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T UN O

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An exploration of the human body from head to toe, delving into the differences which tie us together.

tellingraw.com

05.2018

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Kelly Mifsud Bonavia William Henry Crisp Gabriel Debono Denise Gilford Veronica Sant Clive Sciberras Daniel Zammit

Daniel Galea Naomi Galea Alica Hochstatter Sophie Muscat Lisa Sapienza

Martina-Anne Attard Astrid Bugeja Petra Mangion Buontempo Samwel Farrugia Tiphaine Mercier Giulia Nicosia Maria Rosa Thornhill Sandie von Brockdorff

Neil Attard Lola Delabays Nicholas Gambin Lindsey Muscat Carla Zahra


Dear Body,

O

ur relationship nowadays is complicated. Just like with every other relationship, we must constantly work on ours. Funny thing is, there was a time when we got along so well. I only realise now how precious that time was! We would do whatever felt good, run around with friends, be active outside, and just thrive in whatever we aspired to do. We were supportive of each other! I appreciated you in your own unique form. I was still able to understand you, when you said to me with the most natural urge - hunger. But, with time, our relationship shifted from ‘eating to live’ to ‘living to eat’.


By Alica Hochstatter

I remember clearly the first time someone said to me: “Don’t eat too much, you might get fat!” It sounded like the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. At that moment, something inside me changed and so did our connection. Suddenly I began hearing these little whispers from outside, telling me what a ‘good’ body is supposed to look like and how I should shape you to fit the ideal, because somehow, I felt that you were no longer good enough. These subconscious voices soon transformed into a constant buzz in my head. I could not stop comparing myself to picture-perfect body images, because they were everywhere I looked… on television, adverts, social media platforms. The image of the woman; fragile and skinny (yet curvy in the right places), and the man; the super tall, muscular and strong man, somehow became my perceived reality in a world so dominated by visuals. These ideals are sold to me as the equivalent of health, goodness and desirability. If my body doesn’t conform to society’s expectations, I am not worthy.

Before, I had accepted and appreciated you, dear body, living my life without caring about whether I had a fucking thigh gap or not. Now, I felt discontentment, shame and self-hatred when I looked at you in the mirror. Yet, letting my life be ruled by my BMI, calories, exercise schedule and insufficient eating habits, led to huge selfimposed restrictions instead of the ultimate, holy, healthy body, and the contentment that is promised by the ‘fitspo’ lifestyle. Puberty hit us all like a truck. You’re changing, you’re confused, you’re somehow trying to figure out who you are and where the hell you fit in. All of this sensitivity and uncertainty is a fantastic breeding ground for a toxic mindset. I think that the economy and society played a very perverted trick on us! Infusing these unrealistic norms with the promise of confidence, happiness and fitness, well-aware that these ideals are so far removed from reality that you will spend a lifetime (and a fortune on gym memberships and protein shakes) pursuing them. It took me years to realise that I had been chasing an unattainable


goal, constructed as a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction. My dear body, I promise you that I will make it up to you. I will make you healthy again by giving you the love you deserve and you deserve all of it in the world just because without you, I wouldn’t exist! I will learn, once again, to listen to your needs accurately and I will feed you proper food so you will have the power to do whatever we want in life. It’s a pity that we live in such an image-driven and shallow world! If our characters were visible, would we work on improving those instead? So dear body, I want to apologize to you, for the discontent I harboured towards you - for not looking like the unrealistic body form which only exists after photoshop. I am so sorry for letting this toxic society interfere with our relationship. Everybody is unique and diversity is much more interesting than one boring stereotype! The definition of beauty is as versatile as the people out there and the only one you should aim to please is yourself!

An attempt to recreate the experience of being human, stripped of all superficiality. An exploration of the human body from head to toe, delving into the differences which tie us together. A journey towards uncovering layers, creating connections through stories.

This is Raw Untold - Unfiltered.


I. Creating a Song....

Reimagining Beauty in the Face of Illness The Eye of the Beholder Modelling: Beyond the Shot An Overwhelming Sea of Emotions The Woman Behind the Pen Let Me Put a Hole in Ya’ Breathing New Life into Discarded Debris

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II. ...From a Poem

Art in Translation

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Ears

Hair

Eyes

Face

Brain

Mouth

Arms

Hands


A Chance For Life

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Bones

Feet

Heart

II. Receiving...

A Millenial Traveller’s Dream

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Genitals

I. Giving....

More Than an Injury

Void

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Becoming Me, Becoming You

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Chest

Finding Light in the Shadows

The Minimalist.

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Skin

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Capturing Bodies in Black & White

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Body


Noella Agius Philip Agius James Attard Francesca Attard Portelli Angelo Camilleri Adam Cheshier Inesa Danalachi Remmisa Pet Shop, Żejtun The Alliance Bar, B’Kara

Stephan Abela Lara Agius Justin Axiak John Paul Azzopardi Joe Bonello Adrian Buckle Matthew Caruana Galizia Maria Alouésia Clément Edward De Gabriele Julia Farrugia Sef Farruġia Monika Monique Farrugia Asmir Fetahovic Oliver Friggieri Amy Mallia Megan Mallia Melissa Manthos James Muscat Zvezdan Reljic Catarina da Silva The Travellers Corinne Vella

Malta Health Students’ Association (MHSA) Transplant Support Group Malta Victim Support Malta

Campus FM Insite Kultura TV The Yuppie Times of Malta

Truth Malta, Paceville Haywharf, Floriana

Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences Prof. Noellie Brockdorff Dr Ġorġ Mallia Faculty Officers

Tutor Malcolm Bonello


What wil your story be? Are you an Accountancy student? Are you a Law student? Are you an IT student? We would like to give you the opportunity to take the first steps in defining your own story and exploring the world of career opportunities at KPMG. If you are interested, please contact Andreana Boldarini on andreanaboldarini@kpmg.com.mt or 2563 1278. Follow KPMG in Malta:

© 2018 KPMG, a Maltese civil partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


By Neil Attard

ART IN TRANSL AT I O N

What wil your story be? Are you an Accountancy student? Are you a Law student? Are you an IT student? 12

We would like to give you the opportunity to take the first steps in defining your own


Creating a Song...

Neil caught up with The Travellers to find out more about the raw process of composing their new song Ilkoll Flimkien, and album, Iljuni fis-Silġ.

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rior to the release of their new album ‘Iljuni fis-Silg’, the talented Maltese group, The Travellers, released a single titled ‘Ilkoll Flimkien’, which has been successfully doing the rounds throughout the Maltese media. This song has not only been played extensively on various Maltese radio stations, but it has also reached the number one spot on some radio charts to boot. But if you paid some degree of attention during your Maltese poetry classes, perhaps this song might ring a bell, as it was inspired by Professor Oliver Friggieri’s poem - Jekk. The Travellers originally started back in 2013, when a then up-and-coming group decided to take the next step and start creating their own material. Initially, they starting producing songs in English, but they quickly opted to change their lyrics to Maltese, in an attempt to go against the grain and create something new, fresh and different. They released their first official extended play in 2016 called ‘Xemx u Xita’, which surpassed all of the band’s expectations. Their tunes started spreading like wildfire and ended up being played on almost all Maltese radio stations. In the wake of their new-found success, The Travellers started working tooth and nail to release new content to satisfy their listeners. In early 2018, The Travellers released their single, ‘Ilkoll Flimkien’, amid much fanfare. After an interview with the group, lead songwriter, Andrew Vella, admitted that the song has quite a unique backstory. Andrew revealed that when he was coming up with the song, he wrote a catchy chorus and a melodic instrumental composition. Unfortunately, when trying to conjure up the rest of the lyrics, he was experiencing a writer’s block. Interestingly, some verses of the poem Jekk sprang to Andrew’s mind and that was how the song came to be.

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Andrew confessed that his plan was to try and recreate the poem using his own words. However, trying to beat the master - Prof. Friggieri - at his own game (with his wealth of experience stemming from his storied career) proved as futile as trying to fight a silverback gorilla with an inflatable balloon. As a result, the group decided to get in contact with Prof. Friggieri in order to feature verses from his poem in their song. The group was understandably nervous to pitch their idea to Prof. Friggieri, especially since they had to substantially change the poem in order to make it fit the new medium. The Travellers were surprised as the renowned poet was remarkably thrilled at the notion that something he had written quite some time ago was being rejuvenated into a new art form. Oliver Friggieri not only gave them permission to change the poem as they deemed fit, but he also gave them the green light to use any other poem which they thought might work. After minor changes, the poem fit like a glove within its new medium. The group, always willing to undertake new challenges, opted to take the song into production and that was how ‘ came to fruition.

The poem fit like a glove within its new medium 14

Their first official album, ‘Iljuni fis-Silg’, debuted in April 2018 on Spotify and iTunes. Other than being a cool name for an album and the inspiration for their initial track, the name ‘Iljuni fis-Silg’ (Lions in the Snow) also has a subtle meaning behind it. Lead singer, Chris Gatt, explained that the Maltese language wasn’t really associated with the music medium. Much like you wouldn’t usually spot a lion in the snow, you don’t normally hear Maltese music in the pop scene. In this equation, the lion symbolises the Maltese language and the snow signifies the unusual pop genre through which the language is personified. The Travellers also identified the intricacies that go along with creating a new album. They pointed out that the music creation process is always different - sometimes they come up with the lyrics first, and other times they start off with the instrumental composition. This alternation keeps their work fresh and helps ensure that their music doesn’t stagnate. They explain that the creative process can be quite a hard endeavour since the inspiration period is transient. Sometimes, they might spend three weeks struggling to come up with lyrics for their songs. Then again, at times they have composed three musical drafts in one day. After coming up with the drafts, they start fine tuning their material and their best tracks go into pre-production. They also admit that on multiple occasions, they went back to the drawing boards with their songs because they saw room for improvement. On other occasions, they would spend an entire practice session of about three hours ironing out the kinks of one of their songs, thoroughly working on the song as if it were the closing argument to a murder case.


...From a Poem

In order to get the other side of the story, Neil also arranged a meeting with Professor Oliver Friġġieri - the creative mind behind the raw poem, Jekk.

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rofessor Oliver Friggieri is not only known for his numerous written works, but he is also regarded as one of the founding fathers of Maltese literature, and the person who helped pave the way for upcoming Maltese writers. When talking with Prof. Friggieri, he expressed his delight and gratitude towards The Travellers, who decided to breath new life to a poem he wrote quite some time ago.

When asked whether he had ever considered the possibility of his works being adapted into the musical art form, Prof. Friggieri replied that although he grew up surrounded by orators and singers, he would never have imagined that any of his pieces would have been repurposed into song. However, he is extremely glad that The Travellers took the initiative and made this happen, because in his opinion, “music is one of the most sublime art forms.”

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language mirrors

Oliver Friggieri praised The Travellers for producing such a beautiful rendition of the poem through a new medium. He also deeply commends them for successfully attempting to sink their teeth into relatively unexplored grounds, when attempting to convert works of literature into music. When we hinted at whether he felt anxious to see if The Travellers would change the meaning of the song, Prof. Friggieri explained that a poem is at the listener’s disposition. A single poem can have multiple meanings depending on the reader’s perspective and interpretation. The professor further elaborated that there are two types of poems: a poem that the reader reads that passes along like a brisk breeze without leaving a lasting impression, or one that occupies a special place in the reader’s heart. Prof. Friggieri reiterates that the latter form is what a good poet should strive to create. This ensures that the poem resonates with the reader and thus leaves a lasting impression. If the poet has the ability to create this type of poetry, then the poem can withstand all winds and interpretations.

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Prof. Friggieri said that although poetry by itself is indeed beautiful, when you add sound to poetry you not only add a new layer to that beauty, but you are also adding new colour to the words. He believes that when two such gracious art forms like poetry and music merge together, it is an absolute pleasure to see them marry and flourish through one medium. The poet applauded The Travellers for breaking the preconceived notion that Maltese can’t hold a candle to other languages when it comes to music. The Maltese language mostly stem from Arabic, Italian and English, which are associated with melodic and rhythmic music. Therefore, it stands to reason that Maltese music would also be able to be valued within society. With the reignited spark in Maltese music, Prof. Friggieri hopes that more and more people see the potential of the Maltese language as a musical tool. For him, language mirrors history, and when you have a country which such a rich history as Malta, it as an absolute waste to have it overlooked by the musical scene.


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By Tiphaine Mercier

Tiphaine talks to her grandmother, Malou, about her raw experience of losing her hair as a result of chemotherapy.

in the Face of Illness

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here are days when you look in the mirror and nothing feels right. You have bags or dark circles under your eyes and your skin is terrible, but the worst thing about your image is your hair. You would like to cut it, even shave your head but your hair is too precious to cut it all off. Unfortunately, every year, more than seven million women have no choice but to shave their head due to cancer treatment. This is the story of Malou, 67 years old, a grandmother of two little girls and married for 50 years. Malou is an active grandmother, who plays sports every week and eats healthily. But on January 30th, 2016, her doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer.

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Soon after the diagnosis, Malou started chemotherapy sessions, not knowing what to expect, but the doctors informed her that she will lose her hair little by little. Having grown up in the 60s and 70s, Malou always had short hair. At the time, short hair was in fashion and she never really cared much about it. She was never interested in letting it grow or having long hair like you see in all the magazines. “I always had short hair, like boys, but the day I came to make an appointment at the hairdresser’s to shave my head, I was terrified, petrified… I felt empty. I didn’t want to go out with my husband or my friends. The very idea of having to see myself without any hair made me nervous.


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I was ashamed and I wanted to be alone in order to come to terms with the way I look.” She explains that she felt overcome with a sense of shame because she thought that everyone would know that the cause of her hair loss was cancer. Women have hair - that is the norm. In magazines, models all have hair and you rarely meet a woman on the street with a shaved head. People assume that there must be a reason for a woman to have their head shaved, dismissing the possibility that this could be done simply because she prefers it that way. “People expect to be given a valid reason when they ask us ‘why are we bald?’” “When I left the hairdresser’s, I thought that everyone was looking at me, judging. I felt naked. I never even showed my bald head to my family except to my husband.” During her 6 months of chemotherapy, Malou joined an association for women with breast cancer. Every Tuesday, they sit themselves around a table in support of each other. “It’s thanks to these meetings with these women that I understood a lot about our relationship with hair. I realised that the beauty of a woman is not through her hair but through her soul. Hair is like an accessory and femininity is not just about a woman’s hair.” Malou explains that these women helped her to regain self-confidence, that

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the beauty of hair is only subjective and that people don’t need to follow fashion or worry about people’s judgment as long as they accept and feel good about themselves - that’s the most important thing. “Shaving my head was a test in my life, I felt destroyed both mentally and physically. It’s like the cancer was taking away a part of me. Thanks to the help of this association and my family, I realised that beauty did not depend on my hair, but in what a person represents. I accepted myself over time, I was still in chemotherapy but I felt less oppressed because I knew I was at peace with myself. When my hair started to grow back, it’s as if I began a new life.” Since her recovery, Malou has been trying to live life to the fullest. She travels more in order to visit her family members living overseas. Throughout her illness, she found it impossible to remove her wig as she was afraid that people would categorize her as being ill. Nowadays, she lives life one day at a time, no longer afraid of being seen without hair. Cancer has made her realise how precious life is; to be able to walk, see and be in good health. Although Malou has regained her strength and her hair has begun to grow back, she still, and will always, believe that a woman’s beauty is not determined by this part of the human body.


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By Tiphaine Mercier and Lola Delabays

Tiphaine DSLR 35MM

THE

OF THE

BEHOLDER

A

fter choosing Inesa as their model, Tiphaine and Lola scouted a setting for their shoot. “We first toured a park, considering the potential that the branches and leaves offered. As we moved away, we spotted a vintage-feel pink wall which attracted the both of us instantaneously,” said Lola. The photo shoot was hardly planned beforehand. Lola explained, “We let Inesa do her own thing as we shot her, simultaneously, from different angles. I would instruct Inesa as the ideas came to me. As a photographer, who is used to the comfort of the shadow of the camera, it was hard to constantly instruct the model to pose. In my eyes, the beauty of photography is its spontaneity.”

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Tiphaine and Lola show how two photographers can produce a unique shot when given the same subject in a raw setting.


Tiphaine DSLR 35MM

Although Tiphaine and Lola managed to reach a consensus on the model, as something about Inesa inspired the both of them, the resulting photos still retained their unique qualities. Their final shots show both Inesa’s spontaneity in her poses, as well as the photographers’ visions and ability to create the image which they desired. Through the editing process, the moment captured in the shot is intensified, as the colours are altered to strengthen the atmosphere in a way which reflects each photographer’s individual style.

Lola- DSLR 18-55MM

Lola- DSLR 18-55MM

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MODELLING

:

B e y o n d t h e

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S h o t


By Neil Attard

Neil went behind the raw flashes with Justin Axiak to discuss the intricacies that go along with being a professional model.

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t face value, people might think that modelling is just a glamorous profession, full of sunshine and rainbows. In an attempt to reveal the good, the bad and the somewhat ugly sides of the world of modelling, I decided to interview Justin Axiak, the 22-year-old model who also happens to be the winner of ‘Mr. Supranational Malta’ and ‘Mr. Supranational Europe’, also placing 6th in the World. Justin’s career as a model began after a model scout came across some of his previous photo shoots on Facebook, and offered him a modelling contract. I know for a fact that even though I myself have a Facebook account, no modelling company would ever contact me, especially considering that I look like most characters from ‘Guess Who’. The hardest photo shoot that Justin has ever had to endure, was his first - a baptism by fire - as he was modelling for a swimsuit campaign in the freezing, bitter cold. This was not only demanding since Justin had relatively little modelling experience, but he had to pose in a swimsuit

in the icy February sea, a task that would even make Aquaman uncomfortable. Although Justin is part of the fashion industry, he doesn’t consider himself to be narcissistic at all. He explains that in some cases, and with some people, models might feel less confident especially after a particularly tough photo shoot. Justin says that a model needs to develop a thick skin in order to survive in the modelling business. Considering that a model needs to look as close to perfection as possible, the photographers might ask them to try and mask their imperfections. Although for some models this might begin to sound like white noise after a while, for others, this might cause serious distress, seeing as the people in charge are constantly gnawing away at their insecurities. Even though Justin has been a part of some pretty stunning photo shoots, he has also had his fair share of embarrassing experiences. Being the big man that he is, Justin jokingly admits that once, during a photo shoot for a big Maltese company, the stylists had prepared the wrong size of clothing for the shoot. Justin was left with

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nothing but his underwear on as the stylists had to go back to their store and replace them. As a result, he ended up waiting for 45 minutes in a hotel corridor, looking like a low-budget action hero - if that sight isn’t enough to give a 10-year-old a stutter, I don’t know what is. In Justin’s opinion, the toughest thing about modelling is the constant judgement. He indicates that you get rejected for modelling opportunities a lot more than you get accepted. A model might get rejected nine times before finally being booked for a job. This can be especially strenuous if you are trying to make a living off of modelling alone, which he remarks is particularly difficult in Malta. Despite what I thought, Justin doesn’t find the catwalk to be particularly stressful. This completely went against my preconceived idea, because if it were me on that stage, I would be sweating like a heroin addict on withdrawal. Although, to be fair, he did say that he knew some other models who did in fact suffer from severe stage fright. So perhaps his calmness on stage could be attributed to his extroversion and his previous stage experience as a bodybuilder, rather than a universal trait for all models. As a model, Justin has had to go through several dietary changes. His worst dieting experience to date was during his

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preparation for a bodybuilding diet shoot, “I was hangry (hungry and angry), moody and weak all the time.� Not only did he faint on multiple occasions, but since he was repetitively going through the same grind and routine for a long period of time, it became very taxing on his body. Justin clarified that, perhaps, the mental struggle was more difficult than the physical one. It developed into a battle with his brain - challenging himself to see how long he could withstand the weakness and hunger and if he could bear to sacrifice the good things in life because of some restrictions. Towards the end of the interview, I wanted to get his thought on the aspect of gender in the modelling industry. More specifically, what he thought was harder; being a male model or a female model? Justin replied that being a female model might be harder. Female models are judged much more harshly than their male counterparts, and they might feel more inclined to try their hand at modelling, resulting in some steep competition. However, on the upside, they get paid substantially higher than males, who get paid peanuts when comparing the two. When asked about the competition with the other male models, Justin said that since you are essentially competing for the same thing, there can be a hint of friendly competition. However, Justin emphasised that this is just healthy, neighbourly competition and it never goes past that. As a matter of fact, he still keeps in contact with some of the other participants, whom he supports whenever they are about to embark on a new project. 27


AN

OVERWHELMING SEA OF EMOTIONS As a victor over the dark (yet hidden) conditions of anxiety and depression, Clive shares his raw experience of battling with his inescapable demons.

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By Clive Sciberras

SLEEP Why is something that I’m supposed to enjoy still giving me discomfort?

I try, but it’s a literal nightmare. When you don’t sleep a lot, the day becomes longer, but as a result, so do my worst fears. Things could have been much better if I slept through the majority of the day, but here I am, thinking about not waking up for the 5am training session, and not being able to make it in time for the 8am lecture. This isn’t just a thought, it’s a crippling and constant conviction that keeps prickling at my brain throughout the night. My paranoia is haunting me. Time is only supposed to move in one direction at a constant speed, so why is it that when I’m bored, time seems to move slower? It’s during these times of boredom late at night that my fears seem to creep up on me. I want to go to sleep, yet I can still hear time slowly clocking down on me and my anxiety is amplified. I close my eyes. I want this to end. But I can’t sleep.

SPEECH Why do I find it so hard to communicate my thoughts and feelings?

Our world is made up of a number of human beings, all of whom communicate in different ways. But what should I do when I confront these humans? I know how to structure a sentence, I know how to listen to others; but what I lack is the ability to put all of this into practice. I start thinking about a sentence, I say it three times (or even more) in my head before saying it out loud. The problem is, the more I ponder over the sentence, the more difficult it is to speak. I constantly feel as if someone has attached a ball and chain to my tongue. It’s become so heavy that I can’t utter a single word. On the other hand, when I start speaking without thinking about what I’m going to say, people stare at me - where are the messages coming from, is it the brain? Maybe. If only I could get out of my head and be able to speak freely, then perhaps I wouldn’t be so anxious to open my mouth.

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HEARING Why am I hearing things that aren’t there?

There are sounds, there’s rhythm, there’s music. However, at other times, there is also over-hearing and this frustrates me. Sound can come from the outside world, but the brain also has the ability to generate it from within. Sometimes I wonder if the sounds I’m hearing are actual sounds generated by my environment, or if all of them are being produced by my own brain. Can I possibly be hearing sounds that aren’t there? Or am I just over-analysing every little spec of sound around me? Unfortunately, the sounds don’t resemble ‘Hey Jude’ or ‘It’s My Life’, but come closer to a leaking water tap in the middle of a desert, where no one can reach it.

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INTERACTION Why can’t I get out of my head?

Humans need self-closure and interaction with their brain to try and get in tune with their inner emotions. The problem is that I feel the need to do this every week, every day, every hour, every minute. I am constantly living inside my brain, trying to make sense of my surroundings. Interaction is supposed to be healthy, isn’t it? For me, this might not be the case. I’m constantly in my head. Constantly overthinking. Yet if all the other people seem to yearn for interaction, then surely there must be something wrong with me, right? However, the more I push myself to interact, the more I get stuck in my own head, the more nervous I get, and the harder the actual interaction becomes.


BREATHING Why do I constantly feel like I’m suffocating?

Breathe in. Hold for two seconds. Breathe out. Hold. Keep this pattern going, even when running. As much as it’s essential for living, breathing is also crucial for not dying. Imagine one thing, one person, one room, one ventilation space, total darkness - this is how I feel on a daily basis. I feel like I’m suffocating. The faster you breathe, the faster you feel like you’re running out of oxygen. The slower you try to breathe, the more you panic and the more your heart begins to race. Are there any other options left? How am I supposed to continue living as if everything is fine when every time I take a gulp of air, I’m greeted with heavy oxygen pulling down on my lungs?

TO HELL WITH IT. I ’ L L E AT L AT E R .

EATING Why is something that I’m supposed to enjoy still giving me discomfort?

The brain signals your stomach, and in a very rude manner, your stomach complains out loud. That’s when you should go and grab something healthy to eat. Problem is, if I’m going to go outside to buy something people are going to see me and I have to interact with them. I convince myself that I’m not hungry, even though my stomach is now growling louder than ever. I can try to skip a snack or a meal and eat later. Time has passed. My stomach is mercilessly growling. It’s 11pm. Perhaps it’s better if I eat tomorrow. I go to bed, but I can’t sleep. I try to ignore all my bodily signals and try to shut my eyes. Before long, I’m once again trapped with my fears. I get out of bed and it’s still very early. Time to start a new day. I have ample time to prepare some food and get going. But my mind is thinking otherwise. My brain is thinking I’m going to be late if I cook breakfast. To hell with it, I’ll eat later.

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Investigative Journalist Mother Human

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By Carla Zahra & Nicholas Gambin

Most only knew her through her blog and newspaper columns, forming their own opinions as they skimmed through her articles. But for her relatives, friends and colleagues, the loss is not only felt at a national level but more so on a personal one. Her death meant the loss of a best friend, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mother, an aunt...

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isters Megan, 17, and Amy Mallia, 15, seem both approachable and yet reserved, as they talk about cherished memories of their beloved aunt, Daphne, and the conflicting perceptions of the woman within society. They describe Daphne as a caring, genuine and witty woman, who “always knew how to treat people well.” Besides a shared love of writing and gardening, Megan and Amy inherited a number of things from their aunt, including a dark green coat which Megan wore during our conversation. The coat had been passed down to Megan during the summer, as Daphne had saved a pile of clothes to give to her nieces. Daphne had accumulated many items over the years, which she now deemed too young to sport herself. During these visits, they would also get the opportunity to witness Daphne’s upcycling skills. It wasn’t unusual that a stone-coloured tortoise would turn bright orange overnight. “It was something in her,” said Megan. “I remember one time, we went downstairs and her sofa was littered with beads. It was literally like Aladdin’s cave.”

Just like a bowerbird, Daphne collected things from all over the world, matching and organising them into coloured columns. She loved to travel and had an insatiable desire to experience the world. She explored busy, urbanised cities as well as the exotic jungles of Central America. Amy remembers receiving a postcard from Daphne’s trip to Costa Rica which read that a baby howler monkey had jumped on her head whilst walking through the rainforest. “It sounds like something out of a cartoon,” she chuckled. Both Amy and Megan share a passion for writing with their aunt, who would regularly give them beautiful notebooks to jot down their thoughts and ideas, though she would also encourage them to focus on their studies. Her living room was constantly stacked with books, and at any time, you’d see at least ten piled up on the table. During her school days, Daphne would read a book which was cleverly hidden behind an upright textbook whilst a lesson was going on, a habit which her teachers learned to ignore because it did not interfere with her excellent results. Both sisters have experimented with their

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own blogs, which provided a space for Megan to write about travel and decor and for Amy to document her ‘foodie’ interests. In a way, they found themselves naturally fitting into the two aspects of Taste & Flair, and began writing for Daphne’s magazine on what they describe as a “spur of the moment” decision. The last time they saw their aunt, she had mentioned setting up a website for the magazine but refused their willingness to help as she insisted that they should be focusing on their upcoming exams. Nonetheless, they published their debut article in the first issue of Taste & Flair after Daphne’s death and went on to publish articles in the subsequent issues. They frequently attended photo shoots for the images featured in Taste & Flair, during which they got the opportunity to see Daphne doing something which she was passionate about. “She liked to get stuff done”, said Megan. The woman who showed up at the studio with a sense of determination was completely different to the woman who was approached by people in the street, and on a certain occasion, asked to take a selfie. The sisters recall how Daphne was taken aback on this particular occasion, Completely unaffected by her ‘celebrity status’, she never let it go to her head. Daphne has become known as ‘Malta’s most fearless woman’, but the girls argued that she was more brave and

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courageous, rather than fearless. Everybody has fears, but not everyone has the strength to act in spite of those fears. In a field mostly dominated by men, she paved her own way to push the rigid boundaries which plague our society. Her assassination has left a nationwide gap which cannot easily be filled by a singular voice. Megan explained that, “Daphne feared for our future, especially our generation”, as she expressed concern over the fact that their generation is not standing up to make their voices heard. On the 16th of October, 2017, a car bomb was set off in Bidnija and with that, Daphne Caruana Galizia was taken away from all those who knew her. Seven months since her death, there remains a vacuum in the place her pen had previously occupied. The murder may have created a division within society, but it has simultaneously brought people together on both a national and international scale. In the months which followed, a group of 45 international journalists started ‘The Daphne Project’ in order to continue following up her work and keep the voice of the woman behind the pen alive. With an air of hopefulness, Megan and Amy insist that instead of trying to tarnish her memory and whitewash her from history, it’s important to see that there lies a woman behind the pen. “They killed her, but they did not and WILL NEVER kill her story,” they concluded.


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By Petra Mangion Buontempo

LET ME PUT A HOLE IN YA’

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Petra went into the Modern Tribe Studio expecting to receive a quick run-through of Monica’s raw craft, but after hearing her out - she couldn’t help getting inked.

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walked into the studio fully aware that Monica would be busy. In fact, she was stabbing a woman in the chest when I walked in. I should probably mention that Monica Monique Farrugia is a licensed piercer and hand-poking tattoo artist - so she was simply doing her job. Monica is a 21-year-old bubbly, lively character. She has tattoos all over her arms and legs and piercings across her face and ears. She claims that, “you are your own advertisement, you are your own portfolio.” But, of course, the underlying stigma of tattoos and piercings prevails still. The journey, for Monica, has not been an easy one. There is a price to pay for living such a lifestyle, but even so - when people try to bring her down, she walks away and seeks new friends. Since she communicates with people for a living, Monica forms new relationships every day. “I give my opinion, and if they like it, they come back”. I can only imagine how close you can get to someone after you spend hours stabbing them purposefully. Monica has never felt fully content in her skin, and she figured that she wasn’t the only person who felt that way. She began her career as a piercer before she was introduced to tattooing. Her motivation stemmed from the need to feel more whole as a person, “I had been piercing for four years before I decided to pursue a career in tattooing. But I felt that there was more

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A HOLE IN YA’

I could do. So I got into hand-poking, since it uses needles, and I developed a passion for it.” The method used by Monica is a more traditional approach than the conventional technique used today. She uses needles to pierce, and tattoos using chopsticks, needles, and tape that holds each needle into place. If you’ve seen Monica’s workspace, you’ve probably noticed a drawer full of chopsticks like the ones found at sushi restaurants. I found this technique odd at first, but it was also quite soothing to not have a loud machine buzzing away by my ear. Monica’s method is known as handpoking. The journey of hand-poking has a longer history than you might imagine. It diffused from Africa all the way to Asia. Hand-poking has gone from being a social statement to a fashionable one - it has been adopted by Kings, Queens and anyone wanting to stand out. At some point, it was even used as a way to attract the opposite sex; both by women and men. Think of it as Tinder of the Ages. Each tattoo is constructed entirely from a series of dots that form a pattern, mandala or geometric shape. The process involves a lot of patience and precision as each dot plays a crucial role in the finished design. The beauty of it, is that it results in a tattoo which looks more organic; as though it belonged to the skin. Monica made sure to point out that these tattoos have a short healing time - a maximum of three days. This is obviously faster than the standard four weeks one would need to wait after getting a tattoo in this day and age.

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Hand-poking may appear painful in comparison to the ‘piercing gun’ and tattoo machine, but it is Monica’s weapon of choice. The sounds of the machine tends to make her feel paranoid and rushed, whereas she finds hand-poking to be therapeutic. Of course, some people feel more comfortable with the sound of the machine, but in her opinion, it’s more enjoyable to be able to with her clients in comfort. I would say that this art suits Monica’s personality perfectly - she is extroverted and passionate about everything she does. Monica makes you want to get to know her and understand her philosophy. I proceeded to ask her why she decided to join this particular industry, to which she replied “If you like something and feel like it should be a part of you, then why not make it a part of you?” Monica’s following has increased vastly over the past few months which has led to a spike in the amount of walkin clients. Monica is excellent at her job and manages to attract people by simply making conversation on the street. “I like to believe that people visit the studio to see me, rather than to actually get something done.” Touching skin is a very personal job and so, she attempts to make clients feel as comfortable as possible by bonding with them on a more personal level. In fact, I had the opportunity to witness the ice-breaking process during my visit. A mother walked in with her 19-year-old daughter, who was eager to get her nose pierced. The daughter was

LET ME


I came into the studio on my day off and spent the entire afternoon stencilling the phrase: ‘I’m a ray of fucking sunshine’.

visibly nervous. Monica encounters such situations often and tries to make each person in the room feel as comfortable as possible. So when she noticed the discomfort, Monica looked the girl dead in the eye and said, “if your mother beared the pain of childbirth, then you can be strong enough for this”. What can one expect during a session with Monica? When I decided to get my mandala, I walked into the studio and Monica was sketching the stencil for my tattoo. She then showed me two versions from which I had to pick my preferred mandala. She made sure to fit the stencil perfectly to my shin. She then got out a set of sushi chopsticks and asked me, “purple or blue?” referring to the colour of the tape I prefered she used for her needle. Since I was wearing orange pants with accents of purple flowers, I thought purple would offer me better vibes. She proceeded to carefully wrap the tape around the needle and chopstick and continued setting up, getting ready to stab me. Funnily enough, the process didn’t hurt one bit! Monica’s job is not one for the faint-hearted. What really surprises me is that Monica actually tattooed her own thigh once, just above the knee. She never wanted to get words tattooed on her but after reflecting on her journey, she figured that she should always look on the brighter side of things. This, in turn, changed her perspective on a few things. “I came into the studio on my day off and spent the entire afternoon stencilling the phrase; ‘I’m a ray of fucking sunshine’.”

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BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO

DISCARDED DEBRIS

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By Naomi Galea

Naomi sat at one of the bars in the heart of Valletta with artist, John Paul Azzopardi, to talk about his raw assemblage art whilst sipping on copious amounts of tea.

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ne sunny Wednesday afternoon, I met the assemblage artist John Paul Azzopardi in Valletta. We met in a bustling bar adorned with iconic posters and hung memorabilia, to talk about his art, as well as himself as an artist. This atmosphere provided a well-fitted setting for a conversation on assemblage art, which makes use of disparate everyday objects that are usually scavenged or bought by the artist. He uses techniques of restoration and conservation, as well as recycling of discarded materials, to create new artefacts. John Paul started experimenting with his art form when he was sixteen, whilst working with wires and other materials that he found handy during Electrical Installation lectures. The creation of small figurines relieved his boredom during the lowly hours in class. He was always trying to find ways to express himself. He first experimented with music but later discovered that a more tangible medium was a better way of conveying his creativity. So, he started translating his ideas and representing his experiences in a three-dimensional art form.

The clanking of the teaspoon in our glass cups did not interrupt our conversation. He spoke enthusiastically, as he emphasised that his work falls under the category of ‘Postmodern art’. The situations he has dealt with and his concerns towards society are evident in his work. His inspiration emanates from his own tumultuous relationship with the world as well as daily frustrations towards the self, whilst constantly aiming to improve his work and find a more relatable and universal language. Upon seeing his art, I could sense the melancholic essence behind each piece. He explained that art is not as freeflowing as one would hope, but even though everything stops for a while, one learns and moves on. Drawing on mystical readings, psychoanalysis, and a constant search for truth, he captures and builds himself and, consequently, his art. John Paul’s journey of self-discovery started in the late 1970s in Hackney, London. One day, he saw his father pick up a dirty, distorted, metal ornate shelf, and he wondered what his father was going to do with such a good-for-nothing object.

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His father took it home, refurbished it, and restored it to its former glory. This was a moment of inspiration for the young John Paul. He believed he could start turning discarded material into things of beauty. Later in life, at the age of 27, he met a modern era artist whose work was dark, intense and depressive. He was overcome by emotions which guided him throughout his artistic process. However, he felt that the intensity of the emotions he was experiencing were like a vicious, unhealthy cycle that the maturing John Paul wanted to steer away from. When he felt compelled to depend on these feelings, he wondered what had been fuelling them and realized he should be rationalising them rather than embodying and feeding them. One material which John Paul makes use of is bone. Creating bone art has a meditative element. John Paul ponders as he waits for the glue to dry after patiently sticking one bone to another - creating an aesthetically beautiful piece. He is sensitive towards social issues which surround us and he explores his interpretation of these issues through his art. He constantly searches for and thinks about what his next art piece should convey, paying attention to every detail, and challenging the viewer by applying hidden meanings. Like a jigsaw puzzle, these formulate the bigger picture

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- the greater story. The spectators stop in their tracks to analyse it. When asked about his artistic process, he laughed, saying it’s not always the same. He once got inspired while having a bath, during which he conceived a figure - the ‘Bored Calculator’. From this, he continued to explore the phenomenon of boredom and dissected it to form his own interpretation. John Paul’s art is alternative. All sorts of people buy his work; artists, collectors, tattooists... but he conceded that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Many admit that they had contemplated buying a piece for years before finally purchasing it. He told me he could understand their reservations because some of his particularly bloody and dark pieces may not fit in the more austere and conservative style of the houses they live in. His art is a form of beauty; a means of delving into issues we face on a daily basis. “Art is really about self-discovery,” John Paul mused. He looks at the world, gathering discarded objects, piece by piece. He uses this new material to externalise his ideas and feelings, and see them come to life. His aim is to make us think about and feel for the world around us.


Photographed by Peter Bartolo Parnis

selfdiscovery

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Capturing Bodies in Black & White

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By William Henry Crisp

William converses with analogue photographer Zvezdan Reljic about his way of capturing the raw female figure. Photographed and hand printed by Zvezdan Reljic

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s I broke the crust of the freshly brewed coffee, I waited and observed his collection of books and mismatched furniture decorated with the occasional analogue camera. “Do you smoke?”, asked Zvezdan Reljic. I replied, “No.” You know, impressions grow on you by the minute, overriding your thoughts and emotions. “Oh shit, I need to take out the rubbish!” and he rushed off. Well, let’s say he’s the typical creative; quirky, odd and artistic. A tall and scruffy white male with a distinct Eastern European accent - I sensed his cluelessness and innocence, almost as if he didn’t know how great his work is. I was walking around Sliema, trying to find his flat and office space. Let’s just say that it was nowhere near that stereotypically luxurious New York or Los Angeles creative studio, hinting at his humble beginnings. The smell of film created an aura in my mind, infiltrating my creativity. Akin to that film and the satisfaction of the twists and turns involved in developing film, I was eager to explore his life in the following few hours. Behind the camera is an eye, a thought and a

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perspective that is unique to that of the beholder. In layman’s terms, 35mm film is a metal canister, filled with glimpses of joy and experiences in visual form. With a limited knowledge of the 35mm analogue film world, nude photography is seen as some sort of pornographic sexual image, which is there for the promiscuous to enjoy the experience. ‘Nudity’, which is derived from the Latin word ‘Nudus’, denotes something in a bare form; thus it implies only the removal of a cover or mask. Originally a street photographer, Mr Reljic never thought that he would end up shooting the human body. Through his portraits and nude photography, he aims at displaying a dateless and cultureless image for the human eye to admire. As his subjects strip down, one button at a time to their bare skin, his timeless photography doesn’t seek perfection but seeks to capture the relatability of the imperfect bodies and their soft lines. Nudity is not explicit, we’ve made it explicit. “We are all the same, man and woman”, he says, as he defends his beautiful black and white images from society’s harsh critique. “I grew up


in a different culture, you see,� said Relijc, as he described his childhood stories of skinny dipping in icy lakes and rivers in his Czechoslovak life. Mostly raised by a female figure in his youth and being naked around family members, nudity was deemed normal in Czechoslovakia. Cigarette after cigarette, puff after puff, he described that his eye for photography came about during his teenage years. Always yearning for the camera, and a graduate of the Graphic Art school in Belgrade, Zvezdan continuously sought the camera as a mode of expression and exploration of his third perspective. Moving to Malta, his work in advertising and the magazine world, and the start of his own publishing venture has led to a movement in his work; the bare female figure. As a young father at 20, his passion for the art of photography flourished. Starting off as a street photographer in Belgrade, his curiosity about the human element drove him to success.

Behind the camera is an eye, a thought and a perspective that is unique to that of the beholder. 47


His work mainly deals with the female figure, which he explains is conceived by his deeper knowledge of the female body - having been mostly brought up by strong women. Through his imagery, far from trying to achieve perfection, he aims at displaying the lines and curvatures of the human body which enable an appreciation of nature’s natural, raw element. Furthermore, his photographic endeavour also aims at showcasing a genderless body, never displaying the so-called “feminine features”. He has also delved into male nude photography. However, he felt that his perception of the male body was an extension of his portrayal of the female, and thus focused solely on the feminine form.

I was curious to explore how he gets young women to strip for the camera. He exclaimed that most are his friends, who pose for free. In fact, he pointed out that his colleagues are continuously jealous of the fact that he doesn’t pay his models. When dealing with the Maltese context, he feels like people think he is “breaking a taboo”; however, he disagrees. One prominent incident that he brought up was when he was commissioned to produce a work for a breast cancer awareness campaign. He provided an image which was to be auctioned, where the female’s breasts were showing. They later embraced the work despite it being perceived as controversial by the local eye.

“What we shoot is our attempt at trying to catch a feeling, we shoot with our curiosity,” concluded Reljic.

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You are the artist. Pulp Riot is the paint. This mix by @alexisbutteryloft & @hairgod_zito Imported and distributed by Cortex Ltd. For trade enquires contact us on info@cortexltd.com or 99472152


By Lindsey Muscat

The Minimalist. Julia Farrugia gives Lindsey a personal introduction to her raw minimalist lifestyle; from the clothes she wears and the food she eats, to the way she decorates her home and upcycles her rubbish.

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riving through the small village roads of Żebbug felt like a blast from the past. As we made our way to our meeting point with Julia, we could not help but notice the authentic Maltese livelihood that filled the alleys of the village. I’ll be the first to admit, while I stood in awe at the beauty of Żebbug, I couldn’t picture myself living there on a quotidian level - seeing its seclusion and jadedness. As we waited for Julia, we observed the lifestyle that dragged on around us, men drinking in traditional band clubs, women carrying their shopping in wicker baskets...The village almost felt like it was stuck in a time warp - perpetuating the traditional Maltese culture we so often yearn for but never bother experiencing. At that point, having never met Julia, I began to create all sorts of semblances of her in my mind. I thought: the woman doesn’t use shampoo or conditioner, she is not big on material items, and she lives in this small, bygone village... I expected a frail woman with short, oily hair to walk up to

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me; carrying a sack of some sort. The first thing my encounter with Julia taught me was - before you assume, try asking. When Julia came to greet us, she looked nothing like I had envisioned. She carried her long, sleek hair in a ponytail, she wore a vintage jumper and clean cut trousers, finished off with knee-high boots. She looked like your typical girl next door. She did not stand out one bit. We made our way to Julia’s residence which had previously been her father’s childhood home. She had moved into the house 20 days before and was in the process of renovating the whole space. Walking into the house, I stumbled over the boxes that filled the corridor - construction tools laid the pathway to the hallway, crates full of memoirs and old records lined the floor. We were welcomed into the main area - three rooms which Julia had cleaned up to make liveable. A red beanbag layed on the floor beside an old, broken down box-TV. As Julia kicked off her shoes and slipped into her house slippers, she shared her plans to


develop the TV into a mini bar. In the meantime, I looked at the photos that hung on the wall. It was interesting to see, she had not yet settled in but specific memorabilia had already been laid out for show. Her appreciation of emotive triggers soon became apparent to me. Julia quickly opened up about her grandfather’s tactics with the house she now inhabited, as she brewed some coffee. Every nook and cranny around the house featured a quick-fix her grandfather engineered to cover up everything that went wrong with the house over the years - be it superficial fixtures or quick plaster work. The house needed a lot of work, Julia recapitulated, all of which her father and her would be handling together.

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In fact, what I gathered from talking to Julia is a taste of her closed kinned relationship with her family and the influence this has on her current lifestyle. Julia described her parents as being a duo of hoarders, who, she felt she needed to hide her trash from for fear they would dig up something and find a method of repurposing it. As she cringed at the flashback of her childhood, I made a connection to something she had said earlier about converting the old TV in her living room into a mini bar. In fact, as I looked around her living room, I saw shoes perched on an aged skateboard and whiskey bottles standing in as bookends. Her experiences as a child had carried well into her adulthood, unknowingly to her.

...article continues on

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By Carla Zahra

Becoming Me, Becoming You

Local textile designer Sef Farruġia talks about the expression of the raw individual self through fashion.

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e live in a world full of possibilities. Children love dressing up, experimenting with different costumes to become princesses and superheroes for a day, but for many, this spark dwindles as the years go by. Growing up, people always told you that you could be whoever you wanted to be, but when did choosing to be yourself stop being enough? It’s a constant paradox; we strive to become more whilst wanting to be enough. We breathe in images. We curate our own world, our own self. This is a visual century, and fashion is possibly the tool of choice for those in search of an audience. Our relationship with our clothes varies from one individual to the next, but it is there whether we choose to accept it or not. The choices we make in our clothes reflect who we are - they are our presentation of the self to the world and a powerful channel for communicating the message we want to shout out.

The dominance of the image in society can prove hard to live up to. Social media platforms provide an influx of images, often distorting our reality and creating a fixed set of ideals which appear to translate into beauty, fashion or style. But the image can simultaneously be a power-tool to combat the world. Beneath the glamourous layers of fashion lies a connection to our clothing which can make us feel so much more than just beautiful. As Diana Vreeland, former editor-in-chief at Vogue, once said, “Fashion must be the most intoxicating release from the banality of the world.” I spoke to Sef Farrugia, textile designer and illustrator, who is currently in the process of opening her studio-meets-shop space in Rabat, and launching her own website. Sef is inevitably stylish, and her prints have a lot to offer to any room, as she makes apparent through her Facebook and Instagram feeds. Being a textile designer, Sef specialises in machine knitting - although

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Photographed by Sef FarruÄĄia

her current work is based mainly on print, as showcased in her current collection of luxury scarves. Having followed her love for the arts and design throughout her education both in Malta and the U.K., where she interned for designers such as Giles Deacon, Sef returned to Malta where she launched her self-titled brand, Sef Farrugia. Her designs are a reflection of her own personal image and her surroundings. “Naturally, we absorb everything that is around us and so, automatically, we take in what is around us and reflect it in our work. Having said that, different people express this in many different ways, which is the beauty of it all. We could come from the same country, have the same influences, but express them in totally different ways,� says Sef. In a society driven by the visual, it is so easy to get lost in the pool of contradictory messages surrounding you, without ever noticing. There looms the possibility of never having known yourself at all, never having had the time to interpret yourself. It takes a certain amount of confidence to

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stand out from the crowd and become your own person. “Fashion should be an expression of your individuality”, Sef explained. “Having said that, it could be whatever you want it to be.” Sef’s designs are inspired by different things, “from music to architecture, to photography and cultures... anything”. She states that inspiration doesn’t occur in a single moment but one has to constantly work for it. “However, there are rare moments, when it does”, she adds. Once inspiration hits, Sef is able to transfer her ideas into illustrations which are then printed onto fabric, proceeding to sew handmade accessories and clothing for her collections. Individual identification is still not easy to come by. “My work very much revolves around identity. Something that in 2018, we are still extremely afraid to talk about nationally.” Perhaps it’s time to open ourselves up to discussion, to make a change not limited by a lapse of our imagination.

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V O I D

A visual exploration of the raw balance between purity and imperfection, presence and absence.

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F I N D I N G I N

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T H E

L I G H T S H A D O W S


By Lindsey Muscat

Lindsey has a raw conversation with Krista Tabone, director of Victim Support Malta (VSM), on the epidemic that is abuse.

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rotest signs rose, crowds roared, household names wore black and victims stepped out of the shadows. Seven months ago, Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations and just like that, the Me Too movement was born. A two-word, five-letter phrase put sexual harassment and abuse on the agenda in a matter of days. In fact, within a week, the hashtag had already been tweeted over 1.7 million times. The Me Too movement reiterates the out-turn a single individual can have on the entirety of society, the shift a brave confession can trigger within a nation‌

The whirlwinds of harassment and abuse are hard to keep track of, as most cases go unreported due to emotions of fear and shame experienced by their victims. In 2017 alone, 1,257 reports of domestic abuse were reported nationally, making domestic violence the third most reported crime in Malta. Just like Alyssa Milano and the Me Too Movement, Victim Support Malta seeks to provide assistance and support to people who have fallen victim to the claws of abuse (amongst other crimes, such as; fraud, thievery, or violence). Sitting down in the VSM office, my eyes met the numerous rough drawings and thank you cards that hung on the office cork

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board. The blue couch and cosy premises exhaled an aura of comfort and security. As I sat back in the comfort of my seat, waiting for Krista to see me in, I could not help but empathise with the refugees that had sat in the same spot just days before. The thought snapped me back into reality and the air soon grew heavier, as it took on a more serious tone. Upon meeting Krista, she thwarted my misconceptions about the word ‘abuse’. “We usually refer to single occurrences as attacks. Generally we would define abuse when one party exerts some form of power and control over another. This could be done verbally, psychologically, physically, financially or sexually. If there’s a relationship in which you are engaging or avoiding behaviour because you are scared of the consequences which will be inflicted on you - it has hints of abuse, at the very least.” Krista made it clear that no one is safe from the dark beast that is abuse. While statistics have shown that 84% of abuse cases reported last year involved female victims - no one is immune to its threat. For example, abuse can affect children and seniors who are physically unable to fight off perpetrators as well as strong adults - be it male or female. Ms. Tabone emphasised that a common stereotype also correlates abuse to people who pertain to lower stratums in society. She debunked this myth, stressing that abuse is reported on a daily basis by people from all backgrounds and social standings. On that note, anyone can be a perpetrator, both knowingly or unknowingly. In fact, some cases see adults who are subjected to abuse by minors. Victims of abuse tend to foster a recurring case of self-blame. They blame themselves for falling in love or engaging with the wrong people, they take it onto themselves to fix their ‘own mess’, and

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they may even go as far as doubting their own sanity. Krista deemed this behaviour to be the result of Gaslighting - a method adopted by perpetrators to make their victims warrant their situation. The abuser will start off by nipping at their victim’s self-esteem, disconnecting them from everything they once took for granted. In moments of crisis, when the victim might be tempted to exit the destructive relationship, the abuser will put the victim’s sanity into question, causing their sufferer to justify their situation and therefore stick around. Abuse may cause its victim to feel helpless and lost - but there is always a way out. While there are several services victims of abuse can access, there are also many rights which are typically unknown to them. An abuse report can serve to advance a request for a separation or divorce should the abuse be submitted by a spouse. Alternatively, filing a report entitles a victim to a protection order which limits the abuser’s access to the victim - this ensures the defendant is a ways away from danger. So, what can someone expect from VSM should they decide to report an abusive situation? Victim Support Malta urges anyone who is experiencing an abusive rapport to make contact with them through their phone number (2122 8333), email (info@victimsupport.org.mt) or Facebook page (@victimsupportmalta). Once contact has been established, the network invites the victim to its quarters for an evaluation appointment. During the initial meeting, VSM assesses the situation at hand, as well as the individual’s state of being, and offers free counselling and psychotherapy sessions accordingly. Be it through court standings or emotive trauma, VSM follows each case thoroughly until the victim has regained their sense of freedom and independence.

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Krista finished our encounter with a few experienced words of hope and wisdom, “it gets better. I know it seems really desolate and you’ve been convinced that there is no sunshine in life, but this is not the case! It takes a lot of time, but you’ll get stronger. There is a lot of help available - you’ll eventually build up a network of people who you will learn to trust. People who have come out of abuse are now able to live a happy and independent life, so the hope exists. You’ll get there eventually!” Whereas for me? My parting words to anyone reading this who has suffered from any type of abuse are: me too.

If you are ever fearful of your own or a significant other’s safety, we urge you to report the crime to:

Victim Support Malta

Apoġġ

We ask you to be understanding and kind to victims of abuse - you could be their one shot at a better future.

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MORE

THAN AN INJURY In keeping with the spirit of RAW, Nicky set off to learn about the practitioner-client relationship through the perspective of a health profession that people might not know much about – physiotherapy.

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By Nicholas Gambin

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here are multiple practices and professions that fall under the health services field, but most of them involve one important common factor; interaction between people. One area where this can be clearly seen is physiotherapy, which is an “approach with multiple forms of treatment, where the idea is to improve a person’s function and mobility, and to get them back to the life they want to be leading.” This is the definition that Edward de Gabriele gave me. Ed is currently a second-year physiotherapy student at the University of Malta, and the current president of Malta Health Students’ Association (MHSA). When I asked Ed about how the actual process of physiotherapy begins, he mentioned two distinct ways; through the patient themselves or through a referral. When people identify a particular area of pain, they either go straight to a physiotherapy or to their general practitioner. In the latter care, a GP might be able to make the diagnosis themselves, but will then give the patient a referral letter for a physiotherapist if they see that they aren’t the right person to treat the injury. Physiotherapists also speak to people before and after operations about factors such as dealing with their wounds and mobility. One of the most important aspects of physiotherapy that Ed really highlighted is that “you don’t just treat an injury – you treat a person”. He mentioned the biopsychosocial model, which looks at health problems as a complex interaction between biological factors (ex. genetics), psychological factors (ex. personality), and social factors (ex. culture). This concept

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tries to instil the idea that a patient is not just another number or body. “Every person is going to handle their injury differently, and if you just treat them as an injury, the chances are that they will be less likely to cooperate and put 110% into their rehabilitation.” From the start of the journey, it is very important for a physiotherapist to ensure that a patient will commit to their rehabilitation. No matter how long the recovery process is estimated to be, a physiotherapist will want to maximise the chance that a patient will stay motivated and not give up. In fact, Ed argued that “at the end of the day, you can be the best physiotherapist in the world in terms of your treatment methods or techniques, but if your patient isn’t motivated and they don’t care, all that will go out the window and will be for nothing.” Of course, making sure that a patient is motivated is easier said than done. A very important technique is goal-setting. Ed elaborated that it’s not just a matter of setting goals at the start and end points of the process, but goals should be set from one session to the next. In this way, a physiotherapist will be able to check the progress of the patient’s recovery, and adapt the goals to suit their rehabilitation. In addition to this, it’s important to show the patient concrete evidence, like data. “If they see that there is improvement, that will keep them motivated. If you don’t do that and just tell them that they are improving but you have nothing to show for it, there’s going to be a much bigger chance that they will become demotivated.”


You don’t just treat an injuryYou treat a person

A physiotherapist also needs to establish a level of trust with their patient. How easy it is to create this trust ultimately depends on the patient’s faith in the profession. When dealing with sceptics, Ed emphasised once again the importance of having goals and evidence to back up any observations. Furthermore, to get a patient to trust their physiotherapist, they need to show them that they are on their side and want the patient to recover. When you’re treating a person and seeing them regularly for a specific period of time, a physiotherapist does end up forming a relationship with the patient. A session will be more difficult if the two people involved just sit in silence for the whole time, which is why a good relationship and good rapport is important. Ultimately, one of the best things a physiotherapist can do is simple – just get to know the patient in front of them. “We’re treating the person, but you cannot treat a person that you don’t understand. If you understand the person, they’re going to feel like it’s less of a burden to go to a physiotherapist.” This idea that “the patient and the physiotherapist have the same goal – to do what’s best for the patient,” is what Ed emphasised to be the key to understanding what physiotherapy is all about. “Seeing someone walk in, maybe worried or scared that their life is going to change, and seeing them improve and be really excited about that improvement,” is what he describes as one of the gifts of the profession.

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By Sandie von Brockdorff

A Millennial Traveller’s Dream Sandie managed to get in touch with Catarina da Silva and Asmir Fetahovic to ask them a few questions about their raw travels before making their way to Colombia.

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C

atarina da Silva emigrated from her hometown in Portugal to Switzerland in 2012. Two years later, she met Asmir Fetahovic; a Swiss man who moved in with her friends. A year later, the two fell in love and began their adventures together. On the 4th of July 2017, they sold most of their belongings and began globetrotting. They’ve already visited most of Southeast Asia, Macau, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico and Jamaica.

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What made you decide to travel?

What has been your most exciting moment?

A/ We had a great life in Switzerland and we decided to travel before settling down to start a family. The decision to quit everything and pursue our passion was very quick. My dream has always been to travel without a plan and to stay in a place or country for as long as we desire, or until our visas expire. Actually, we’re living our dream. C/ Since I was a little girl, my dream was never to have a white dress and get married or to live my life in the same city, with the same office job and with the same people surrounding me. I was always very curious about new and different things and I was never afraid of the unknown. I believe that the most precious thing that a human being can have is freedom. Being able to live a period of my life without an alarm clock or any other obligations that society imposes on me was my first goal. The second goal was to absorb all the new things that this world could give me. New cultures, new languages, new landscapes, new tastes, new smells - to learn and enjoy life, and reinvent myself everyday.

A/ There are a lot of exciting moments connected to every country. One special experience took place in a small city called Lampang in Thailand, where we met a monk and he invited us to his temple. We spent two great days with him and learned a lot about Buddhism, its culture and history. C/ The best thing about travelling is that because you see and feel so many different things everyday, at the end of your travels, you can’t choose just one most exciting moment. It is always very exciting when you arrive in a new country. Sometimes you have to change the way you dress, the language you use, or the way you interact with people. I really like that moment when you realise everything is going to be new again.

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What is the most beautiful thing you’ve witnessed? A/ One thing that I will never forget

is swimming at night with fluorescent plankton in Halong Bay. I encounter many


small beautiful things everyday, so it’s hard to decide which has been the most beautiful thing up until now. C/ I am certain that the most beautiful thing about travelling is breaking stereotypes. I realised that people are pretty much all the same everywhere in the world. They say that the Chinese are shy and not very polite, but we met so many friendly and hospitable Chinese people, with a good sense of humour too! They invited us into their houses so many times and were so proud to show us their country. It is said that Muslim women live with a lot of restrictions and are not respected, yet we visited Jogjakarta, a beautiful city where more than 80% of the University students are women. They took so many pictures with us and we were even interviewed. A lot of them shook Asmir’s hand and some of them even kissed me on the cheeks. They were all intelligent and independent women, and I was so proud to witness that. Another beautiful moment was in Sri Lanka, when we were in the bus (as usual, it was very full) and, as a mother got on with her two little children, I asked if she wanted to sit the kids in my place. She couldn’t speak English but she understood me and just handed me her little girl. I held her the whole ride until she fell asleep on my lap, whilst her mother was just smiling. Her smile warmed my heart.

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Did you ever feel in danger? A/ Fortunately, not really. We had some

crazy rides - but that’s part of travelling. C/ Bad things can happen everywhere but fortunately, up until now, I have never experienced any danger. Having common sense and respecting the rules and beliefs of every country helps a lot. In some countries, crime is higher than others and

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you have to be more careful with your things, depending on the area you are in. In general, there are always more good people than bad, so I try not to think about it too much and just trust my instincts.

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What was the biggest culture shock you experienced? A/ Definitely the first day of travelling!

We left Switzerland and arrived in Beijing. From the first moment, I missed the fresh air. It was chaotic, hot and loud like all other Asians cities, but we acclimated to the changes very fast. C/ I think the biggest culture shocks were in China and in Sri Lanka. Since China is a communist country and almost no one speaks English or ever went abroad, their mentality is very different from ours. They don’t use Google or Facebook and some Hollywood movies are even forbidden. Social status means everything to them; you are nobody without a good job, a house and a car. Men still pay a huge sum to a woman’s parents to get married to their daughter, and work always come first. They saw us as ‘aliens’ and always wanted to take pictures with us. Sometimes they’d ask, sometimes they wouldn’t. Although they live a very strict life, they laugh at everything, even

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things that you would never understand. Spitting on the floor and jostling in a crowd are normal things which you get used to. Maintain a good sense of humour and you will have a wonderful time in China, like we did! In Sri Lanka, I experienced a greater culture shock, as a woman. I felt that men still have a very old school mentality about women there and it was difficult for me to interact with locals, since almost no woman could speak English.

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What was it like travelling with someone for so long? A/ I never had doubts about travelling with my girlfriend, who is also the best travel buddy ever! I never feel lonely and can share all the great moments with someone that I love. I would say it made our relationship stronger. C/ It always depends on what kind of relationship you have. A lot of people prefer to travel alone, some with their best friends and a few with their partners. The key is to complement each other. Fortunately, we have a very solid friendship and very similar personalities, it couldn’t be easier. It’s great to share so many beautiful moments with someone you love. It’s also good to have the confidence to disagree with something and find solutions together.


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How have you funded your travels so far?

What was the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

C/ We sold almost everything… some

A/ Don’t judge or hold onto any

personal belongings and the car. We quit our jobs and sold our lovely flat. We saved as much as we could and we travel as cheap as possible. Up until now, we haven’t worked. It’s a possibility but not an obligation for us, since we saved up. We try to avoid flights, and travel more by bus and train, and we always stay in hostels or couchsurf. We eat street food or buy food and cook it at the hostel. For activities, we found that it’s better if you find some other travellers who want to do the same, as it’s easier to get a lower price as a group.

stereotypes before you visit the country and get a taste of the culture. It’s not money that makes you happy. C/ Nothing is more valuable than family and humility, and poverty is not synonymous with crime and unhappiness.

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What are your plans for the future? Do you have plans to settle down in one country anytime soon? A/ There has never been a plan to settle down somewhere. I think that after our money is spent, we’re going to fly back to Switzerland and start our future from the beginning. C/ I fell in love with Switzerland, although the first two years living there were a little bit difficult. All my family and friends were in Portugal where the mentality is very different. I always wanted to start a family and I think Switzerland is the perfect place for that. But we still have a good budget and I intend to enjoy this wonderful experience a little bit longer.

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What advice would you give to anyone who wants to travel longterm? A/ Travel slow and try to spend as much time as possible with the locals, they have the best advice. C/ Don’t be afraid! If you really want to do it, just start to save some money and then go. You will hear a lot of different opinions and some of them won’t be positive. Just make the first step and don’t be negative, travelling is not as expensive as people think, it just depends on budgeting. Trust your instincts and take the risk, it’s absolutely worth it. You will spend a lot more years of your life working than just having fun, so don’t feel bad if you decide to just enjoy life without any responsibilities for a few months or years. You will learn so many things and you will start to see things from a different perspective. You will also cherish the things that you have back home more and get more excited about the small things.

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A Chance for Life

Giving...

Nicky sat down with Mr James Muscat, the president of The Transplant Support Group, to discuss his raw experience of being the first unrelated kidney donor in Malta.

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ithin the European Union, Malta is the second most popular country to consent to organ donation. However, although 95% of the Maltese population actually agrees with it, not as many people are registered as donors. James Muscat, 57, first got involved in the voluntary philanthropic organisation known as The Transplant Support Group in 2004. He joined the committee as vice-president just a few weeks after his experience as a living donor. After holding that position for 13 years, he was then asked to take over the role from the president at the time, the late Alfred DeBattista, due to the fact that his health was deteriorating. James donated his left kidney to his late brother-in-law David on 25th February 2004. “I’m normally very lousy with dates, but this particular one is embedded in my brain,” he remarked. However, James’ transplant journey began back in 2002, during one of his hospital visits to see him. David, who was married to James’ sister, was hooked up to a dialysis machine at the time, which was helping his kidneys function as well as keeping him alive. “When I realised how terrible kidney

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disease can be, I said to myself that I’d see what I can do to help him out”. Without knowing much about what he was going into, he decided to take the chance and begin looking into organ donation. This included an important discussion with his family and parents, as he said that if anyone had any major concerns, he would have cancelled the process. Luckily enough, they approved of his decisions, and after several visits with his consultant, he was told that he could inform David about his wish to be his donor. Another date that will forever remain in James’ memory is December 2002. “I remember I went to visit David and I told him ‘I brought you a gift’. He said ‘Where is it?’ I told him, ‘No, this isn’t a boxed-present, so to speak’. He said ‘What did you bring me? You’re always bringing gifts. So I told him, ‘I would like to give you a kidney, to help you out’.” James added that this was a very emotional moment – not only for David and himself, but also for his sister and the rest of their family. Aside from the emotional aspect, this transplant was also a very important milestone within the field of organ donation. James was the first unrelated kidney donor in Malta, and because living donors were


By Nicholas Gambin

extremely uncommon at the time, he remembered that it had caused a bit of a stir. Initially, he wanted to keep the story out of the public eye, but the media got to know about it and he was then interviewed. However, he added that “the interview happened on condition that my story would create more awareness”, and shared with me that there has been a remarkable increase in both living and deceased registered donors since then. James explained that he felt honoured that something living within him was actually transferred to somebody else. He also added that when David passed away, a little part of James – specifically his left kidney – was buried with him. “It was a loss, but the fact that I knew that David survived a good number of years and that the transplant helped to improve his quality of life, still made me feel good.” In fact, his consultant had actually told James that if it hadn’t been for the transplant, David would not have survived at all. 14 years later, James still carries this good feeling with him. He described to me

what happened right after the operation. “The first person who came to see me was my youngest son Malcolm. He was 16 at the time, and I remember telling him what a wonderful feeling I had. This was just a couple of hours after the operation, and I wasn’t yet in my full senses. But the element of satisfaction was already there.” When I asked James to sum up his experience of being an organ donor, here is what he had to say: “It is a big act of altruism, if I may say so, and I think I am speaking on behalf of all living donors. Nobody ever regrets going ahead with the transplant. It is something unique, and it’s the greatest gift anybody can give during their lifetime. It is something very very altruistic. It has to be done with no concerns at all. Otherwise, I think the ultimate result would not be the same. The element of satisfaction that one feels after being a donor is something which cannot be explained verbally. It’s something which is deep within us, and I think it is an experience which only living donors can truly appreciate.”

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By Samwel Farrugia

Receiving...

Samwel speaks to Mr Joe Bonello, heart transplant receiver and secretary of the Transplant Support Committee, about the raw miracle of organ donation.

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indness and altruism are viewed by many to be amongst the most basic of human emotions. Acts of kindness - from a child dedicating their life to helping their parents, to firefighters rescuing people from life-threatening situations, or even to saving the lives of animals - warm the hearts of all those who watch. Organ transplants are one facet of human kindness; a very important and life-saving one which literally involves a person giving his own

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body to someone else. A single organ donor can save up to eight lives and anyone over 16 can register to become an organ donor, which means that this altruistic act is available to most of the country. I met up with Mr Joe Bonello to discuss all organ donation, and what it means to be on the receiving end of organ transplants at his welcoming home in Santa Lucia. As I walk into the living room I am struck by the amount of pictures he has of his relatives, which basically covers his


living room table and glass cabinet. With the sounds of birds chirping in a quiet, idyllic background, Joe starts his story by telling me what he currently does. He is a secretary of the Transplant Support committee, as well as a councillor in the Santa Lucija council. However, most importantly, he is known as the first Maltese person to have had a heart transplant in Malta, by a Maltese medical crew at St. Luke’s hospital. When asked to recall what it was like to go through the operation, Joe admits that he had no idea what he was going in for. He believed until late that night that the doctors had found something wrong following a routine check-up, as they asked him to spend the night in the hospital. Back then Joe had suffered from a major heart infarct - a small area of dead tissue caused by a failure of blood supply - on October of 1987, which at 50 years of age, turned his world upside-down. “Honestly I did not know or hear of any transplant before the day… in the evening when I was supposed to go back home, the doctor told me ‘I’m sorry but you can’t go home’. I said ‘uh-oh, something’s wrong’.” What Joe was heading in for was the seven-hour operation which would transform his life. The heart was that of a 17-year-old boy, who had died in a motorbike accident in Gozo and happened to be of the same blood type as Joe. Asked what he felt as he went through the process, Joe tells me that for the most part he was happy. Happy that he would no longer be in pain because of the infarct. “I can say I was born again. I always say I have a second birthday on the 25th of September”. However, he also expressed concern for the relatives of the patient, as it is an awkward situation to be in as a parent. I also touched upon his experiences since then, as a secretary for the committee,

and he remarks that people sign up because of different types of altruism. If someone wants to sign up to become an organ donor, the process is extremely simple. They can either obtain and fill a form from Mater Dei or polyclinics and fill up one found on the organ donation government website. Joe also clears up some misconceptions which discourage people from becoming organ donors. “Some of them say they are afraid that their organs would be taken from them before they were dead. But I can guarantee that they will really be dead when the act of donation happens.” The body of the deceased is checked by three different specialists at the time of death, to certify that they are truly deceased. Other reasons include a change of religion as well as change of heart. As Joe reminisces about the operation, which took place in September, 22 years ago, he tells me that the heart infarct did in fact have a silver lining. While waiting on the St Luke’s Hospital bed during his biopsies, he met with the late Alfred Debattista, who would eventually become the third Maltese heart receiver. Happening to be on beds next to each other, they came to a decision that afterwards, they would start a transplant group to help others in a similar situation. Alfred Debattista, who passed away last year, went on to become president of the support group and raise major awareness about organ donation up until his death at 80 years of age. Joe Bonello expresses that he is an organ donor himself, and had donated blood before his heart transplant. He can’t donate his heart, but he can give the rest. “If my other organs are good, why not?” As the interview came to a close, Joe told me that he holds organ donation sacred, as it is the greatest gift one can give to another person and he calls that gift, the gift of life.

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