Across the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo, long-held customs and beliefs connect those who live there to the winds that blow across the archipelago. Natural phenomena and cultural practices have been interlinked for millennia, from ringing church bells to soothe violent gales to using cats to read the winds and scatter seeds.
Il-Warda Tar-Riħ (The Wind-Rose Project) uncovered and explored these stories and traditions, linking four geographical points on the Maltese Islands.
These compass points became the focus of community activities, story gatherings, workshops and creative events that acknowledged the winds’ historical, mythological and living presence and their importance in Mediterranean culture.
What began with a children’s workshop entitled: ‘Tiftakar l-Ewwel Darba li Għamilt Tajra?’, (‘Do You Remember The First Time You Made A Kite?’) led to a meaningful exchange with the local communities in each town. A recurring object with distinct regional characteristics was soon identified across all four locations: weathervanes.
Following discussion and design sessions, the artists of the rubberbodies collective presented their findings in sculptural form. These four kinetic sculptures touch on an ancient and everlasting connection to the elements and natural rhythms.
Commissioned by the European Capital for Culture, I created a framework for a group of artists and members of four rural communities to come together.
We began by documenting the communities knowledge of the winds and then facilitated conversations between artists and non-artists (such as farmers and fishermen) to reinterpret this knowledge together to come up with the sculptural outcomes.
together with Jimmy Grima, Martina Buhagiar, Katarina Pejovic, Adrian Abela, Matthew Pandolfino in conversation with Lino Psaila, Hector Barbara, Ġorġ ix-Xemx, David Apap Agius, Mario Vassallo, Twanny Vassallo, Anthony Chircop, Leli Camilleri, and Jesmond Muscat. in collaboration with Sliema Local Council, Mġarr Local Council, Għarb Local Council and Marsaxlokk Local Council. Architectural Advisor: Adrian Mamo Project Manager: Nicole Blackman. The Valletta 2018 Foundation funded Il-Warda Tar-Riħ.