Earth Garden Reminiscence: The Art Square

Welcome again!

We are not sure if anyone of you have ever felt it, but it is a very strange feeling to re-discover your photographs after so many months that you almost forgotten you have taken them. We have to admit to being a little bit ashamed. The Notte Bianca coverage was enormous; it took us almost 2 months to be completed but Earth Garden was also an important project and we wonder why we haven’t uploaded the photographs sooner! While looking through materials for this entry, we came across many exceptional pictures taken by Malicia. We realized they would need at least two blogs to be properly displayed. After a brainstorm, it was decided to have the pictures segregated into two categories: the ones taken at The Art Square and those from the Ethnic market.

Earth Garden banner, screenshot by Rita

The pictures below were taken at one of the two official places we had at the festival. Malicia was tasked to take care of the Tree of Art while Rita oversaw the stall at the Ethic market. This way, we have been in two different places and nothing has escaped our attention. Even during the night, we continued to be working: Malicia armed with a famous pink torchlight had so much fun playing the night guard, protecting the artworks gathered in The Square from being stolen or destroyed and acted as a taxi booking agent for the visitors.

A map of the festival, screenshot by Rita

We arrived to Ta’ Qali early in the morning on Saturday the 4th of June, several hours before the Art Square has been open to the public (opening time was scheduled at 4 pm). Few other artists have already been there before us, setting up their works on large black pedestals. We found out that our tree was near the middle of the Square, giving us a perfect view at all installations located there. Malicia took a picture trying to show you exactly what we saw in the front of us.

A view of the Art Square, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Having a lot of time on our hands, we started walking around, taking a closely look at the artists at work. It was a real hot, summer day and people were working tirelessly in full sunshine. We exchanged hellos and news with our friends and ended out helping those who needed an extra pair of hands. Malicia recalled cutting frames for one of the artworks of James Bianchi and helping him to attach it to the pedestal. You can see the artwork on the first pedestal from the right. More James’ pictures can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/james_bianchi

Another view of the Square, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

During our wanders around the Square, we noticed exceptional artworks made by respected young Maltese artists. A digital collage of two women entitled “Rinaxximent-II-it-taqbida” by Pawlu Mizzi caught many eyes during the exhibition. Please visit his gallery to learn more: http://cargocollective.com/cargopm#2036694/

Artwork by Pawlu Mizzi, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

 At Earth Garden you don’t have to move at all to see something beautiful. Sometimes the art can even come to you. While hiding in the shade of our tree, we have been approached by our neighbor, Enrique Tabone. She asked if she could put one of her sculptures called “Lotus” under the tree. We immediately agreed as it was a brilliant idea! The flower complemented our installation and brought even more visitors to us! Please visit Enrique’s official blog: http://enriquetabone.blogspot.com

Lotus by Enrique Tabone, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

At midday, a time had finally come for us to decorate the Tree of Art. The concept was very simple: Malicia’s 8-piece photography series entitled “A mortal moment” has been attached to the tree’s trunk and largest branches. Rita’s orb series known as “Planet caravan” was hanged from the lighter, outer branches, circulating the whole tree. It took us about two hours to set everything up.

Full view of the Tree of Art, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

After adding Enrique Tabone’s “Lotus” sculpture, the whole Tree of Art was completed. We took another picture of the whole installation from afar to show you the final effect and how big the tree really was. We were truly proud of the outcome. And the moment we finished preparing everything, few visitors showed up! How good is that!

Visitors at our site! Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Of course, pictures taken from the distance are not as good as the ones taken closely. Malicia photographed the tree from almost every angle, trying to document the arrangement as meticulously as possible. On the picture below you can see two photographs:  “Coral” on the right and “Sepia” on the left.

A closer look at "The Mortal moment" series, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

The back of the tree was decorated with three other Malicia’s pictures. Starting from the left you can see: “Pearl”, “Carmine” and “Violet”. In the background on the left, one of Rita’s spheres is visible. It was called “The Moonlight” and represented the Condensation – a final stage in the planet’s watery life when the water is ready to return to the surface in the form of the rain. This orb has been purchased at the festival by an Indian gentleman as a present for the Mother’s day : )

Mortal moment series and the black orb, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Rita’s orbs made from recycled plastic and ecological materials were suspended on multicolored ribbons. There were six spheres in total, each one symbolizing a stage in water circle of a planet. The one you see below is “The Starlight” – the Evaporation, a moment when rain clouds are born.

A blue orb, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

The yellow orb floating in the air on the next picture is called “The Broadlight”. You can see the black pedestals of the Art Square in the distance. The orb represents the sun in its highest point during the day, The Noon. The orb has been purposely positioned right in the middle of the tree. This is also the sign of the Sublimation – water is changing from one form to the other.

Yellow orb and the Square in the background, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

The red orb, decorated with feathers is called “The Daylight”.  It was suspended on the left side of “Sepia” directly between “Cyan” (at the bottom) and “Emerald” (on the top and a bit to the left). It represents the Precipitation – the beginning of a water circle.

Red orb among Mortal moments :), picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Our last picture was taken in the afternoon, when our installation began drawing crowds. The 5th edition of the festival proved to be a huge success. We cannot tell you how many people visited it, but we are a few hundreds at least. After several hours of explaining the meaning behind the artworks and photographs, we could barely speak not to mention we were sun burnt! But it was definitely worth it!

People come and people go! Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

You can find more information about theEarthGardenat their official website: http://earthgarden.com.mt/

More pictures can also be seen at their official Earth Garden Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Earth-Garden/162702787116992

 Please return tomorrow to learn more about the Ethnic Market.   

Till then,

Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Earth Garden Reminiscence: The Guestbook

 Hello you all!

 So good to be back after several days off! We hope you had a wonderful time and lots of fun. It’s almost the end of the month and the end of the year as well. We decided that for the few remaining days of 2011, we will be tying up the loose ends and odd bits together, summarizing the very busy 12 months we had. The first thing on our list is the Earth Garden. The celebration of ecology, art and music took place in Ta’ Qali National Park on Malta on the 4th and 5th of June.

Earth Garden 2011 logo, screen by Rita. Please visit for more information: http://earthgarden.com.mt/

As you remember, we have been preparing to Earth Garden since April. Mal was taking pictures for a series she named “A Mortal moment” and Rita was working on a collection of “orbs” that portrayed a life circle of a planet entitled “Planet Caravan”. We have also posted several pictures of our site at the festival. The blog entries can be found here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/planet-caravan/

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/a-mortal-moment/

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/the-road-to-earth-garden/

Water circle was the main theme for Earth Garden in 2011. Screen by Rita, Please read http://earthgarden.com.mt/eg2011/watercycle.html

 July and August proved to be extremely busy for us with almost no time to write. Then Notte Bianca arrived and somehow the guestbook entries left by Earth Garden visitors and the photographs from the event were never published. Until now of course. Please scroll down to view several extraordinarily nice comments we received for our installations.

A screen with short bio for Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz 😀

 The fist entry was left anonymously by somebody fromLondon. It says:

“Hi,

Of all the installations I have seen on Malta…

This was the best!! Big love from London, England.” Thank you whoever you are! It is good to be considered the best of all artists displaying their works. There were more than 30 installations and almost 50 artists, performers and musician playing to entertain the crowds.

Guestbook page scanned by Malicia

Anthony and Beson, two visitors shared the second page and posted random things that came to their heads to bring good humor and positive vibes to the guestbook. Benson wrote: “Benson was tasting the mango. Nice : )”. Anthony added in capitals: “Anthony WAS HERE! 2011”.  We hope to see you next year as well!

Guestbook page scanned by Malicia

 Sadly, our next guest signed his or hers entry with an unreadable signature and we cannot decipher it. No less, the straight-to-the-point comment sums our artistic initiative very well. It says: “WICKED!”. Well, thank you very much!

Guestbook page scanned by Malicia

Claire, Paul and Matt, came next and left a whole lotta love to us! Their charming comment reads “Clair, Matt and Paul were here! See ya!” The post is decorated by hand drawn hearts – much appreciated folks! It’s good to be adored!

Guestbook page scanned by Malicia

Mark and Jacqueline also had nice things to say about our artworks. They left their opinion on page 5 and encouraged others to continue with their artistic efforts. They wrote: “Well done. Just keep it up all of ya!” Please visit us next year as well, as we plan to present a new project in 2012!

Guestbook page scanned by Malicia

 The last page belongs to Bobi, a self proclaimed pacifist with a peace sign in her name. Bobi declared her life-long commitment to art and Earth garden by writing:

“Earth Garden for life!,

Giggle, lol,

Love, Bobbi”

Guestbook page scanned by Malicia

Much love to you to! Giggles are much needed, especially in the hard times!

We must admit that the guestbooks from Notte Bianca and Earth Garden are completely different.  The Earth Garden one is much happier and optimistic. We absolutely love all entries and we hope to meet all authors sometime soon.

Please come back tomorrow top see the beautiful pictures we took in June!

All the best on Boxing Day,

Rita and Malicia D.

Notte Bianca Retrospective # 16: The Look Book Part2

Welcome back!

Thank you so much for returning to read the second part of the “Look Book” thread. We have collected many pictures before and during the exhibition that it was impossible to put them all in one single post! Yesterday, you had a chance to see the Palace Messina from the outside, learn a bit more about its history and our gracious hosts: The German-Maltese Circle. Two exhibition rooms were also shown along with multiple pictures taken during the opening night on October the 1st 2011. But of course, we are not done yet. So sit tight and enjoy the virtual journey around The Palazzo Messina!

Chapel and the altar with the painting by Raymond Darmanin. Pictures provided by German-Maltese Circle. More information can be found here: http://www.germanmaltesecircle.org

THE SITTING ROOM BALCONY: We mentioned already that both exhibition rooms had balconies that were available to our visitors. In contrast to the open balcony of the Atrium, the Sitting Room’s balcony is a closed one, entirely covered with an original 18th century wooden “cage”: with solid roof and thin, decorated walls. Perhaps the term “balcony” is not the proper one to describe it: the narrow passage is attached to the building on the outside and connects the Sitting Room with the ballroom. It looks more like a gallery than a balcony, but it is being described as one even by the workers of the Palace. The balcony was covered for a reason. The passage has been built for the servants to move quickly between the lounge and the ballroom. It was used mostly during parties and balls. Kitchen helpers, maids and waiters could supply guests in both rooms at the same time with food and beverages without being practically seen by the party goers. At the picture below, Malicia and Martin strike crazy poses in the passage.

Martin and Malicia fooling around on the covered balcony. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

The balcony overlooks the Republic Street, one of the most frequented shopping promenades in the capitol city of Valletta. We took a lovely picture of the building right next to us from there, with a German flag flowing in the wind.

A view from The Sitting Room balcony. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

THE BALLROOM:  the biggest room in the palace is known today as the Karm Fenech Hall, named after the German-Maltese Circle founding member and the president between 1970 and 2001. The Hall serves as a main venue for all Circle events: from charity fundraisers, symposiums, business meetings to art exhibitions and concerts. It is a prime example of the Sicilian rococo style on Malta (also knows as the late Baroque), and one of the best preserved. 

Karm Fenech Hall picture by German-Maltese Circle. You can find more information here: http://www.germanmaltesecircle.org

The ballroom is curiously positioned. It is located on the first floor, right in the middle of the building. It is separated from The Sitting Room by a wall and connected to it with an outside covered passage. It also has a second balcony of its own: overlooking the Republic Street, and placed in the middle of the external façade of the Palace. The whole room is very well lit: three huge windows supply enough light during the day and an elaborate crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling illuminates the darkness at night.

Ballroom Hall by day. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

During the first two days of our exhibition, the guestbooks were displayed there, on especially prepared black pedestals.  Another picture shows the Hall in the evening, with the chandelier lights turned on.

The Main Hall by night and the chandelier picture by Raisa Tarasova

We couldn’t help ourselves and we had to take a close-up picture of the chandelier as well! We are sure that nothing like this is being made nowadays!

Chandelier details. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

The Ballroom is an architectonical masterpiece and a true sign of the status of the Messina Family. If you ever visit the audition chamber in The Grandmaster’s Palace before coming to MessinaPalace, you will quickly notice several similarities between both rooms. Before being divided into two Palaces (Messinaand Marina) the building was known as Casa Rocca Grande and was heavily inspired by the architecture of the Grandmaster’s Palace. Originally The Ballroom was built at the request of the Maltese Knights and served as the mediation room. In the 17th century a corridor connecting the Ballroom and the chapel has been bricked in and the Ballroom was decorated with colorful hand painted frescoes according to the latest fashion. The coat of arms of the Messina Family (a standing lion holding an anchor with three stars above him on a crowned shield) is hewn into the marble floor in the center of the room.

Messina Family coat of arms. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

The coat of arms is not only visible on the floor but also on the walls as fragment of the decorative panels. A close up picture shows incredible details and the amount of work that has been put into making the miniature: all lions are identical in size and were carefully painted.

Coat of arms again, this time as a decorative element on the wall. Picture by Raisa Tarasova

The ceiling of the ballroom has been painted in a deep blue color and is decorated with golden stars. On the walls you can see bouquets of flowers and plants winding around white oval frames with scenes taken fromValletta’s daily life. All elements are shaded and it gives the viewers an impression they are 3 dimensional. Clever trick!

Ceiling painting details. Picture by Raisa Tarasova

The paintings are varied; there are different vases and flowers in each corner of the ceiling. The next picture shows that the ceiling is a bit damaged and the paint started peeling off.  The reconstruction has been done nearly ten years ago but as the crack become bigger in recent months, it will need to be repeated in the near future.

Another ceiling painting details. Picture by Raisa Tarasova

We have taken several pictures on the opening night showing a large group of our visitors signing the guestbook displayed in the Ballroom. First picture shows the back of the easel with several guests in the background ready to write their comments and opinions.

Ballroom guestbook signing. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Two women on the next picture are seen standing by the window reading. The majority of comments left in the books came from the ladies.

Women reading the guestbooks. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Young people dominated among the visitors. The largest group was between the ages of 17 to 30. Most of them were tourists and students. Sometimes both at the same time 😀

Young people leaving comments. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz.

The oldest person who left the comment in our guestbboks was born in 1940’s. A respected group of older people also signed the guestbooks. In the below picture, a man is his 50’s is looking at the description of one of the zodiac signs.

An older man is interested in one of the guestbooks. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Two couples stopped by the pedestals to sign the guestbooks. The exhibition was a family friendly event and many arrived to see it along with their kids, friends and significant others.

Families leaving their comments. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Can you believe it that we have finally reached the end of our Notte Bianca coverage? It’s been three months since we started summarizing the event but it feels just like yesterday! 16 entries! It’s truly impressive, but you have it all now: pictures, scans, information, guestbooks, leaflets, descriptions, short stories… If you’d put all Notte Bianca entries uploaded to this blog together, they could be turned into a small book – we have written more than 65 pages of reports!

We are grateful for your assistance. Thank you so much! Please return soon as now we will be trying to recap other evens that took place in 2011!

Stay tuned,

Mal, Rita, Martin, Raisa and Matt.

Notte Bianca Retrospective # 15: The Look Book Part1

Hello everybody!

Please excuse us not updating the blog in the last few weeks. As usual we are extremely busy, combining professional work with our artistic endeavors. We will share the details with you shortly, but today we would like to finally close one of the biggest projects of this year: Notte Bianca 2011. So far, we have presented 13 guestbooks signed by our visitors (12 for each zodiac sign and one dedicated to photography), statistics, links and references. Pictures are the only thing that’s left. Ladies and gentlemen: let us introduce you “The Look Book” – a carefully selected collection of pictures taken during the exhibition surrounded by the luxurious interiors of the Messina Palace!

Messina Palace picture provided by German-Maltese Circle. More information can be found here: http://www.germanmaltesecircle.org

Finding a perfect location is the first rule when you organizing an art exhibition and half of the whole project’s success. The spot must be located in an attractive place (such as the city center for example) and within a walking distance to public transportation. If the building is recognized by the people, it’s even better! We have visited several places before we decided to co-operate with the German-Maltese Circle, owners of the Messina Palace.

Palazzo Messina's main entrance. Picture by Malicia

The places were impressive of course, as Malta has many beautiful buildings and architectural monuments. Yet, Messina had something more than just good looks and convenient position. We were looking for a place with a unique character and long history – and we found there everything that we had hoped to find!

LOCATION: Messina Palace

Messina Interior pictures provided by German-Maltese Circle. More information can be found here: http://www.germanmaltesecircle.org

This impressive building is located at the corner ofSt. Christopher Street(No 141 and 141A) and Republic Street right in the same heart of the capitol city ofValletta. It was built by Fra Pietro La Rocca, Prior of Santo Stefano and the Admiral of the Order ofSt. John. Along with Palazzo Marina (St. Christopher Street No. 143), it was once a part of a Casa Rocca Grande, a colossal villa belonging to the richest people onMalta. In 1864, merchant Count Rosario Messina (1796-1875) of Bagnara inCalabriaand his wife Maria de Ataliottis moved into this house along with their 5 children. Messina Palace remained the family home till 1939 when the countess Lucia Messina, an Italian citizen, left Malta before the outbreak of The Second World War. The building was then turned into a school,  governmental office (Ministry of Education) and finally in 1975, it was sold to German Embassy.

Carved staircase on second floor of the Palace. Picture provided by German-Maltese Circle. More information can be found here: http://www.germanmaltesecircle.org

Today, Messina Palace is the headquarters of the German-Maltese Circle. The rich history of the Palace is clearly visible. Original room composition has been preserved and the visitors can experience how the Maltese noble family lived nearly 200 years ago. Guests usually have access to two exhibition rooms with balconies, a large library, spacious hallways adorned with baroque stone carvings on both sides of the stairs, former ball room that serves now as a conference chamber, private chapel with unique altar made of Carrara marble and to popular Bar and Coffee shop with na open courtyard that was roofed in 1980. Extra rooms (private study and former bedrooms) are exhibited only several times a year.

HOST: German-Maltese Circle

 The organization was created on the 18th October 1962. Their objective is to promote friendship betweenMaltaandGermanythrough art and social events. Members of the organization are not involved in politics. The circle is operated and financed by its volunteers and has 11-person Committee in charge. Its members are elected once a year in January.

Logo of the German-Maltese Circle. More information can be found here: http://www.germanmaltesecircle.org

 Current Executive Committee of theGerman-Maltese Circleis composed of:

President: Mrs. Ingrid Kidder
Vice President: Mr. Simon Alden
General Secretary: Mr. Victor H Sammut
Assistant Secretary: Mr. Victor P. Pace
Treasurer: Mr. Carmel Azzopardi
Assistant  Treasurer: Ms Corinne Gauci
Officer i.c. Courses: Ms Marianne Azzopardi
Corporate Members Representative: Mr. Bernd Ritschel
Members: Mr. Joseph Borg Camilleri, Mr. Omar Grech, Ms Sirka Vella-Facklam
Legal Advisor: Dr Hugh Peralta

Official website: www.germanmaltesecircle.org

ARTISTS: Phos Collective (Martin Galea De Giovanni, Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths)

PICTURES: Martin Gallea De Giovanni, Raisa Tarasova and Malicia Dabrowicz.

Main corridor leading to the chapel, with the altar visible in the distance. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Our exhibition entitled “The Astral Room: A journey through the stars in art and photography” occupied two show rooms on the first floor of the Messina Palace between 1st and15th of October 2011. Before entering, the guests have been welcomed by a poster created by Martin Galea De Giovanni and a sign “Exhibition: free entrance” pointing in the right direction. Nobody could get lost! In the background, you can see the entrance to the first room with Martin’s short stories printed and framed.

Entrance to The Atrium with poster about the exhibition displayed by the door. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

THE ATRIUM: The first exhibition room is known as “The Atrium” – The Heart of the house. Originally, it was a lounge for the visiting guests of the Messina Family. Martin and Malicia’s photographs were displayed there: Martin’s works on the left and Malicia’s on the right. You can see the nearly entire room with a visitor standing directly in between the pictures.

A guest is looking at the photographs in the Atrium. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Another picture shows the entrance to the exhibition room and Malicia’s photographs on the wall. In the bottom left corner you can notice a small desk, where the guest book was placed. It is also visible on the above picture as well.

Another look at The Atrium display. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

Large group of visitors stopped to view the photographs. On the left, Martin Galea De Giovanni is explaining the meaning beind the project.

Group is viewing the photographs. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

THE ATRIUM BALCONY: Both exhibitions rooms have balconies; however each of them was created for a different reason. The Atrium balcony is an open one and offers a spectacular view for the guests. The visitors of The Messina family could admire the panorama of the capital city during their stay at the Palace. The balcony was available to our guests as well and many people took the opportunity to see the town at night. Martin was photographed while looking down at the street beneath him.

Martin is looking down. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

The balcony was also a great spot for romantic pictures. A lovely photo shows Raisa and Martin enjoying a quiet moment. A wall of the Palace Marina is just right behind them.

Martin and Raisa standing at the open balcony. Picture taken from The Atrium by Malicia Dabrowicz

The streets below on the opening night looked like the streets of Tokyo! Dancers, street performers, tourists, natives…it was a mad night! Here is the night-time snapshot of the St. Christopher Street taken from the Atrium balcony:

Busy street on the opening night. Picture by Raisa Tarasova.

THE SITTING ROOM: The second exhibition room was nicknamed “The Sitting Room” or “The Family Room”. This was the main lounge for the Messina clan and it was decorated with a beautiful 17th century fireplace. The room served two purposes: a whole family would gather here after the meals to talk, entertain themselves by reading books or listen to pianoforte concertos. When a ball or a small dance party was organized in the Palace, the room was turned into a “resting place” for the guests as it is separated from the ballroom by a wall. Food and refreshments were served by the house staff, chaperones were attending the ladies without partners and gentlemen could discuss politics or private matters without being heard or disturbed by the music. Rita and Matt’s ZODIAK series was displayed in this room. On this picture you can see the original 18th century ceramic flooring (golden and ivory tiles), a table with guestbooks in the middle and the fireplace just behind it. There are also two doors in the room. The first door, located next to the fireplace, leads to the main ballroom, the other, decorated with a curtain, leads to a covered balcony connecting the ballroom with the family room.

The interior of The Sitting Room. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Two guestbooks have also been placed on the mantelpiece. We took a close up picture to show you how they looked like in detail. Every zodiac sign has been described at the beginning of the book (the golden pages) and the visitors could familiarize themselves with myths and tales connected with every sign. You can also notice the subtle white carvings on the front of the ceramic fireplace.   

A close up of the guestbooks placed on the mantlepiece. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Many people stopped by the fireplace to take a look at the guestbooks. A photograph shows one of the guests reading carefully the description before adding his comment.

Visitor is signing the guestbook. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz.

The descriptions however, were not enough for some visitors. They had so many questions regarding the artworks, abstract techniques or used materials that they had to speak to one of the organizers themselves! Martin Galea De Giovanni is seen talking to two guests explaining the meaning behind Matt’s wonderful sketches.

Martin talking to the visitors. Picture by Malicia Dabrowicz.

 All right! This entry is perhaps the longest one we have ever uploaded!

Please return tomorrow to learn more about the amazing ballroom and to see more images showing the crowds of onlookers that visited us!

Thank you for reading

Till then,

Rita, Matt, Malicia, Raisa and Martin