In a bit of a last minute plan, I whizzed off to Malta to celebrate New Year. It’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for a long time – my grandparents lived there for a few years after WWII, and we have some lovely family stories about their time on the island.
The weather wasn’t all that great when I arrived, but it got better! A highlight was dancing in a big crowd of people in St George’s Square in Valletta on New Years Eve as snow fell… I had a gorgeous time wandering about different areas exploring, popping into cafes to warm up and draw, scrabbling about on cliffs, finding churches and museums.
One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was discovering Malta’s archaeological story. Scattered around Malta and Gozo are the tantalising remains of a culture that lived between 3600 – 2500BC. It’s hard to conceive what human lives might have been like so long ago…and the interpretation at the sites encouraged you to use your own imagination a fair bit, as information is missing about the intentions of the culture – speculating as I drifted around the temples was a lovely thing to do.
The buildings that have been found are temples like those at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, which have some astrological features a bit like Stonehenge – areas line up with the light on the solstices. I was also lucky enough to get a ticket for the underground necropolis at Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, which was a real privilege as you generally have to book well in advance (TIP: a few tickets are available at 9am the day before from the Fine Art Museum in Valletta). There were some incredible sculptures discovered at the sites that I just fell in love with, many featuring very curvy women and hugely fat figures that could be male or female. These can be seen in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, and were really inspiring.
I also spent time looking at and thinking about Roman Catholic saints and angels, drawing people with wings and halos…
And here are a few more…
Tags: 2015, angels, archaeology, drawing, goddess, hagar qim, hal saflieni, illustration, malta, mnajdra, museums, new years eve, saints, sketchbook, sleeping lady, valletta