Sunday Circle (September 2017)

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SEPTEMBER 2017 – ISSUE NO. 272

ENVIRONMENT IN CRISIS pag a e 64 ag

NEW HOPE FOR SUFFERERS OF AUTISM pag a e 30 ag

CHANEL CHIC pag a e 36 ag

ANDRE AGIUS

Bringing in new blood / page 10


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CONTENTS COVER STORY 10

NEW BLOOD At 23 years of age, his acting repertoire has already seen him graduating from one of Malta’s upand-coming actors to director. André Agius tells Iggy Fenech about the importance of having new blood in theatre as he gets ready to direct his first-ever play for the MADC.

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GENDER ISSUES 18

THE FACES OF A 100 WOMEN Each face tells a different story. Created by Network of Young Women Leaders co-founder Martina Caruana and photographer Steven Levi-Vella, Artemisia is a project that celebrates women from all walks of life. Ramona Depares finds out more.

de Parfum, the world’s foremost house of fashion is en fête. Ramona Depares attends the spectacular launch of the perfume in Greece. A PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE Italian fashion designer Renato Balestra, known for his show-stopping creations, was recently in Malta to present his summer collection during a fashion show organised by the Chamber of Fashion Malta. He shares some of his thoughts with Anna Marie Galea.

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FOOD 48

THE GREENS MEDITERRANEAN DIET Freshlybaked bread, top quality cold cuts and cheeses and the best pastries and cakes! Read all about the Bread and Deli counters at Greens Supermarket!

research project, and the Malta Society of Arts is right at the helm. Iggy Fenech meets Roderick Camilleri, the artistic director behind this exciting initiative.

H E R I TA G E

PEOPLE ARTS 26

THE JOURNEY OF AN AUTHOR Iggy Fenech sits down with bibliophile, lawyer and author Robert Thake to discover how his latest book has taken him from some of the oldest libraries of Europe to a book fair in New York and beyond.

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MALTA WILL BE AMUSED For the first time ever, Malta is set to be the lead partner in an EU-funded creative

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H E A LT H 30

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AN EXERCISE IN EMPATHY A Virtual Reality experience helps users understand what a child who suffers from autism feels, what he’s thinking and see why some elements annoy him more than others. Johnathan Cilia discover how it works. LACK OF FAITH AND OVERCOMING YOUR FEARS Dentist Jean Paul Demajo brings us the latest news from the world of dentistry.

STYLE AND HISTORY COMBINED From the għonnella to Charles & Ron’s most edgy creations, Maltese fashion through the years tells a chequered story, a story that was retold beautifully through The Vocabulary of Maltese Style exhibition.

ENVIRONMENT 64

THE CRISIS HITS With questionable development permits being the order of the day, never have our islands faced such environmental challenges. Architect and Flimkien Għall-Ambjent spokesperson Tara tells Johnathan Cilia that the sharp growth in construction and the systematic weakening of planning policies that Malta is experiencing, are far from being a sustainable model.

REGULARS STYLE 36

A CLASSIC TURNED REBEL It’s been 15 years since Chanel gave the world a new perfume and, now the time has come to unveil Gabrielle Eau

THIS PUBLICATION IS BEING DISTRIBUTED AS PART OF:

05 A word from the editor 06 c Body 08 c Style 40 c Living 71 Paparazzi

Send your letters to: Ramona Depares, executive editor, Sunday Circle, Allied Newspapers Ltd, 341, Strickland House, St Paul Street, Valletta, VLT 1211, or email: ramona.depares@timesofmalta.com. The executive editor reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and where space is limited. For advertising enquiries email: renee.mdecesare@timesofmalta.com or call: 9947 7193. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, or in part, is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in the Sunday Circle are not necessarily those of the editor-in-chief or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor-in-chief and publisher cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome, but cannot be returned without a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editor-in-chief is not responsible for material submitted for consideration.


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the editor

The dolce far niente that should characterise August was interrupted by a number of tragedies and averted tragedies. The one that really springs to mind, though, is the case of the poor Italian woman found running naked in Paceville. It’s been said and written numerous times by now, but that’s no reason for me not to continue pushing the point home. How shameful that a lot of people chose to clap their hands in glee as they watched (and shared) the video of this woman, who was obviously in a great amount of distress. “Her fault”, the holier-than-thou brigade shouted. She shouldn’t have been on drugs. To be honest, I care very little whether this was the result of drugs (not necessarily voluntarily partaken of) or a mental condition, or whatever. What matters is the shameful way a lot of people reacted to it. Which brings me neatly to Artemisia: 100 Remarkable Women, a gender-focused project that was launched by Martina Caruana, cofounder of the Network for Young Women Leaders and photographer Steven Levi Vella last month. It was an honour for me to be asked to be part of this project, for more reasons than one – the strongest one being the fact the it remains to be acknowledged and acted upon at governmental level that young women face numerous tough realities in today’s world. You can read all about the project – which brings together an exhibition, an art installation, a publication and various other artforms in celebration of the female resilience – in this issue of the magazine. The excerpts of personal experiences recounted by some of the participants, anonymously, are particularly touching. On a more feel-good vibe, this month we also meet one young lady whose charitable work in Bali – from helping children with cerebral palsy learn life skills to co-ordinating health, education and disability programmes – will certainly leave its mark on the life of all those she helps. And, while on the subject of health, do check out the great work that our University professionals are doing for kids with autism. It’s wonderful how technological advances can help out even in this area! On the fashion and beauty front, this summer I was lucky enough to be invited to witness the international launch of Chanel’s newest fragrance, Gabrielle. It’s not everyday that we get a new scent from the iconic House, and this one is pretty amazing. I bring you all the deets from the spectacular launch in the myth-steeped village of Sounion, one hour away from Athens. There more, of course: our cover interview with actor Andre Agius, food, arts, fashion, shopping... you name it, Circle brings it. Hope you continue enjoying the summer in a safe way and please don’t forget! Kindness above all else.

PUBLISHER ALLIED NEWSPAPERS LTD. EXECUTIVE EDITOR Ramona Depares PUBLICATION SALES MANAGER Renée Micallef Decesare DESIGN Joseph Schembri COVER André Agius Photography: Ritty Tacsum EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Johnathan Cilia, Iggy Fenech, Ramona Depares, Anna Maria Galea

PHOTO: STEVEN LEVI VELLA

A WORD FROM


BODY STRONG AND SEDUCTIVE Givenchy draws inspiration from the original Givenchy Gentleman 1970s fragrance to propose a new creation, entirely reinvented for the modern-day gentleman. But what does it mean to be a 21st century gentleman? It signifies living elegantly and being decidedly open to others; expressing a nuanced, subtle version of masculinity, in a seductive mixture of self-assurance and finesse? The gentleman as seen by Givenchy is a free, audacious spirit who doesn’t conform to clichés. A hedonist who never deprives himself – or those around him – of pleasure, and always acts with generosity. An unexpected floral twist, like a gentleman with his own, unique take on elegance. The classic touch of lavender is altered by noble iris, placed at the heart of the fragrance. It brings nobility to the composition, especially when combined with smooth, sweet pear in a rather unlikely addition of tenderness. By contrast, in a subtle nod to the original 1975 release, a patchoulileather accord bursting with character elegantly structures this new woody floral fougère fragrance.

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STYLE THE DK88: THIS SEASON’S IT BAG This season Burberry brings us it’s new It Bag. The DK88 bag is a tribute to the fabric at the heart of Burberry’s history, taking its name from the house’s code for gabardine – what the world-famous Burberry trench coats are made of. The DK88 is available in a variety of new season shades. SARTO St Julians | 2202 1601 | sarto.com.mt

MAGNETICALLY EROTIC Paco Rabanne Pure XS announces the comeback of eroticism – a vibrant, magnetic and fresh oriental with a permanent in-and-out between gentle and intense. The first excess: explosive freshness. The senses go wild and with an overdose of icy ginger followed by the green creaminess of vegetal sap and ultra-masculine thyme. The second excess: smouldering sensuality. Cinnamon adds a piquant touch. A surge of power with deep, noble vanilla infused with leather-liquormusk. Finally, it’s time to let go and sink into the pulsing warmth of myrrh dusted with sugar. Exclusively represented by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd. Tel: 2133 1553.

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SPONTANEOUS AND ENERGETIC CR7 is the new casual, every day fragrance by Cristiano Ronaldo. Sporty, energetic and modern, CR7 is a fragrance for the spontaneous and on-the-go young man who aspires to live life like their idol. Blended with notes of bergamot, cardamom, lavandin, tobacco, cinnamon, sandalwood, musk and vanilla, the fragrance is a contemporary cocktail of bold, daring scents, reflective of Ronaldo’s strong, vibrant character. Cristiano Ronaldo fragrances are exclusively distributed by Chemimart. Tel: 2149 2212.

8 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

CREATE YOUR LOOK WITH HUGO BOSS Mix & match any size and fit of jacket and trousers to create a suit that perfectly matches your body type. Each piece in the collection is available separately in a range of sizes and three fits – regular, slim and extra slim – to be combined to suit different body types. Find your perfect look at BOSS. BOSS Store, St Julian’s. Tel 2202 1001



COVER STORY

New blood AT 23 YEARS OF AGE, HIS ACTING REPERTOIRE HAS ALREADY SEEN HIM GRADUATE FROM ONE OF MALTA’S UP-AND-COMING ACTORS TO DIRECTOR. ANDRÉ AGIUS TELLS IGGY FENECH ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING NEW BLOOD IN THEATRE AS HE GETS READY TO DIRECT HIS FIRST EVER PLAY FOR THE MADC.

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COVER STORY

PHOTOS: RITTY TACSUM

The first time I saw André Agius acting was in the 2015 University of Malta Studentfest, Beauty & the Beast. The main cast of that production was probably the most professional any student festival had seen, particularly as most of them had acted in productions by some of Malta’s biggest theatre groups. Needless to say, standing out on that stage was not easy… But André managed it. Of course, André was no novice to the theatre world at the time, particularly as he had already had a 17-year-long career under his belt that included playing in national and international productions, including at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The English Theatre in Germany, and the Sharjah Heritage Days in Dubai, and was reading for a BA in Theatre Studies. “Funnily enough, my relationship with theatre can be traced back to Timon from The Lion King, a role I portrayed in a pre-grade performance,” André explains. “It was that character that made my mother realise just how comfortable and focused I felt onstage, and it convinced her to sign me up to a reputable drama school, where I went on to spend 15 years as a student and three years as a tutor, including a year as the Teen Company Director.” By the age of nine, André had become one of the youngest actors in MADC’s One-Acts Festival and he was even nominated for a Best Actor Award that year. But it was a small role in The Pillowman – a play

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle

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COVER STORY

directed by Chris Gatt and starring Manuel Cauchi, Alan Paris and Jes Camilleri, among others – that truly pushed André to take theatre more seriously. “During this production – through working with those actors and seeing their acting processes – I realised that acting and theatre-making were not just a hobby. Theatre is a realm of exciting and creative potential that one should aspire to tap into,” he adds. Yet, now, André is getting ready for his next big role in theatre: that of transitioning from actor to director in a play that will see theatre heavyweights Stephen Oliver, Simone Spiteri and Alex Weenink in the lead roles. “Instinct. I blame my instincts,” he jokes when I ask him what possessed him to try something different and go behindthe-scenes. “From a very young age – even at drama school – I always remember being keen on coming up with new ideas, on not conforming to the usual approach, and on relishing the challenge of having a class work together towards a singular goal of performing a piece… “I would often read plays and visualise how they would be staged and performed. I’d try to be as original and innovative as possible while remaining truthful to the text and its context. Then, in 2014, I directed a Teen Company Performance for the drama school I was working for, I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Bradley Hayward. It was then that I realised that this was a field I wanted to experience more of, so I started watching local and international work through a critical lens. I’d ask myself questions like: ‘What would I have done differently?’, ‘How could I have made it more exciting and captivating?’, ‘What did it lack?’ That is what we should be

12 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



COVER STORY

striving for in any field… To create new and exciting things; to build on that which already exists.” It was in that same year that André read Skylight for the first time, and he immediately decided that, when the opportunity arose for him to direct, the 1995 play by socio-political playwright David Hare would be the one he debuted with. Describing it as ‘raw, relevant and human’, André’s love for the play stems from the fact that although it’s been over two decades since it first premiered at the National Theatre in London, it remains relevant to 2017, particularly thanks to the relationship between the two main characters whose psyche is laid bare as the script unfolds. “Written as a reaction to post-Thatcherite Britain, Skylight tells the story of how an unexpected visitor reopens a can of worms that is all about territory, politics and passion which, surprisingly, has many parallels to our current local political situation,” he says. “Yet the play remains grounded as it deals with love, loss and hope and Hare manages to balance all this with some sharp dialogue that shifts between satirical and sensitive.” As with any other director, André is set to give his work that unique and distinguishable touch that sets it apart from other people’s work, and the first step to ensure this was to put together a team of creatives who not only shares his vision but who also expands it. From Thomas Camilleri as the set-designer and decorator to Ritty Tacsum for photography and videography, André has chosen some of Malta’s biggest and brightest to give Skylight a contemporary take that appeals to Maltese theatregoers, be they old or young. “Personally, I see theatre as a medium that retains its entertainment factor while providing a real platform for criticism and challenge. The Maltese theatre scene is, in my opinion, passing through a phase of transition. At times, there is a feeling of indifference towards the subject matter being discussed within our theatres and we must oppose that and seek to be innovative in order to keep this medium relevant and alive, just as it was for civilizations before… After all, the Greeks did not only provide a point of reference on an entertainment level, but utilised 14 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


COVER STORY

theatre to directly investigate and challenge the world and the society they lived in, as well as to understand what being human really meant. “Just like the Greeks, it is this curiousness that the local theatre scene must reinstate and regain – and this needs to stem through the visions of artists who seek to not conform and complement but investigate and explore. It is this search for curiosity, excitement and innovation that needs to be at the heart of our theatres and productions, at this and every stage.” While young, André seems ready for the challenge; and, with just

MADC’s adaptation of David Hare’s Skylight takes place at the Valletta Campus Theatre (ex-MITP) between September

a few days left before the premiere of MADC’s Skylight, this may be the

29 and October 8.

beginning of a promising new career for a theatrical maverick… Will his

www.madc.com.mt

vision succeed? There’s only one way to find out!




GENDER

The faces of a

100 women

EACH FACE TELLS A DIFFERENT STORY, A STORY OF GENDER BIAS IN THE WORK PLACE, GENDER ROLES, STORIES OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ILLNESS, DISABILITY AND MORE... PUT TOGETHER BY NETWORK OF YOUNG WOMEN LEADERS CO-FOUNDER MARTINA CARUANA AND PHOTOGRAPHER STEVEN LEVI-VELLA, ARTEMISIA IS A PROJECT THAT CELEBRATES WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. RAMONA DEPARES FINDS OUT MORE. The heart-breaking story of Artemisia Gentileschi is well-known –

Throughout her career Artemisia painted a variety of strong

an Italian Baroque artist who painted the famous depiction of

mythological women.

Judith and Holofernes. Judith is the first female heroine recorded in

Hardly any wonder, then, that Artemisia is hailed as a beacon

the Bible, while Holofernes is the notoriously sadistic Army General

for feminism even today, that she is viewed as a role model by the

who spent years persecuting Judith’s country people. Judith, who

many women who, even now, continue to encounter daily struggles

wanted to take on Holofernes herself, was discouraged by the male

in life and career in a world still dominated by male influence.

leaders of her country, who thought her to be of the most vulnerable of figures: a widow, gorgeous and most dangerously,

And hardly any wonder, either, that Artemisia was the name chosen for a photographic exhibition recently organised by the

female. Nevertheless, she persisted, entered Holofernes’ camp, and

Network of Young Women Leaders (NYML) to celebrate some of

by her own means, eliminated him, liberating herself and an entire

Malta’s most remarkable women. The project is a group effort by

nation.

the whole NYML team, with NYML co-founder Martina Caruana

This story was brought vividly to life in Artemisia’s painting,

helming and photographer Steven Levi as artistic director. The

but the history of the painting gains more poignancy when one

exhibition showcased 100 Maltese women who have, no matter

remembers that the artist was raped by her tutor Agostino Tassi.

how the odds were stacked against them, succeeded and soared in

Found guilty, Tasse was sentence to a one-year imprisonment term,

their chosen area. Celebrating their innate personality, the

which he didn’t serve. Denied justice, Artemisia sought it in her art.

exhibition presented them at their rawest – some would say at their

Her Judith Slaying Holofernes, a bloody depiction that is widely

most vulnerable, but there’s nothing vulnerable about these

interpreted as an indictment of men, her rapist in general.

women.

We are basically presenting a 100 women which every single girl in Malta and internationally can relate to and be inspired by 18 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


GENDER

Claudette Buttigieg Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker

Martina Caruana Advocate for human rights and violence against women and girls. First Maltese female to secure a contract with the United Nations. Co-founded the Network of Young Women Leaders. Curator, project leader and the brain behind the Artemisia campaign

Naomi Bugre Activist, awarded the Emerging Young Leaders award in Washington DC

Naomi Pace Gasan Activist and active girl guide, aspires to become President

SEPTEMBER 2017 âˆŤ Sunday Circle 19


GENDER

Lara Dimitrijevic Chairperson of the Women’s Rights Foundation, instrumental in the introduction of the morning after pill in Malta

“Like Artemisia, each and every woman featured in our project,

Vladyslava Kravchenko Former gymnast who suffered a spinal cord injury in 2008, paralysing her. Kravchenko went on to make Maltese history in the paralympics

“But, when we contacted them and asked them to share their

has beautifully transformed their pain and/or struggles into art,”

life stories with us, they asked us what had made us pick them.

Martina explains. The chosen women, in fact, include household

Another question was: which hat of the many do you want me to

names – singer Ira Losco, President Marie-Louise Coleiro, MGRM

wear? The mum hat? The entrepreneur hat? The rape survivor hat? It

president Gabi Calleja, television personality Andrea Cassar... But not

was overwhelming to see that our main objective was unfolding

only that. There are also the unsung heroes, the women whose names

brilliantly into what we really wanted it to be,” Martina says.

and faces might not be instantly recognisable, but who are

But of course, there’s more to successful womenhood than

nonetheless women of remarkable strength and talent, each with their

household names. The duo contacted women who have gone

own story of empowerment to tell.”

through gender-based struggles, disability struggles, sexual

Every woman is remarkable in her own right and, despite the project necessarily having to be limited to a 100 women for practical purposes, the idea is to speak to every single woman out there.

orientation struggles...You name it, the project includes a woman representing it. “We have women from all walks of life, all work platforms, all

Martina and Steven mention, among their choices, the women who

backgrounds. We are basically presenting a 100 women to which

are moguls in society’s eyes – the ones whom others may deem to

every single girl in Malta and internationally, can relate to and be

have ‘got it easy’.

inspired by,” Martina continued.

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GENDER

Jeanelle Mifsud Amy Micallef Teenage swimmer who broke 13 national records

There were also the women who were contacted purely based on Steven’s and Martina’s intuition. “A gut feeling told us that, beyond these particular faces which tend to flood or media platforms, there was a bloody, yet empowering, story. And we were proven to be right during the

Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, went on to graduate with a Masters in Terminology and Translation, and secured her dream job at the European Parliament

research as an NGO, and as individuals, we know that when it comes to motivate young women, you must lead by example. Females carry the marks, languages and nuances of their culture more than the male”. Anything that is desired or despised, she continues, is always

course of the execution of this project. That is the most wondrous

placed on the female body – both her and Steven wanted to bring

thing about women: we see each other. We feel each other. We wear

those marks to light – exposing society’s dynamics as well.

our pain on our faces. We know we share similar stories which

“We also wanted to transmit the message that it is human to

connect us. We know, that each and every single one of us, has

struggle. It is not weak to cry and feel and show emotion. No man,

broken every bone of her body and every fibre of her soul to be on

woman or child should be shamed for expressing himself. From my

the throne on which she sits today.”

own experiences, I have learnt to give myself permission to feel and

In Martina’s words, the main message behind the project, is for

experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being

young girls, that “no matter what you did, not matter where you

afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no

come from, no matter what you want, you can make it, because at

matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay. I

least one woman in our campaign has managed. Through our

really hope this principle reaches all of the participants as well.”

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GENDER

I wanted to shoot the real person, not the perception Since its inception five months ago, Network of Young Women Leaders has strived to make women’s stories more visible and to provide alternative role models to our future generations. Martina tells how, the initial intention behind Artemisia was to launch a social media campaign featuring Malta’s female pioneers in all fields, with the hope of making their stories of struggle and power, visible. “Then, I was approached by renowned make-up artist Gabrielle Zammit Grungo, to be one of the 13 female women to be featured in her gender empowerment visual project, Orenda, filmed by artistic director Steven Levi Vella. Intrigued by Steven’s work and with the relevance of my very own idea in mind, we embarked on a collaboration to push forward a 100 female faces, coming from all backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, sexualities and difficulties.” “Artemisia: 100 Remarkable Women stands on the threefold elements of female diversity, leadership and resilience. Together with shooting the women in their most raw state, we also asked them to provide us with their life story, which we would keep confidential. They shared with us stories of pain, bitterness and empowerment, perfectly portraying what we intended them to: what lies beneath

Zarifa Dag Digital artist specialising in modest clothing and Intersectionality Rights Fighter

the successful surface. The aim of all this is not only to make women’s stories more visible, but also to provide accessible and alternative out-of-the-box role models,” Martina tells me.

, The photographer s perspective STEVEN LEVI VELLA, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR THE PROJECT, EXPLAINS HIS APPROACH TO DOCUMENTING THE 100 WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHED. “The idea was to have a stripped down series of photographs, showing the women at their rawest. Simplicity was the key; shooting a 100 women, I found beauty in everyone. Each woman had her story. Some of the women, I knew from before and I already knew which angle I wanted to take with them. Others, I had never met or spoken to. How did they inspire me? What was their image like, in my mind? I found that I needed to go beyond that image and look beyond, finding their innocence and vulnerability. I wanted to shoot the real person, not the perception. This was equally true of those women who are well-known in Malta. Everyone has their own idea of what these women are like. I wanted to turn these perceptions over. This idea of the real person behind the facade was extended to the entire exhibition. When it came to creating the exhibition concept, I decided to include an installation, a box representing the womb. In the box, all the women wear white dresses, representing innocence. Pomegranates are strewn throughout, representing fertility, the seeds being planted for something new. For the launch of the exhibition, women rose up from the box and started hanging up the portraits there, on the spot. Accompanying this symbolic rebirth was singer Rhiannon Micallef, interpreting her version of Andra Day’s now iconic song, Rise Up. The song, with its significant lyrics – added – added an extra level of poignancy to the launch. After the musical interpretation finished, a voice-over shared some of these women’s experiences, as penned by them. The project isn’t over yet. We are planning to shoot a video featuring the portraits and these women’s experience, recreating the installation at a location outside and again featuring a performance of Rise Up.”

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GENDER

A 100 stories While reproducing all the experiences here is impossible, these are excerpts from some of the real life stories that some of the women in the exhibition have shared – anonymously – in order to raise awareness about gender struggles. “At 19 I found out I had an eating disorder. This was what saved me really: I started going to therapy, and found out that I was not only my appearance, that I was enough, that I needn’t always take care of others first. This process lasted many years and is still going on now that I am 27. In the meantime though, I have managed to leave home at 19, find a job, and three years ago move to Malta to open my own company.” “My dear tumour, you inhabited my brain, for six years straight. I was only 13, you came with no mercy. You took away my energy, but never my strength. You took away my hair, but never my beauty. You shook my life, but never my dignity. You pained my parents, but never our bond. I am a woman, I am a survivor.” “In my first draft of this testimonial, I addressed my abuser. I pointed out to him, all the moments of continuous rape, ridicule, harassment and emotional abuse, he put me through. I pointed out to him, how it took me seven years to learn how to love my body again, to

Miriam Dalli Member of the European Parliament for Malta

learn that exposing it was not a deadly sin. I told him that because of what he did to me for two years, I now live with obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.” “Do I want to mention my experiences of domestic violence? I used to hear my mother cry and shout soon after another blow from my drunk father. Thank God for my sisters, at least we could hold hands. Do I want to talk about the time when I was being manipulated by my boyfriend at 17 years of age? He convinced me that I could not be a social worker because I would meet dangerous people and would not work regular hours to take care of my family in the future. With all that has happened, I stand strong. I stand strong for myself, for my mother, and for so many other women who are fighting their own battles. I will continue to fight,

The exhibition, in fact, is but the starting tip of the project and, both Steven and Martina are eager to emphasise that

to be their voice.” “I induced my miscarriage. I committed an abortion. I felt alone, and

while the exhibition has been now closed, the project remains

my secret is unknown to all, but myself. But eventually, I realised that I am

ongoing and is expected to continue by now putting the

not alone. I was not the only woman who self-harmed to save herself.

spotlight on the life stories penned by the women which,

There are women out there who are going through this very difficult

Martina says, speak for themselves.

experience and only we know how we feel. They call us criminals on the

“The gender bias we find on every level of society – work place, media, the court, anywhere – is, in itself worrying. Our archaic laws need revamping, we need more representation, we

media. Politicians portray us as demons. Every time I hear this, I think of 14-year old me, and I want to hug her. I want to tell her that she is not.” “I died last July 2016, when my children, whom I successfully raised

need more awareness on women’s issues – reproductive and

alone for 12 years, were removed from me as a result of the criminal act

sexual health, gender-based crimes, property rights. We need a

of revenge porn. I didn’t see it coming, and spent two months in a daze

change in mentality in general. Why is it that the worst thing

crying myself to sleep in their wardrobe surrounded by their clothes and

you can call a woman is ‘slut’, and the worst thing you can call a

their smells.”

man, is a ‘woman’? Why are people uncomfortable with

“I was sexually abused as a child, something that I could not discuss

sexuality that’s not for male consumption? Things need to

with anyone while it was happening over a whole summer 35 years ago. It

change, and they need to change fast. I believe in movement

wasn’t until 15 years later that I could finally seek therapy for this trauma,

and revolution, and I think that through Network of Young

when I moved away from Malta mostly to escape from my mother’s

Women Leaders, that seed has been planted,” Martina

negativity. This abuse coupled with my mother’s critical voice made me

concludes.

lose touch with my femininity.”

24 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



PEOPLE

PHOTO: MARK ZAMMIT CORDINA

26 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


PEOPLE

The journey of an author IGGY FENECH SITS DOWN WITH BIBLIOPHILE, LAWYER AND AUTHOR ROBERT THAKE TO DISCOVER HOW HIS LATEST BOOK HAS TAKEN HIM FROM SOME OF THE OLDEST LIBRARIES OF EUROPE TO A BOOK FAIR IN NEW YORK AND BEYOND. The first time I met Robert some five years ago, I was struck by how

book I laid eyes on, the clearer it became to me that there was

passionately he spoke about pretty much everything. When I

something very special about it and, after some superficial research, I

mentioned it to mutual friends of ours, he immediately said that he’d

discovered that the book had been banned by the Vatican because of

always thought we’d hit it off, particularly as Robert was an avid

a number of anti-Papist comments found within it.” It was at this point

collector of antique and historically-important books and manuscripts

that Robert’s attention peaked.

on Malta (Melitensia). They weren’t wrong. A lawyer by profession, Robert started collecting books at the

Recounting the eight-year journey the 17th- and 18th-century French historian and clergyman, René-Aubert Vertot’s book took him

age of 20, travelling multiple times a year to bring home some

on – one which culminated in the publishing of his second book A

incredibly special pieces. Among the gems in his collection, for

Publishing History of a Prohibited Best-Seller – Robert starts to

example, is a rare folio edition of the 1556 Statvta Ordinis Domvs

explain why this book fascinated him so much. Vertot, it transpires,

Hospitalis Hiervsalem, which predates the Great Siege by nine years

was a huge celebrity in his day, particularly in the Republic of Letters

and Valletta by 10. This precious tome contains the statutes of the

(Paris), and it was for this reason that the Order of Malta approached

Order following their expulsion from Rhodes and was printed by

him to write their history.

Antonio Blado, the same man responsible for the publication of

This would prove to be a huge mistake for the Order, as not only

Machiavelli’s iconic Il-Principe. Yet, Robert’s eight-year obsession with

did it take Vertot 13 years to complete the manuscript, but the final

one book in particular started before his search went international: it

version, which was supposed to be a flattering history of the Order,

began when he entered the world of auctions here on the Island.

turned out to be a diatribe against the Papacy in the context of the

“At every auction with antique books on sale, there was an

history of the Order of St John. Among the accusations laid at the

edition of Vertot’s Histoire de Malte, the first edition of which was

Papal doorstep were that of promising miracles through indulgences;

published in Paris in 1726,” Robert explains. “The more copies of the

while the Order itself was accused of being possessed by the devil while on crusades. Needless to say, both the Order and the Holy See were not very amused and wasted no time in sentencing Vertot’s book to burn; however, contrary to what they expected, the book was not shunned by the reading public. In fact, the book became a veritable best-seller, and over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, Historie de Malte was reprinted a total of 123 times with editions pouring out of printing presses in France, the Netherlands, England, Spain and Russia. It seems that, much to the Knights’ and the Vatican’s dismay, the public then, like now, enjoyed reading that which it was told not to, with copies of the book being found in the libraries of the notorious French politician Maximilien Robespierre, and Monsignor Alpheran, the Bishop of Malta who condemned the book in the first place! “Vertot’s history of the Order of Malta put the Island on the map during the Enlightenment. In fact, even the compilers of the

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 27


PEOPLE

The New York Bookfair. MEREDITH NIERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY FOR PHOTOS OF NEW YORK

Encyclopédie, one of the most influential publications of the 18th

Grolier and with its HQ on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the Club has,

century, claimed that, had it not been for this book, the people of the

over the years, attracted interest from all those of a bookish

world would not have known about the Island’s history,” Robert

disposition including authors and collectors, as well as the former

explains. “But, from my part, what I was interested in was

President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was elected

understanding why Vertot’s book about the holy Order and its tiny

as honorary member in 1934.

island home had circulated so widely.” The search to discover this took him from the Vatican Secret

“It was an incredible experience, albeit a bit surreal,” Robert adds. “Nevertheless, I felt at home as everyone was very friendly.

Archives, to England, France, Germany and Italy. During his research,

What struck me, however, was the number of people there that had

Robert kept coming across new editions and new information until

already heard of my book and owned it!”

he, after eight years of work, was able to put together a 365-page

A Publishing History of a Prohibited Best-Seller had very clearly struck a chord with many bibliophiles and collectors – particularly as it

book. Robert’s history of Vertot’s prohibited best-seller immediately

is the very first book of its kind to truly analyse the spread of Vertot’s

attracted interest from foreign scholars including Italian professor

Histoire de Malte, a book that was meant to be banned. From Japan

Federico Barbierato, author of the Inquisitor in the Hat Shop, who

to the US, the book is being picked up and it is sparking a new wave

described Robert’s book as ‘a major contribution to the [genre of the]

of interest in Vertot’s undying classic – with Robert receiving requests

history of the book.’ The book was then picked up by one of the

of where collectors can pick up their own copy of a 1726 first edition.

world’s best publishers of books about books, the US publishing

The reception in New York, however, was not Robert’s last with

house Oak Knoll Press, which paid for the rights to publish Robert’s

the Club. In fact, it was followed up by another, this time in London’s

manuscript and invited him to showcase and sign copies of his work

Bedford Square, for the inauguration of the new premises of one of

at the world’s largest and most prestigious book fair, The New York

the world’s longest-established booksellers, Maggs Bros. During the

Book Fair.

reception, Robert was formally interviewed by the Club’s President

“It was a bibliophile’s dream,” Robert says. “There were 16thcentury manuscripts by Martin Luther, signed letters by Einstein, James Bond first editions, a manuscript by Alexandre Dumas, and first editions of books by Mark Twain and Voltaire! But, I’m happy to

and is now the first and only Maltese person ever to be elected to the Grolier Club as a full member. Once again, it seems, Vertot’s book is helping in putting Malta back on the map…

say, that wasn’t the best of it…” While there, Robert was invited to a reception at the Grolier

Robert Thake’s A Publishing History of a Prohibited Best-Seller - The

Club, a private and ultra-exclusive club and society of bibliophiles

Abbé De Vertot And His Histoire De Malte is currently available from

established in 1884. Named after the famous French bibliophile Jean 28 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

bookstores.



HEALTH

An exercise in empathy AWARENESS ABOUT AUTISM HAS INCREASED, BUT MANY REMAIN UNAWARE HOW IT IS EXACTLY THAT THE CONDITION AFFECTS SUFFERERS. NOW, A VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE HELPS USERS UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CHILD FEELS, WHAT HE’S THINKING AND SEE WHY SOME ELEMENTS ANNOY HIM MORE THAN OTHERS. JOHNATHAN CILIA FINDS OUT MORE. Oftentimes, we are asked to step into other’s shoes. We are asked

prepared him for this, they just told him that the autistic child will

to see things from another’s perspective, to imagine living our own

probably behave differently,” he explains, noting how this isn’t

life from their position in life – and more than anything, to see the

enough to fully explain what autism is.

world as they do. Notwithstanding any telepaths among us, seeing the world

“The idea is to prepare teachers and children to hopefully be more understanding when an autistic child is introduced in their

from another’s perspective takes a lot of emotional intelligence and

class,” he says. “The idea behind our approach is to create a VR

empathy, and requires one to exit their own shoes for a short

experience which mimics the feelings and thoughts of an autistic

moment, which is sometimes easier said than done.

child. Even though prospective teachers might study the condition

With this reality in mind, a diverse group of researchers at the

extensively, they can only do so through textbooks or through

University of Malta have teamed up to help people live other’s

limited teaching practice with children having different abilities.

experiences easily. In a modern, technologically driven way, this

However they can never understand what an autistic child will be

team is harnessing the inherent empathy within each of us, and

going through.”

combining it with the power of Virtual Reality (VR), to help society better understand one of the tougher life experiences around. “We wanted to create a VR experience that would tackle autism precisely with empathy,” explains Professor Alexiei Dingli. Dingli is a Senior Lecturer of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malta, as well as being the mayor of Valletta and a proud father. Dingli noticed a lack of understanding among teachers,

He, alongside his team, has taken note of the difficulties some educators might come across when dealing with people on the autism spectrum, especially teachers that are fresh graduates with little training. “Sometimes teachers are just thrown in at the deep end,” Dingli says. “I know of one teacher that had to watch a lot of Youtube videos to try to understand autism. It was information

students, and even parents, when it came to dealing with children

overdose, not very effective, and it’s not easy for learning support

with autism. “My eldest son had an autistic boy in class. But no one

assistants (LSAs) to handle.”

30 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


HEALTH

The idea is to prepare teachers and children to hopefully be more understanding when an autistic child is introduced in their class

SEPTEMBER 2017 âˆŤ Sunday Circle 31


HEALTH

THE FACTS • About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)

• Prevalence in the US is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)

• More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)

• Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)

By wearing the VR experience, they will understand what the child feels, what he’s thinking and why some elements annoy him more than others

• Prevalence has increased by 6-15 per cent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)

• 1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder. (Brugha T.S. et al., 2011)

“Our VR experience is aimed to target this vacuum. By wearing the VR experience, they will understand what the child feels, what he’s thinking and see why some elements annoy him more than others.” This Autism VR experience has the potential to truly let people get as close

• The US cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a

as possible to what it means to have autism. Dr Vanessa Camilleri, a lecturer at the

person without intellectual disability.

Department of AI alongside Dingli, is aware of how sensitive this topic is, and how it

(Buescher et al., 2014)

could change the way we interact with and teach students with autism. “We all have interacted with young children,” Camilleri points out. “And we’ve

• 35 per cent of young adults (ages 19-23)

all seen other young children suffering. They may be left on the outside of the

with autism have not had a job or received

group, and people just may not know how to react to them, or what they may be

postgraduate education after leaving high

feeling or thinking. People wouldn’t

school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)

know that something like moving a chair may cause a disturbance to a child with autism, so we thought: why don’t we

• Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal

create an immersive experience so that the viewer is really there inside the story? And then we saw how powerful

• Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability

that was.” Their team, which also involved

• Certain medical and mental health issues

the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of

frequently accompany autism. They

Education, created a VR video, filmed

include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders,

with actors from the Masquerade troupe

seizures, sleep disturbances, attention

on location at the Lija Primary School.

deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),

This video puts you in the shoes of an

anxiety and phobias

autistic girl as she walks through the school hallways, attends class, and sits in the playground surrounding by playing children in their break. 32 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

www.autismsociety.org



HEALTH

Viewers wear the virtual reality headset and are immediately transported to this different world. Your vision blurs, brightens or shakes as children run past, loud noises or made, or even when someone’s perfume is too strong. As far as an exercise in empathy goes, this is unbeatable. You are living as an

DETECTING THE SIGNS

autistic student. And as Fouad Haddud, who is a student specialising in AI and is hosting the trials explains, the reactions by people trying the prototype have been incredible. “I cannot say there’s one reaction,” says Fouad. “The educators see it as a working

Autism, or to give it its proper name autism spectrum disorder, is

tool, the parents see it more with a personal touch. One parent of an autistic child even

a range of conditions characterised

finished and said ‘wow, I’ve just noticed a mistake that I would do everyday!’”

by a different approach and

Other parents broke down in tears as they finally saw what their sons and

understanding of social skills,

daughters go through daily. The effectiveness of this VR exercise in empathy has

involving repetitive behaviours and

delivered great results. Now, the intention is to take this technology abroad, secure

speech and nonverbal

further funding, and release it as a mobile app so people can access this cheaply and put

communication. There are different

it to good use.

types of autism, caused by different

“We want to try it out with teachers and improve upon it, and we want to use technology to improve the life of people,” says Camilleri. “But the intention is to take it further, roll it out not just for teachers but for the public. Our final intention is to have

combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The most-obvious signs tend

different facets to be used as a training tool for educators. There could also be a different

to appear between two and three

form for parents and students.”

years of age. While all children are

Eventually, the team are even looking at using this narrative-driven technology on other issues in society, such as multiculturalism or post traumatic stress disorder. “We could even repurpose this for different groups in society,” says Camilleri. “We have so many area to explore.” “It is important that people experience this,” concludes Dingli. “Now, we have to

different, it is a good idea to keep an eye on specific milestones. If your child is doing any of the below, it does not necessarily indicate a problem, or the presence

popularise it to see what else we can do with this technology, and then we can see what

of autism, but speaking with your

gaps there are to improve.”

doctor is the best way to put your

Through this alternate reality experience, and in a way never done before, people

mind at rest. Early diagnosis of

can know what it’s like to live as someone else. As the Autism VR trials continue and the

autism and early intervention are

team works to complete the product for market, Camilleri makes it clear what is at the

vital as studies show that

centre of this project: ‘Empathy is something very much in my heart, and empathy is

addressing the condition early on

something we seriously need to develop further in all of humanity.”

increases the chances of mainstream education drastically. The Autism Science Foundation recommends keep an eye out for the following, but remember that only your paediatrician can determine whether your child falls on the autism spectrum.

• Fixating on objects and/or not responding to people • Older babies and toddlers may fail to respond to their names, avoid eye contact or engage in repetitive movements such as rocking or arm flapping • They may play with toys in unusual ways, like lining them up or focusing on parts of toys rather than the whole

34 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



FRAGRANCES

36 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


FRAGRANCES

A classic turned rebel IT’S BEEN 15 YEARS SINCE CHANEL GAVE THE WORLD A NEW PERFUME AND, NOW THE TIME HAS COME TO UNVEIL GABRIELLE EAU DE PARFUM, THE WORLD’S FOREMOST HOUSE OF FASHION IS EN FÊTE. RAMONA DEPARES ATTENDS THE SPECTACULAR LAUNCH OF THE PERFUME IN GREECE. The sun is setting over Sounion, Greece, with the temple dedicated

de parfum, with members of the press from this side of the world

to the mighty Poseidon resplendent in the distance, bathed in

uniting to discover what this new fragrance is all about. It’s the first

oranges and reds that I hadn’t known existed. I’m drinking some

time in 15 years that Chanel is launching a new scent – the last one

frankly gorgeous Greek wine and chatting to Monsieur Hervé

was Chance, back in 2002 – and they haven’t left anything to

Barthelemy about France’s glorious history in perfume-making.

chance, as it were. This is but one out of a series of such

What does France have to do with this Greek landscape, you

international launches, with other events taking place in Istanbul,

may ask. The answer is simple. M. Barthelemy, as it happens, is one

Paris and Morocco. And Chanel is really pulling out all the stops on

of the top perfume gurus at Chanel. His mission today, as we are all

this one. For starters, there’s the location which looks like

sat admiring the incredible scenery, is to acquaint us with Chanel’s

something out of a fairytale. We are surrounded by a national park

latest creation within this sector – Gabrielle Eau de Parfum, whose

on one side – greenery everywhere, no concrete in sight – and the

delicate floral-infused fragrance is almost as exquisite as the

Aegean Sea on the other. Our rooms are individual bungalows, built

landscape unfolding in front of our eyes.

so as to blend in with the natural surroundings, the use of wood and

The setting is the Cape Sounio Luxury Hotel, which is where it’s all going down – it’s the Mediterranean launch of this new eau

glass certainly helping in making it as uninvasive as possible. There are acres upon acres of sandy beach and clear water, which we

Sounion, Greece - the setting for the launch event.

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 37


FRAGRANCES

Kristen Stewart

Any fragrance named after such a woman would have to be pretty remarkable Olivier Polge

Mademoiselle Chanel was nothing if not a rebel, ahead of her times. She wore trousers when it was frowned upon to see women in anything but skirts. She reinvented herself, leaving behind her childhood in an orphanage and a youth performing in clubs to become arguably the most iconic fashion designer in history. She revolutionised the idea of fashion for women, being pretty much responsible for the introduction of the LBD in every woman’s closet and daily vocab, not to mention her classic suits with the reinvented lines that fit so charmingly and comfortably. And, of course, her Chanel No 5 is a legend in the world of perfume. It had to follow that any fragrance named after such a woman Experiencing the launch

would have to be pretty remarkable. And, happily, Gabrielle satisfies on all counts, not least in the way it was unveiled to the press. A day fraternising with the Chanel team, including Monsieur

take full advantage of. It is only too easy to forget that busy,

Bartholomew, had certainly whet our appetite for the grand

somewhat grimy Athens is but a 90-minute drive away.

unveiling. And grand it undoubtedly was, with an entire section of

Which is exactly what the team behind the magnificent

the hotel reserved for the event, transformed into a minimalist

marketing machine that helps make Chanel what it is want to

labyrinth with shimmering, golden mirrors scattered throughout

achieve, of course. From bloggers to photographers to journalists,

and intriguing taglines randomly greeting us as we all walked in.

we are all here to experience Gabrielle in her full glory. And that is

“Be yourself.”

exactly what we do over the course of two days, because Gabrielle

“I want to be part of what happens.”

shares the stage with no-one – as is only befitting for a fragrance

“Conquer your destiny.”

named after the legendary Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, born

“Choose, desire and be.”

Gabrielle, herself.

“I decided who I wanted to be and that is who I am.”

38 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


FRAGRANCES

It’s definitely a case of the Chanel heritage coming together with the avant-garde in a most harmonious marriage In short, the leitmotif that is the very essence of everything

the more fussy and the heavier the bottle, the more luxurious the

Chanel. We all get it, this fun way of telling us everything there is to

fragrance it houses. Gabrielle makes it obvious that the opposite is

know about the icon that led to the making of this perfume, and we

true. The spotlight, as Monsieur Bartholomew says, is totally and

all go snap happy. Few things are as prettily and obviously

unmistakeably on the fragrance itself; no extra trappings are needed.

Instagram-able as this setup. Eventually, we all get tired chattering and snapping new cover

Which brings us straight to the perfume. With ‘rebel’ being the chosen keyword, Gabrielle has a lot to deliver. Monsieur

photos for our Facebook accounts and – much like Hansel and

Bartholomew starts unveiling the perfume for us, tantalising our

Gretel following the crumbs in the forest – we allow ourselves to be

olfactory senses note by intriguing note. He makes us guess each

led to the very end of this stylish labyrinth where Monsieur

flower, tantalising us with hints about its provenance and

Bartholomew and Gabrielle await. We sit down, eager to finally

characters. Some we guess, others we don’t. Gabrielle is floral

experience this fragrance. Monsieur Bartholomew explains that this

based – each individual note subtle, teasing, from the jasmine to the

fragrance is the creation of Olivier Polge, Chanel’s perfume creator,

tuberose (hailing from Grasse, which is where the main Chanel fields

who took over from his father Jacques. Monsieur Polge was

are located), the ylang ylang and orange blossoms. Together they

responsible for the reinvention of the No 5 last year – this, however,

meld into an initially discreet scent that seems to grow warmer and

is the first fragrance he has created from scratch for Chanel.

more addictive the more time passes.

With Gabrielle, the surprises start with the bottle itself.

As we are all busy being enchanted and seduced by Gabrielle,

Perfume bottles tend to be as hefty as, well, potential murder

Monsieur Bartholomew puts the official commercial on. Kristen

weapons, with their reinforced base, thick glass and perfume ribbon

Stewart is the chosen ambassador – a very apt choice, given the

floating down. Not the Gabrielle, which uses a patented technology

young actor’s fast-growing reputation for knowing what she wants

discovered by Chanel scientists after years (not hyperbole!) of

and not suffering fools gladly. The footage is wonderful, as Stewart

research to create this cleaner, more minimalist look and feel. The

is shown running, at first enveloped in filmy material and then,

bottle appears to be a more edgy evolution of the No. 5; the lines

gradually with each step, throwing off each constraint to free her

are unmistakeably reminiscent of the classic bottle, but the Gabrielle

body and spirit. The word that comes to mind is empowering, for a

is more of a rebel by perfumers’ standards. It’s definitely a case of

change not used as a buzzword but in a truly inspirational manner.

the Chanel heritage coming together with the avant-garde in a most harmonious marriage. Chanel has completely turned the idea that

Mademoiselle herself would definitely have approved of the message.

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 39


LIVING PERFECTLY BALANCED BEER Simonds Farsons Cisk plc has recently launched Cisk Chill Ginger & Lime, a light beer that strikes the right balance between the spice of ginger and zest of lime, making this brew an ideal thirst quencher to enjoy on a hot summer day. Cisk Chill Ginger & Lime is the latest addition to the Cisk range of flavoured beers that also includes Lemon and Berry flavours. Following on from the launch in 2011, the range has gone from strength to strength, becoming a huge hit with local consumers.

MINI COUNTRYMAN COMPETITION WITH HUGO’S BURGER BAR After the successful launch of the Mini Countryman, Muscats Motors and Hugo’s teamed up to offer Hugo’s Burger Bar customers the chance to win one awesome ride, the new MINI Countryman. The competition took place over a 10week period, during which time the Countryman was present at Hugo’s Burger Bar. The winner, Kurt Schembri, was announced at Hugo’s Terrace & Rooftop. Following the successful event, Muscats Motors plan to launch a five-car Mini Countryman fleet which will be used by the different Hugo’s outlets throughout Paceville.

BEST FOOT FORWARD Just to make life easier for mums and children, Titanitos has created a collection of washable shoes. They go straight into the washing machine, and just like magic, they’re clean and good as new. Titanitos shoes are expertly handcrafted, while offering the latest technologies in comfort, design and durability. Shoes are reinforced in the toes and heels to increase their durability and minimise impacts. Made in the EU, Titanitos undergoes strict quality and safety controls. Available at Gallarija Darmanin.

AFFORDABLE MOBILITY The new look Dacia is the new word for affordable mobility. The Dacia Range includes the Duster SUV, Sandero Hatch, Stepway Mini Crossover and the Logan MPV which is an estate version. Specifications include air conditioner, power steering, radio with bluetooth, central locking, traction control, front airbags and ISOFIX seats. Starting at €9990 for the Sandero, you will be hard pressed to find a better new car bargain anywhere. Service packages for the entire range also available. Call on 2331 1126/131 for more information and/or a testdrive. For Gozo enquiries call on 2155 0962.

40 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

FUN IN BAY STREET Although Summer is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! This coming month, Bay Street is jampacked with events specially directed towards getting you and your kid prepped for the new scholastic year. Join us for our Back to School weekend on September 23 and 24, where you’ll find a story-telling corner, educational stands, face painting, a bouncing castle & much more! Stay updated on our Facebook page ‘Bay Street Shopping Complex’: Keep an eye out for our weekly tips & don’t miss our downloadable free school supplies checklist!

2016 GRAN CAVALIER SYRAH RELEASED Delicata has released the long-anticipated barrel-aged Syrah of the 2016 vintage in the winery’s flagship Gran Cavalier range. Delicata’s premium Maltese Syrah and the winemaker’s caskmatured Merlot, which was released earlier behind the same Gran Cavalier label, have become very sought after. The 100 per cent Syrah is tantalising in nature and already showing typical hallmark flavours of raspberry and dark fruits along with hints of crushed black pepper and layers of great depth. www.delicata.com



FASHION

a pursuit of elegance ITALIAN FASHION DESIGNER RENATO BALESTRA, KNOWN FOR HIS SHOW-STOPPING CREATIONS, WAS RECENTLY IN MALTA TO PRESENT HIS SUMMER COLLECTION DURING A FASHION SHOW ORGANISED BY THE CHAMBER OF FASHION MALTA. HE SHARES SOME OF HIS THOUGHTS WITH ANNA MARIE GALEA. Cutting an imposing figure in one of his trademark blue suits, Renato Balestra did not pause our conversation on his way to finding a seat in the imposing lobby of the newly refurbished Phoenicia Hotel. Making a beeline for a blue and white patterned chair, he helpfully added: “I think I will sit here because the blue of this chair is marvellous.” At the time of the interview, Balestra was in Malta to present his 2017 Summer Collection at Alta Moda Sotto le Stelle, a spectacular event being organized by the Chamber of Fashion Malta, under the patronage of the Italian Embassy and in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, Valletta. The show took place in the now iconic St George’s Square in Valletta, where it was covered by Italia and local TV stations and media; Balestra specifically chose to have his flowing designs and evocative creations grace this beautiful square in the heart of the Mediterranean. Balestra himself beautifully complements his surroundings, and the designer’s trained eyes and sharp mind miss absolutely nothing. He is not only acutely conscious of everything and everyone in a room but he does not hold back when it comes to sharing his thoughts in a very candid way. 42 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


FASHION

Being elegant is about having the proper dress for the proper occasion, nothing more, nothing less

PHOTO: BERNARD POLIDANO

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 43


FASHION

Coming from a family of engineers, Balestra’s future seemed to be set in stone till he made a u-turn and became one of the greatest fashion designers in italian history, a position he has held for more than seventy years. his mantra, above all else, is that life should be a pursuit of elegance: “a life well lived is a life where elegance has been pursued. Elegance is not just about the way one dresses but also about the way they walk and talk. Just recently i was at a restaurant and i saw a beautiful woman yet the minute she opened her mouth to speak, there was no elegance in her manner and this put me off completely: i could no longer consider her to be beautiful. the way in which one moves and expresses oneself is very important because life Photo: Justin CiaPPara

consists of many little yet important things. too many people overlook the small things in life, yet harmony can only come when you give importance to every little action you do. the young must not put off trying to be cultured; it’s what you draw not how you draw. From a beautiful mind spring beautiful thoughts.” indeed, if his show-stopping dresses are anything to go by, there is a lot to be said for having a beautiful mind. so what is it that draws him so much to the colour blue which he is so renowned for loving? “You cannot describe a colour: blue is an emotion. i have been drawn to blue from a very, very young age. it was always the colour that i would choose. When i was 14, i wanted to try oil painting because i was drawn to what the colours made me feel. Fashion is colour; it has to be vibrant, alive. Maybe the most interesting thing about colour is that it can never stand alone. Colour is made of different things and colour makes you feel different things. Yet, for me, it has always been blue.” and what is it that makes a woman beautiful? “a woman can always be attractive. Whether we think about the legs of Betty Grable or the back of Marilyn Monroe, we are looking at beautiful aspects. What is important to emphasise is the harmony of these parts within the whole. hands cannot be considered to be beautiful without being graceful. it’s like hearing a symphony: the notes must be uniform in order to sound heavenly. at the end of the day, being elegant is about having the proper dress for the proper occasion, nothing more, nothing less. i have dressed many women who have been

Photo: Carlo Jourdan

44 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

considered to be living legends and i am always



FASHION

PHOTO: CARLO JOURDAN

One must always be eager to learn more and try to perfect themselves asked who I was most impressed by and I think I will always answer that the most beautiful woman in the world is Venus.” When speaking about the future, Balestra is very pensive and thoughtful: “I don’t want to sound conservative but it troubles me that people don’t seem to exercise their minds as much as they used to. Nowadays, if you want to know who Louis XV’s mistress was you just go to Google and look it up but before you had to be curious and determined to find answers. Which means that if you wanted to find something out, you would have to read an entire book. I appreciate computers as much as the next person but they should not drive our lives. People are trying to run before they can walk and they don’t even take the time to think of their goals. I believe this is contributing to the ill behaviour which has become so prevalent today. I’m not saying that we should all be rigid but many seem to think that it is okay to talk loud and push; I really hope that we will rediscover culture again.” Despite his long and illustrious career, Balestra is not complacent about his knowledge or his hefty list of achievements: “People always ask me about what the highlight of my career has been, but I truly believe that the best is yet to come. The truth is that whichever stage I reach, I will still never feel that it is enough. It does not do to be satisfied with one’s position; one must always be eager to learn more and try to perfect themselves. If you think that you are all right then you can never be better and if there’s one thing we must all strive for it is to be the best that we possibly can.”

46 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



CIRCLE PROMOTION

The Greens Medi T FRESHLY-BAKED BREAD, TOP QUALITY COLD CUTS AND CHEESES AND THE BEST PASTRIES AND CAKES! LIFE IS GOOD AT THE BREAD AND DELI COUNTERS AT GREENS SUPERMARKET! it needs to be said, us Mediterraneans do love our carbs, preferably in the shape of freshly-baked bread and pastries – accompanied by a variety of cold cuts and cheeses, of course. Greens have also kept the design in mind, when planning the counters, to offer the highest standards with customer convenience in mind. But it can’t be just any old bread or pastry. nowadays, our tastebuds have become a lot more discerning than having to make do with just a couple of bread or pastry varieties. There was a time when we’d be happy with some ħobż tal-Malti or a bezzun – we still love both, of course, but isn’t it lovely to have such a wonderful choice so easily available, nowadays? same applies to pastries, of course, whether we are in the mood for a plain croissant or something more complex. This is why both the deli and the Bread counters at Greens supermarket remain unparalleled. The team at Greens knows just how to tantalise those tastebuds, starting with luscious fresh pastries done on a daily basis. The range of cakes, muffins, sweets, croissants and other bakes is extremely tempting; it’s easy to see why this counter is so popular. There is also a large variety of Mulino Bianco Fresh Bread and Merendine. For those whose tastebuds run more towards the savoury, a range of fresh bread is also baked daily. Baking takes place at various times of the day, so you needn’t worry that your preferred time will get you only leftovers – you’re guaranteed that soft, warm

But the best thing about it is that you will also find a

goodness every time! There’s both

sumptuous choice of cooked food such as pizza, as well as other

local and traditional varieties, from

items that Greens are known for including Pretzels, Poppy seeds,

the beloved ħobża to the ciabatta,

Cannolli and Croissants. Too frazzled to cook up a decent dinner?

baguette, grissini and more, for

Worry not – Greens supermarket will bail you out. in case of an event

those who prefer something more

or any other special occasion, one can also order cakes and gateaux

exotic. not to mention, the home-

from the bakery section.

made sweet delicacies that Greens are renowned for. 48 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

and what’s better to complement such a well-stocked Bread counter than a fully-equipped deli? This is one of the largest deli


CIRCLE PROMOTION

I TeRRAneAn dIeT

BACK TO SCHOOL AT GREENS It’s soon back to school time and families are already gearing up for the mad september rush! no need to panic, though, counters in Malta, offering a variety of antipasti; it’s easy to see why

as even here Greens comes to

customers love gravitating towards here!

the rescue. The supermarket

Check out the cold cuts that range from local varieties to Italian

offers an entire section of back-

cuts such as Parma and prosciutto, and other foreign meats. To

to-school items in its stationery section, including both the

accompany, why not add one of the home-made dips – there’s so many

essentials and the fun stuff that the kids love so much,

to choose from that you are sure to find something to tickle the fancy

with all the latest characters and gadgets! And things are

of every member of the family. The current list of dips includes tzatziki,

about to get even better! We are offering a €5 discount to

blue cheese, artichokes and chives; hummus; sweet chili; shrimp; arjoli;

all customers throughout the month of september. All you

garlic; tuna; sweet pepper and the list goes on to covering over 30

need to do to benefit from your discount is to present this

different varieties. Fancy an Antipasto? Greens have got that too

coupon when shopping for your stationery at Greens

including Goat's Cheese (Gbejniet), Olives, Giardiniera and much more.

supermarket.

Cheese lovers will also have a field day deciding what type of cheese to enjoy. There’s all the most well-loved soft and hard cheeses, mature and aged cheeses and the traditional favourites like the Brie, the cheddar and the Red Leicester. To make things even more convenient for our customers, we also offer a large range of pre-packed cheeses and cold cuts.

€5

discount Worth

€5

NOT VALID WITH ANY OTHER OFFERS AND IT’S ONLY APPLICABLE ON STATIONERY

990011990011 Greens supermarket, Triq Il-Uqija, swieqi, sWQ2333 tel: +356 21377247 / +356 21383856

The €5 discount will be given over and above the Greens loyalty scheme. For more details visit www.greens.com.mt

email: info@greens.com.mt SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 49


ARTS

Malta Will Be AMuSEd FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, MALTA IS SET TO BE THE LEAD PARTNER IN AN EU-FUNDED CREATIVE RESEARCH PROJECT, AND THE MALTA SOCIETY OF ARTS IS RIGHT AT THE HELM. IGGY FENECH MEETS RODERICK CAMILLERI, THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR BEHIND THIS EXCITING INITIATIVE.

50 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


ARTS

The local arts scene is buzzing from the news that the Malta Society of Arts has secured funds as the lead partner on an exciting cultural project – a project that was chosen from among hundreds of applicants. AMuSE – as the project is called – will revolve around building new audiences, and plans to reveal aspects within out cultural and artistic heritage that define ‘European identity’. It will also proffer innovation expressed in terms of the transnational mobility of artists, the strengthening of the creative competences, and the appropriate expertise of creatives. Beyond that, it will encourage the application of new methodology, experimentation and digital technology in cultural settings, schools, galleries and museums. Although so much work has already been done, AMuSE will formally begin in October, when the three partners – Le Terre dei Savoia Association in Italy, the Dusetos Culture Gallery in Lithuania and the Business Development Friesland Inqubator Leeuwarden in the Netherlands – as well as the MSA, issue a public call for four artists to represent their respective country and participate in the extended mobility plan. The artists will then work together, while lectures and other events will also be held. The term ‘AMuSE’ actually stands for ‘Artistic Multi Sensorial Experiences’. With that in mind, this dynamic project, which will be held in 2018 and 2019, will take the form of an artistic and creative approach that integrates aesthetics with multi-sensorial data in visual and applied arts. “The project came about when Le Terre dei Savoia, which is based in Turin, contacted us through the Easy School of Language (IZI Ltd) and expressed their interest in creating a joint venture with the MSA,” explains Roderick Camilleri, the artistic director behind AMuSE. “The MSA were excited by the opportunities and immediately looked at what could be done to make this happen.” Roderick and the MSA got the ball rolling after a number of discussions, and held a workshop so interested parties could get involved. “It was at this point that the MSA decided to draft a substantial plan and weave various facets together into one integrated structure that would combine aesthetics, sensorial data and an artist in residency programme. I then put together the conceptual framework behind the projects application which, pleasingly, was accepted

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle

51


ARTS

for funding by the European Commission,” Roderick says, adding that he was involved in the modifications and synthesis of the whole concept behind AMuSE. This was big news for the project, as the Creative Europe programme is a highly competitive platform – it is, in a nutshell, the EU’s funding support mechanism for the cultural and creative sectors. Comprising a number of funding schemes across two sub-programmes (culture, media and a cross-sectoral strand), eligible cultural and creative organisations from participating countries, can submit proposals in order to be awarded funding for the realisation of projects. “The selection rate for projects in this funding scheme averages between 13-15 per cent, which, when considering the high application rate – projects submitted in 2016 for 2017 funding totalled almost 550 in number – demonstrates how it is truly the crème de la crème of the projects submitted which receive funding,” explains Lisa Gwen Baldachino, who runs the Creative Europe Desk. “So this is the context in which the MSA, together with its partners, has emerged triumphant. For us, this carries a lot of weight, as effectively, the MSA has set an all-important precedent. It is no secret that Maltese organisations have, and still find it hard to tap into Creative Europe funding, and the MSA is the first organisation to ever benefit from funding as Lead Project Partner in this respect. This sends out a clear and strong message that Maltese organisations have what it takes to compete with the big guns. We hope that the MSA’s success will cause a ripple effect and that it may be the first of many

52 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



ARTS

“It is no secret that Maltese organisations still find it hard to tap into Creative Europe funding. The MSA is the first organisation to ever benefit from funding as Lead Project Partner in this respect.”

applications by Maltese and Malta-based organisations to be submitted and supported by the Creative Europe programme.” And the number of ‘firsts’ for this project doesn’t stop there, as there are other elements that make it unique. “Aside from the fact that we are the first lead partner of an international research project within a community setting, this is also a first because it will generate extensive artistic research based on a two-year programme on cross-modal sensorial responses, and which will be reflected in new readings in multisensorial art,” Roderick continues. Beyond that, the project will also create an exciting platform for crossfertilisation among young artists from the countries involved. This will really build on Malta’s relationship with these countries, and will also provide opportunities for more mobility between them. Thus, Malta and Valletta will more connected with these places and, even, indirectly ‘twinned’. “AMuSE’s legacy is something Malta can hope to be very proud of as we will have a lot to show for it. There is hard work ahead but also very exciting times to plan as we bring these four partners together and combine their creative minds on such a dynamic platform. I have no doubt that the results will be very, very interesting,” Roderick adds.

54 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



HERITAGE

STYLE AND

HISTORY COMBINED

56 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


HERITAGE

FROM THE għonnella TO CHARLES & RON’S MOST EDGY CREATIONS, MALTESE FASHION THROUGH THE YEARS TELLS A CHEQUERED STORY, A STORY THAT WAS RETOLD BEAUTIFULLY THROUGH The Vocabulary of MalTese sTyle exhibiTion. ANNA MARIE GALEA FINDS OUT MORE.

There are few things in life which have the ability to make me

Despite the fact that there has been much in the way of

screech in glee more than clothes. Indeed, it’s not just the way the

awareness when it comes to the preservation of our past in recent

fabric of a beautiful dress looks or feels, or the way it actually fits,

years, I have spoken to many people in the industry who have heard

which I love; it’s always been about the kind of life you would have

stories about priceless items being thrown away because of a hole

in the dress, the story which will be woven while you wear it. When I

or two. In a culture that seems almost obsessed with the new, many

was told of an exhibition that would encompass all the topsy

older pieces which were either inherited or simply found

turviness of fashion in Malta over the last hundred years, I was

languishing in an untouched drawer, met very sad and untimely

beyond excited at the prospect of what was in store.

demises. However, thankfully, not all have been of the same mind

The exhibition was conceived by MEP Marlene Mizzi on the occasion of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and beautifully-curated by fashion designer Luke Azzopardi.

and this was beautifully showcased by the lavish choice of garments that we were presented with. Since the show was officially opened with live shows by

Mizzi set out to present a taste of Maltese culture, industry, history

Maltese fashion designers Charles & Ron who gave the seated

and elegance and managed all this and then some thanks to a team

crowd various glimpses of their vibrant summer collection, followed

of dedicated experts who were able to showcase the carefully

by a dramatic five piece collection by the curator himself, The

selected pieces in their full glory and give viewers a taste of the

Vocabulary of Maltese Style worked its way backwards through the

different letters of the alphabet in The Vocabulary of Maltese Style.

history of Maltese couture by showing off the latest in Maltese

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 57


HERITAGE

contemporary design before we assembled at the bottom floor of the House of Representatives to see the selected pieces. With 13 complete historical ensembles, two handbags as well as three displays showcasing works by contemporary designers, the exhibition brought to life various aspects of Maltese history and culture and also succeeded in showing snapshots of the lives of the lucky women who wore them. A particular favourite from the night, imbued with characteristic eighties glamour as well as history, is the John Charles silver, microfibre lurex dress worn by Mary Spiteri for a performance of a lifetime at the Sydney Opera House in 1984, although I personally found nothing more beautiful than the 1948 light

A taste of Maltese culture, industry, history and elegance blue, hand-pleated ball gown. Timeless in its elegance and breath-taking in its beauty, I later learnt that the dress had been given to Heritage Malta rolled up in a ball and had various holes in it which needed to be painstakingly patched up over hours and hours by Heritage Malta’s conservators. Similarly stunning and giving a nod to our exotic and oriental roots were beautiful pieces by the legendary Madame Manfre from the sixties and seventies; colourful in style as they are elegant in cut, the attention to detail in these postcolonial, oriental prints was astonishing and showed the inner turmoil of a designer trying to come to grips with a new world. When it came to the bags showcased, two exquisite pieces

58 Sunday Circle âˆŤ SEPTEMBER 2017



HERITAGE

The exhibition was officially opened with live shows by Maltese fashion designers Charles & Ron from the early 20th century were on show and while in both cases the maker was not known the quality was unmistakable. Similarly to the aforementioned fairy tale blue dress, the coffee coloured velvet bag with a heavy beaded strap underwent hours and hours of restoration and re-beading to bring it back to its former glory. The contemporary pieces, which included a colourful nature-inspired dress and coat by Saz Mifsud and pieces by Sef Farrugia and Carla Grima, succeeded in showing off the full spectrum of unique styles which Maltese designers are currently adopting. With an air of marrying together the past with the post-modern and what looks to be a promising future, The Vocabulary of Style was able to showcase more than three generations of ideas and influences. Looking at each dress in its own individual context is not just necessary but imperative to understanding all the elements which go into defining Maltese aesthetics and our curiously nuanced identity. An old Maltese saying states that it is not clothes which make the person yet clothes, as we often see, are able to tell the people around you who you are or what you hope to be in a far more effective way than anything else ever will. The Vocabulary of Style succeeded in not only showing off Maltese craftsmanship at its best but also in recounting a sliver of our land’s contradictory history. MEP Marlene Mizzi (centre) with the team that worked on the exhibition.

60 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017



CIRCLE PROMOTION

Choosing the right care home HOW SIMPLE IS IT TO FIND THE RIGHT PLACE TO CARE FOR OUR LOVED ONES, OR EVEN FOR US IN OUR OLD AGE? SIMBLIJA CARE HOME MAKES TAKING AN INFORMED DECISION EASIER.

There comes a stage in our lives when we or our loved ones might need extended care, care that goes beyond that which can be given at home by care givers or through the provision of community support services. It is at that time in our lives when we find ourselves in a quandary, thinking about which place is best for our loved ones or for ourselves? The number of care homes on the island is on the increase, in view of the challenge posed by the ageing population and the increasing demand for elderly services. However, what is the environment that one should look for when choosing a care home? What constitutes good care? A care home should, ideally, be purposely built. The need for the right lighting in common areas, lounges at ward level and individual rooms is vital, whereas the focus on open spaces and landscaped An excellent level of care, however,

areas where residents can choose to spend

crucial! This enables the clinical team to

their days is essential. The environment

deliver good and safe quality care, while

remains the pinnacle of any care home

must be safe, secure and easily accessible,

supporting residents irrespective of their

service. Holistic care which is delivered with

given the need for many to use medical

dependency level. The embellishment of

compassion and commitment cannot at

aides.

common areas should likewise not be

any point be excluded from the equation.

undermined. It is vital that common areas

Healthcare professionals who are entrusted

designed for ease of mobility, and likewise

are not only brightly done up to look

to care for residents in care homes must be

equipped with the right aids. This is

attractive, but are also comfortable. A nice

qualified, professional and trained. Relatives

particularly true in bathrooms where

looking, homely environment is beneficial

and/or next of kin need to have the

residents can be supported if their mobility

for all and is considered to be a major

reassurance that those caring for them or

is limited. Investment in medical

contributor to the enhancement of

their loved ones are competent to do so.

equipment, including medical beds is

community living.

Compassionate behaviour and attention to

Clients’ rooms should be carefully

62 Sunday Circle âˆŤ SEPTEMBER 2017


CIRCLE PROMOTION

the resident’s individual needs and dignity

what a care home should be, with its wide

services that caring professionals will assist

leading to tailor made care plans are

open spaces, spacious resident rooms, fully

them throughout this journey, every step of

considered to be the main pillars in the

equipped bathrooms and attractive

the way, through the high quality service

delivery of good quality care. This is

common areas including a lovely dining

standards provided.

because the client’s needs are particular

room, spacious verandas and chapel.

and it is never ‘one size fits all’. The ethos

The professional team also makes

and philosophy of care which homes

sure that residents age actively, thus

should instil in their healthcare

activities are organised on a daily basis

professionals and care givers, is one that

morning and evening. Simblija Care Home

adopts a client centred approach and one

adopts a holistic approach in the delivery

that focuses on a resident’s personal needs.

of care, in order to ensure that all facets of

It is a relationship built on trust at a time

life – be they physical, social, mental or

when a person is very often most

spiritual needs – are catered for. This is the

vulnerable.

only way we ensure that the best care is

At Simblija Care Home, the philosophy is based on the three C’s of care, compassion and competence. We

delivered through the highest of standards. Choosing a care home may be one of

Simblija Care Home, Triq il-Forga,

believe that one, without the others, makes

the biggest decisions one ever takes in

Naxxar, NXR 2025.

the service incomplete and is short-

his/her life, but with places like Simblija

Web: www.simblijacarehome.com

changing anyone using the service. The

Care Home the decision is made easier,

Tel: 2235 1000

building in its entirety is a showcase of

with a promise to anyone using these

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 63


ENVIRONMENT

The

crisis hits PHOTO: MATTHEW MIRABELLI

64 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


ENVIRONMENT

WITH QUESTIONABLE DEVELOPMENT PERMITS BEING THE ORDER OF THE DAY, NEVER HAVE OUR ISLANDS FACED SUCH ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES. ARCHITECT AND Flimkien Għall-ambjent SPOKESPERSON TARA CASSAR TELLS JOHNATHAN CILIA THAT THE SHARP GROWTH IN CONSTRUCTION AND THE SYSTEMATIC WEAKENING OF PLANNING POLICIES THAT MALTA IS EXPERIENCING, ARE FAR FROM BEING A SUSTAINABLE MODEL. While there may be wars occurring elsewhere in

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) has

the world, far from our shores, many would

been on the forefront of this war, attempting to

argue that we are in the middle of our own war.

open dialogue with the construction industry,

A systematic war, with businessmen and

the architects involved, the Planning Authority,

politicians on one side and Malta’s environment

and the citizens who will be affected by the

– and citizens – on the other.

construction. Tara Cassar, an architect who

The recent construction boom has reminded many how few viable natural resources can be found on the Maltese islands

works with FAA, has seen firsthand what Malta is going through. “Things have definitely been moving very

and how if we are not conscientious in the way

quickly with no signs of quieting down any time

we use the land, whether for cementing up or

soon,” she starts off. “The sharp growth in

otherwise, we could soon find ourselves in a

construction coupled with the systematic

concrete jungle of our own making. Or at least,

weakening of planning policies that we’ve seen

the making of a few in the construction industry.

over these past few years has made it clear

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 65


ENVIRONMENT

Photo: chris sant fournier

that our efforts to protect the environment and our heritage, and in turn push for the sustainable development of this island, are needed more than ever before.” With huge profits to be made off new buildings, there are few reasons that politicians or businessmen care about when it comes to keeping the natural environment as it was. to protect virgin land from prying speculative eyes, faa has in recent months pushed the issue of public domain. “Public domain is an opportunity to provide a desperately needed additional layer of protection for natural landscapes and sites of heritage presently at risk,” explains tara. “many opposers to

this law,” points out tara. “the increased focus on the public domain

the public domain are claiming that it would infringe upon land

we saw last month was not a result of sudden interest, but a direct

ownership rights but this is simply not true. We’ve even had some

result of the launch of the (obligatory) public consultation on these

individuals flood our facebook posts on the subject with

24 proposals that we put forward last year.”

ungrounded claims, denying the public their right to understand

“We submitted a number of vast sites across malta and Gozo,

fully how this law would actually benefit the maltese public

including manoel island, fomm ir-riħ, Delimara Peninsula and many

collectively. it needs to be made clear that the public domain will

others, but this is not enough,” she continues. “of course, the

not result in land being taken from their rightful owners - this is not

process of including sites in the public domain is not a one-time

what faa is proposing. What we are saying is that these sites are

thing. enGos and members of Parliament can put forward

irreplaceable and need all the protection available by law to ensure

proposals of new sites whenever they choose to. Public

that they are safeguarded and not spoilt beyond recognition.” the Public Domain law was just introduced in Parliament in 2016, and there are 24 sites that have been nominated to become public domain. more than half of these sites have been nominated by faa themselves – including sites like Wied Garnaw, villa Gwardamangia and comino. “following the launch of

consultation will then be launched once every year, as happened recently, giving people the chance to put forward their thoughts on these proposed sites.” this increased focus on public consultation and cooperation with citizens is central to faa’s modus operandi. “in the recent (and first) round of public consultation that closed on august 11, the joint petition launched by faa with friends

this act, faa, friends of

of the earth malta gathered over 5,500 signatures in favour of the

the earth malta and

inclusion of all 24 sites! this is a massive statement and proves that

environment minister

people want to see these sites protected.”

herrera submitted a total of 24 individual sites to be considered under the protection offered by

Photo: steve zammit luPi

66 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

Public domain is an opportunity to provide a desperat a ely at l ly needed additional lay a er of ay protection for nat a ural at landscapes and sites of herita t ge presently ta l at ly a risk



ENVIRONMENT

“Although as FAA we focus on issues of planning PHOTO: STEVE ZAMMIT LUPI

and overdevelopment, it must be said that the water and waste crisis we’re facing today is critical,” says Tara clearly. “Of course, at the end of the day it’s all related one of the reasons we can’t keep up with our waste is because of the astronomical amount of construction waste we’re creating as we keep dropping perfectly sound buildings and replacing them with blocks of unsustainably designed apartment blocks.” “When it comes to issues pertaining to the environment, we need to understand that you can’t just isolate one problem and forget about the rest,” she continues. It’s all linked. Sustainable development isn’t just solar panels and recycling bins – it’s about the underlying approach. With regards to

With new plans for construction being processed everyday, and more proposals always coming, it seems clear that the short term benefits are being prioritised over the long term

What’s the point of designated ODZ areas if we continue granting development permits?

construction, it’s about understanding how we build, where we build and about addressing needs as opposed to feeding land speculation for a quick return. We need to take action and change our approach today, whilst we’re still in time to do something about it.” With Malta’s environmental health being hit from so many sides, Tara and FAA call on the citizens of Malta to not continue down this road that can only end in environmental wreckage.

ones. “The problem is not individual proposals, but their cumulative impact,” sighs Tara. “The number of store

“We will not accept the chaos we’re being faced with today that’s being masked as ‘development’ when the

rooms, pools and now even full-blown villas, we’re seeing approved

truth is our streets are more akin to a warzone,” she ends. “There’s

is ridiculous. What’s the point of an Outside Development Zone

no real planning, no direction, no vision - our system’s a joke. If

[ODZ] if new development is still being permitted? Of course, we

things go on like this, what will remain of Malta? The development

can understand a farmer’s genuine need for a store room, but how

we’re seeing now isn’t healthy, it’s manic. We need to take stock and

can you justify converting a vast plot of unspoilt land into four villas

take responsibility for the mess we’re creating.”

with pools?” FAA suggests a new system as a form of policy. “The only way to change this is to have the policy allowing all this development scrapped and put forward an amended policy that allows genuine cases to go through whilst putting a stop to the current free-for-all system we’ve adopted.” After all, it’s not like the construction industry is the only thing wreaking havoc on Malta’s natural environment.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MIRABELLI

68 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017


€7 ,7 00

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EXCLUSIVE AGENTS FOR Published prices and offers are valid for contracts of sale signed until 31st December 2017. Power Plus Ltd reserves the right to alter prices. Solar output and return of investment are indicative only. Terms and conditions are subject to Government Grants & Feed-In tariffs. The qualification and application of any grant, subsidies or any applications is the sole responsibility of the client.



• 1-7 The Marigold Foundation - BOV in the Community held its annual fund raising White Cocktail Party at Fort St Elmo in Valletta. The Board of Trustees, volunteers and guests joined Mrs Michelle Muscat in celebrating the successful completion of her third swimming challenge, North to Port.

PA P APA AP PA RAZZII

• 8-11 The second Dress Down Day for 2017 organised by Bank of Valletta was dedicated to the volunteers of Dr Klown. Donning the inimitable red nose, BOV teams across the organisation swapped their formal attire for more casual clothes. Every employee gave a nominal donation to the NGO, whose volunteers work miracles every day with the youngest patients at Mater Dei and the General Hospital in Gozo. Here are some of the teams posing for photos to commemorate the day. • 12-14 BMW Malta and Muscats Motors partner up with Hugo’s for the MINI Countryman Competition. Kurt Schembri, the winner of the competition, is presented with the keys for his brand new MINI Countryman.

Anna Calleja and Michelle Muscat

Ritianne Cassar, Michelle Muscat, Jennifer Xuereb, Pamela Seychell and Maria Grech

Maria Dolores Mizzi, Michelle Muscat and Ray Mizzi

1

4

7

9

Antoinette Schembri; Emmeline Grixti; Lara Cassar; Charmaine Roe; Rachel Farrugia and Silvio Cassar

Claire Shephard, Henry Scicluna and Reka Ballova

12

Janice Bartolo, Serena Mukhi, Sunita Mukhi, Kevin Decesare and Anthony Miceli Demajo

2

5

Maruska Zammit, Robert Abela, Millicent Grech Scorfna, Simon Deguara, Stef Deguara and Sarah Camilleri

Coaches, athletes and parents from Special Olympics Malta with Michelle Muscat

Michelle Muscat, Kyra Pahlen and Michael Mathias

Brigitte Farrugia, Jennifer Bonnici, Isabelle Accarino Burnell, Kimberly Spiteri, Deidre Cachia, Christine Calleja, Maria Psaila, Alexandra Bunce, Angela Fenech, Lara Powney, Susanne Abella, Rosemarie Vassallo and Romina Grima

Michela Borg Gauci, Jeffrey Bonanno, Louise Plumpton, Alfred Buhagiar, Michael Desira and Ruth Camilleri with Dr Kontra and Dr Oopsi

Nathalie Galea, Gail Cuschieri and Emma Saliba

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13

3

6

8

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Chantelle Miceli, Jonathan Zammit, Chanelle Farrugia, Doreen Attard, Priscilla Attard, Matthias Cardona, Anne Conti, Jacob Meli and Geraldine Borg

Henry Scicluna, Claire Shephard, Kurt Schembri and Daniel Sissons

14

SEPTEMBER 2017 ∫ Sunday Circle 71


HEALTH

LACk OF FAITH AnD OveRCOMIng yOuR FeARS For some, dentistry is a sore point and

during treatment, lack of

not a topic of conversation. It could be

communication and cosmetic end

a subject that makes you churn and

result. They may have never been

even sweat. Why? A history of bad

offered the right treatment plan that

dentistry? Repeated toothache? Is it

suits them. These scenarios are not

true to say that not everyone is

necessarily associated with old age.

blessed with good teeth? I believe it is

Some patients have real dental

partly true. According to Darwin, we

problems early on in their adult

are both what our environment makes

lifetime. Some mothers say that their

us to be and what our parents made

teeth degenerated during pregnancy

us to be. Half and half! The

and early motherhood. An old wife’s

environment includes sugary diets and

tale? Maybe, however there might be

lack of hygiene while in some, genetics

some truth at least in timing as young

may predispose them to weak teeth.

career mothers have less time for

Some patients brush and brush

themselves and their daily needs

religiously and yet still develop cavities

resulting in a possible decrease in

or have gum disease. Others rarely or

dental care amongst others.

never brush, and yet have intact teeth with no gum disease. Some patients say they have been let down by their dentist. This could be due to poor treatment, pain

smile. All ages matter! Previous failure in fixing your teeth is nothing but the opportunity to start again! Ask your dentist!

smile (almost) but to be able to smile

A young woman in her late 40’s,

again, with confidence!

treated dentition. She is unhappy, disappointed and has almost given up

The treatment consisted of 2

Lateral view before treatment

stages.

STAGE 1

on finding a solution to her troubled

• Cosmetic crowning and veneering

smile. She was given a few options,

of the lower dentition

from jaw repositioning to removable

• Removal of remaining upper teeth

dentures, which were too extreme for

Extra-oral after treatment

It is never too late to fix your

A CASE STUDY:

presents with a poor-looking heavily

Extra-oral before treatment

and cyst

her. Her saving grace was that she

• Placement of 6 implants with

wasn’t expecting any miracles. She

simultaneous bone grafting

was realistic in what she wished to achieve and more than anything

STAGE 2

determined to get it done. 3D

• Provisional fixed bridge to assess

radiography showed more obstacles;

new tooth angulations, colour and

the presence of a large cyst, lack of

contour.

bone quantity both in width and

• Conversion of provisional

height, all difficult factors to deal with.

fixed-bridge to a definitive

Her wish was not to have a Hollywood

72 Sunday Circle ∫ SEPTEMBER 2017

Lateral view after treatment

porcelain-bridge.

Dr Jean Paul Demajo Dental and Implant Surgeon.