GILBERT CALLEJA
 documentary photography

Priest's visit, Valletta, Malta,

2003-2005, 2010-2011


“Calleja accompanied Fr Zaren Zerafa, an Augustinian priest on his weekly visits to elderly individuals in the Mandragg area of Valletta. As viewers of the photos, we enter their private homes, look at their ordinary furniture as poor exhibits which are replete with meaning only because they were not posed. In Calleja’s images, the space is no more illusionary than in our own homes, the difference being that these elderly people’s spaces are invaded by Calleja’s lens. Eagerly awaited, the priest conducts his rites accompanied by the photographer who takes pictures of the people and their modest rooms and furniture.. It is the weekly visitor who knows them all by name and is known to all of them, thereby linking these individual lives to each other. This universality (etymologically linked to the roots of Catholicism) brings us to the social pretext for the priest’s visits – religion – although Calleja only hints at it.”


(words by Mare van Koningsveld and Lennard Dost, The Culture of Ageing, VIVA, 2015)





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