Gilbert Calleja’s works centre on the cult of “Boxing”, and follows various stories within the sport’s local sub culture. The photographer’s interest lies in the people that make the sport, the boxers and the dedication of the people who surround them.
Photographing behind the scenes in true photojournalistic fashion, he seeks to capture each fighter’s tension in those few lonely minutes between months of hard training and the ring. The neon lit corridors, dark passageways and stuffy changing rooms amplify the sense of expectation where each man warms up before walking into the ring to fist out his opponent.
Calleja depicts these boxers at heightened times of lonely aggressiveness, in intense moments of focused concentration. The work converges the two sides of the boxing coin – that of hostility to obscure human insecurity and indecisiveness contrasted by longed-for assertive moments of elation. Calleja’s work is a true document of the lonely road travelled to fulfil man’s basic instinct for the survival of the fittest.
— Vince Briffa, artist and curator