Item 52 - Haber, Paul

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Haber, Paul


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Paul Haber established himself in the art scene with his first exhibition at the National Museum in 1972. However, his formal art studies and practice had started more than 45 years ago. From a young age and under the influence of his father Peter, he spent his spare time working with his hands making anything which required a creative mind, be it a fancy kite to fly, a canoe as a teenager, or a sleek speed boat which he built with his younger brothers.
Haber was born in 1940, the first-born in a family of twelve from Xewkija Gozo. He is married to Joan Debrincat and they have a daughter, Nadia, and two sons, Daniel and Simon.
Haber was brought up to appreciate the wonders of nature; a little flower growing unnoticed on barren land, the striking shape of a corroded stone, or the exotic beauty of life under water in his favourite cove Mgarr ix-Xini where he spent his summers as a young lad.
Haber’s natural creative tendencies, his appropriate upbringing, alongside his love for beauty, set the stage for an avid quest for art.
Leaving his family home in Gozo, where the art scene consisted of a few artists working in churches and some dilettantes, he entered the Government School of Art in Malta, and won scholarships to Italy and the UK, gaining a locally-unprecedented degree in ceramics which had become his preferred medium of self-expression. His earliest works in ceramics date back to 1962, after a UK ceramist had been brought over in 1961 to conduct a pottery course for art teachers. Haber had immediately taken to clay and started looking beyond our shores to further his studies.
Haber’s career as a ceramist consists of three aspects, that of educator first and foremost, leaving a perceptible influence on many of today’s students and practitioners of ceramics; that of a founder of Alka Ceramics Studio producing fine artistic ceramics for the export market especially the United States; and finally as an exceptional artist who gave another dimension to the medium of ceramics.
His sculptural ceramics are original creations of seemingly outstanding simplicity which render the works so much more powerful in a most outlandish combination of strength and beauty.

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