2 of my Still Life pictures will be on display at the SALON Exhibition at Waterhall Gallery, Birmingham. If you are around Birmingham between 12 and 2pm, feel free to visit the show. The exhibition offers over 100 works of contemporary art for sale by 80 artists from the West Midlands and beyond between 13 November to 23 December 2015. Works include paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, book and film.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery,
SKULL found at the Xagħra Circle. This is the skull of a woman, which was studied by forensic experts in order to recreate what she looked like when she was alive in the Neolithic.
The Xagħra Stone Circle is an underground funerary complex, situated in Xagħra on the Maltese island of Gozo. It was first discovered by John Otto Bayer in the 1820s and rediscovered in 1964 after Gozitan researcher Joe Attard Tabone examined a painting by Charles Brochtorff in the National Library in Valletta. The site was excavated by a joint team from the University of Malta, the Maltese Museums Department and the University of Cambridge. The excavation uncovered the burial ground of the same community which practiced its rituals in the nearby Ggantija Temples, dating principally to the period from 3000 to 2500 BC. The most notable discoveries include more than 200,000 human bones and prehistoric art relating to the builders of the prehistoric Maltese temples. An earlier chambered tomb on site dates to the period between 4100 and 3800 BC.
The Palace Armoury is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armour that is still housed in its original building. The Knights of St John were a unique brotherhood of resolute warrior monks. From Malta, their island stronghold, these combatant aristocrats from the noblest houses of Europe, carried out their relentless crusade against the Ottoman Turks in defence of the Catholic faith. The Palace Armoury is certainly one of the most visible and tangible symbols of the past glories of the Sovereign Hospitaller Military Order of Malta.
Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt transferred the Order’s arsenal to the Magisterial Palace in 1604 where it was the pride of the Order. Apart from being lavishly adorned with elaborate trophies of arms, it held enough arms and armour to equip thousands of soldiers. It was housed in the magnificent hall at the rear of the building, right above its present location. At present, it is displayed inside two halls that were originally the stables of the palace.
Following the forced departure of the Order of St. John from Malta, the armoury somehow lost much of its original grandeur. However, it was restored and was officially opened as Malta’s first public museum in 1860. Although only a fraction of its original splendour remains, the Armoury still contains abundant material of Italian, German, French and Spanish origin from principal production centres. Also displayed is an exotic selection of Islamic and Ottoman arms and armour. Apart from the massed arms of the common soldiers in the collection, the enriched personal armours of the nobility still manage to make a statement.
The National Museum of Archaeology displays a significant array of artefacts from the Islands’ unique prehistoric periods, starting with the first arrival of man in 5200 BC, running up to 2500 BC. The first rooms trace man’s early settlement on the Islands up to the temple-building periods using a reconstruction of a rock-cut tomb. The collection includes obsidian cores and the Red Skorba figurines, which are predecessors of the temple period objects and statuary. The main hall is devoted to temple carvings and the collection continues with representations of animals, temple models, and the remarkable human figures. Of particular note are the exquisite figures of the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Hypogeum, and the ‘Venus’ of Hagar Qim. The last room exhibits some pottery from the temple period, together with tools, beads and other ornaments.
The National Museum of Archaeology is housed in the Auberge de Provence, in Republic Street, Valletta. The building, an example of fine Baroque architecture, was built in 1571 and followed a plan by local architect Ġilormu Cassar. The Auberge de Provence was house to the Knights of the Order of St John originating from Provence, France and displays beautiful architectural features. Of particular note is the Grand Salon, with its richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling. The Museum exhibits a spectacular range of artefacts dating back to Malta’s Neolithic period (5000 BC) up to the Phoenician Period (400 BC). On display are the earliest tools used by the prehistoric people to facilitate their daily tasks and representations of animal and human figures; elements which not only show the great artistic skills of the first dwellers of the island but also gives us an insight of their daily lives.
Highlights include the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, the ‘Venus of Malta’ from Ħaġar Qim, bronze daggers recovered from the Bronze Age layers at Tarxien Temples, and the Horus and Anubis pendant and the anthropomorphic sarcophagus, both belonging to the Phoenician Period. The Museum provides the visitor with a good introduction to the prehistory and early history of the Maltese Island sand acts as a catalyst to the other archaeological sites in Malta. Works are currently in progress to include another hall dedicated to the Punic period and others dedicated to the Roman and Byzantine periods in Malta.
The Marsaxlokk fish market is a very popular attraction featuring in many guide books and therefore attracts many tourists and locals who go to buy fresh fish and seafood caught during the same morning.
The market is very interesting and attractive as different fish and seafood from the Mediterranean are displayed here and prices are cheaper than in the shops. This is also a great way for children to see how the fish look, and some of fish and octopus are still alive.
Although the Marsaxlokk Sunday Market was originally a fish market, it has developed, and now it also sells locally produced honey, fruit jams, wine as well as vegetables, souvenirs and clothes. After shopping at the market, you can have lunch in one of the many seafood restaurants scattered in the picturesque bay of Marsaxlokk. If you are looking for other local produce and fresh vegetables visit the farmers market in Ta’ Qali.