centenary of Jean Busuttil Zaleski forming part of the Art+Feminisim2020. The event was addressed by Dr Lydia Abela, Minister José Herrera, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Mark A. Schapiro, Spazju Kreattiv's Chairman Rupert Cefai, and Spazju Kreattiv's Artistic Director Toni Sant.

The Art+Feminism2020 exhibition includes a special exhibition of some of the works of Jean Busuttil Zaleski, the Maltese-American artist, which form part of Fondazzjoni Kreattività's art collection and private collections.

“It's a great pleasure to be here, to celebrate Jean Zaleski and those she inspired. She may have been born in a man's world, but her sheer talent couldn't stop her succeeding in life," stated Dr Lydia Abela.

Dr Abela continued saying that each generation has achieved more than the last, but a significant progress has been achieved in just the past seven years alone. Universal free childcare has been a huge success in Malta, allowing new mothers to return to work and succeed in their careers, while also leading to an astonishing rise in the female employment rate. 

Dr Abela stated that there is still a lot to be achieved, especially to close the pay gap. With regards to the changes to be put in place to boost the number of women in Parliament, Dr Abela stated that a more balanced Parliament will not only increase the pool of female talent to serve in the government, but will also inspire girls and young women in Malta to aim high. 

“Legislating for a fairer society is one thing, but we also have to change minds, change culture and change society. We can learn from Jean, whose talent caught the eye of Jimmy Carter when he was President. She was a woman who went from a humble house in Malta to the White House in Washington. And she left us a legacy. Today, we continue to celebrate her art. It continues to enhance our souls and gives us pride," concluded Dr Abela.

“It is my pleasure to attend the commemorative ceremony forming part of Art+Feminism 2020. The theme behind this initiative is noteworthy and significant in today's circumstances, where there is an ever-increasing drive in the empowerment of women. There is even a government commitment in this direction," stated Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera. 

Minister Herrera said that the exhibition commemorates the centenary of Jean Busuttil Zaleski, a Maltese female artist who helped promote intercultural diplomacy. He stated that it is thanks to Jean Busuttil Zaleski that today we have an artist's residence scheme, which gives the opportunity to Maltese artists to travel abroad and enrich their cultural experience, as well as to foreign artists to travel to Malta to share their experience with local artists. The government is also committed in working towards increasing female participation in the arts sphere.

“I am delighted that the works of Maltese American artist Jean Busuttil Zaleski are displayed in this exhibition, among the works of Maltese and international artists.  This is the second year that the U.S. Embassy is supporting Art + Feminism at Spazju Kreattiv. The goal of this event is to add content to Wikipedia about female artists, which, unfortunately, is sadly lacking. Our local initiative #BreaktheGlass supports Spazju Kreattiv's goals by empowering women and promoting participation and integration in all fields, including the arts," stated Mark A. Schapiro, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy. 

“It is essential to celebrate the modern and contemporary cultural heritage, and thus we are significantly portraying this vis-à-vis the artist Jean Busuttil Zaleski. In addition to this, we should continue enhancing the international initiative of Art+Feminism in Malta, as there are more Maltese female artists than one might think," stated Toni Sant, Spazju Kreattiv's Artistic Director.