For a team of art lovers, the restoration work at hand becomes a source of major satisfaction. “One starts off with a filthy wall with dirt and surface damage which as it is being documented, studied and conserved finds its way back to its strengthened and uncovered original splendor,” explains Agatha Grima, director of the cooperative, ReCoop-The Restoration and Conservation Coop Ltd.
ReCoop was set up in 2003 by a team of professional conservators wanting to work in the Arts Sector. At the time of the set-up, professional conservation was at its very beginning on the Maltese Islands. So the cooperative set out to work on conservation and restoration but also with the aim of educating the public. To that end it would give lectures at the end of the majority of its projects.
What began as a team of conservators grew into a multidisciplinary group including art historians, architects and scientists. Apart from conservation and restoration services the team performs art-historical and scientific research, environmental monitoring and consultancy services.
“Maybe the most important moment in ReCoop’s evolution was through the winning of major projects for the conservation of the bastions of Valletta, Birgu, Mdina and the Citadel Gozo,” says Grima. “These projects have given a new dimension to the cooperative.”
ReCoop has worked on numerous projects ranging from easel paintings, to bronze and wooden polychromed statues, wall paintings and architectural monuments. Amongst its most important projects have been the restoration of the Carmelites Church and Convent and numerous projects at St. John’s Co-Cathedral. The team’s latest work is on the painted ceiling at the Mdina Cathedral together with a number of other important works such as the altar painting of Stella Maris church, Sliema.
“The team started off as a team of professional conservators who had to suddenly face the necessity to take on the role of managers,” says Grima. “The fact that one could follow pre-defined cooperative structures definitely eased the task of the founding members.”
“As the cooperative grew and embraced new members, the cooperative structure worked for ReCoop because in itself ReCoop is a multidisciplinary team that functions with one common aim; that of preserving Cultural Heritage.”