Joanne Fenech Portelli, born 1976, hails from Qrendi and lives in Luqa in Malta. She studied painting and drawing techniques under artists Dr. Joseph Paul Cassar, Charles Cassar, Anton Calleja, Alfred Briffa, Philip Agius and Joseph Chetcuti, and also sculpture in clay techniques with artists Angelo Agius, and Joseph Chetcuti under whose instruction she followed a three year sculpture course at The Malta School of Art. She has also followed workshops with renowned artists Robert Hagan, Lori Putnam, Roger Dellar, Ned Muller, Antonin Passemard and Veli Annti Rautiola. Joanne has taught primary school children between 1998 and 2013. In 2001 was appointed as an Art Primary School teacher and taught in various schools in Malta and Gozo.
Since 2003 Joanne has been actively exhibiting in various local art exhibitions, and has also set up two solo exhibitions in 2006 in Valletta and Portomaso. She also had a duo exhibition in 2008 entitled ‘Of Faces & Figures’, where the artwork exhibited was that of human figures but also included portraits done from life and bronze sculptures. In 2007 she was curator for the Primary Art Teachers exhibition entitled ‘Fusion’, where primary school children also had the chance to follow workshops. May 2012 saw Joanne's exhibition at Chetcuti Cauchi premises in St Ursula Street in Valletta entitled 'Through My Eyes' which consisted of landscapes, flora, still life and sculptures. In 2014 she had another solo exhibition consisting of Maltese landscapes entitled 'Pajsaggi' which was set up in the magnificent Wignacourt Museum in Rabat, Malta. In November 2017 she set up a solo art exhibition entitled 'Impressions: En Plein Air paintings of my Malta and my visits abroad' which was on view at Palazzo Ferreria in Valletta. In November 2019 Joanne showcased her plein air work done between 2017 and 2019 from Malta, Gozo, Ireland, Holland and Sicily in the same latter venue in a solo exhibition entitled 'Inspirations'. Her latest solo exhibition was held in June 2021. Entitled 'Joy', it took place at Desko, Studio 104 in Valletta, and consisted of a diary of daily plein air paintings during the month of April 2021, during which she took part in an international painting competition by painting daily for 30 consecutive days.
In 2006, Joanne was one of the founding members to set up the Pastel Society of Malta and was appointed Treasurer. She takes part in setting up an art exhibition by the society members annually. In Summer of 2017 Joanne was the first Maltese artist to participate in the 10th International Art In the Open Plein Air Painting Festival in Ireland. There she painted everyday shoulder to shoulder with renowned internationally famous artists and took workshops from them while also painting en plein air everyday. At the final Quick Draw, where one only had two hours to pull up a plein air painting of a designated shop facade, Joanne won first in her category with her painting 'Summer Sale'. She also participated in the collective exhibition alongside another 200 artists from all over the world in the Wexford AITO festival exhibition at Green Acres Gallery in Wexford. Joanne has also participated in this festival in the 11th edition of 2018. She was also one of the international guest artists invited to participate in the 20th edition of the Noordwijk Shilderfestival which took place in June 2018 in Holland, where Joanne painted and exhibited alongside well established Dutch and foreign artists in a week long plein-air festival. In August 2019 Joanne also participated in the Twin Trees International Plein Air Painting Festival in Ballinakill in Ireland. In April 2021, she took part in the International PleinAirpril painting challenge organised online by Warrior Painters in the USA, where she painted en plein air on different locations locally for 30 days during the whole month. She was also recognised as one of the runner up winners in this event in the Oil Painters Category. Joanne also participated again in the Noordwijk Schilderfestival in Holland in July 2021, where she painted en plein air and exhibited daily alongside international and Dutch artists. Thus Joanne's paintings not only hang in collector's homes in Malta, but also in Ireland, Holland, and the US.
For Joanne, art is her passion and work. An art teacher, mother and artist, Joanne Fenech Portelli expresses her feelings and emotions through her art, be it paintings or sculptures. Her imaginative art is decorative, her landscapes poetical and peaceful, her portraits and figures expressive. She reflects her visions and sentiments in her artwork which is depicted in various media according to the mood, subject or theme she is conveying to the viewer in this universal language of art.