Zodiak part 3

Hi gang,

Logo for the Notta Bianca organizers

The days are going so fast now – only 48 hours and we will be celebrating Notte Bianca 2011! As the big Saturday is approaching quickly, we are making the latest preparations. Martin Galea de Giovanni and Malicia Dabrowicz are working hard at theMessinaPalacein Valetta hanging the works and arranging everything while Matt Griffiths and Rita Dabrowicz are trying to reveal the final works for the ASTRAL ROOM. 

Our collective exhibition is being hosted byGerman-Maltese Circle.

If you are planning to see us, please visit their official website for more details how to reach theMessinaPalace.



All right! So far, we have presented (and explained) eight Zodiac signs. Only four are now left so let’s not waste another second and continue our journey as the beautiful Aries is shining brightly right before us!

ARIES – a gift from the gods


Element: Fire

Date: 20th of March – 20th of May

Planet: Mars

Brightest star: Hamal

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi resolution of this image can be found HERE

Rita: Aries is a unique piece – it was very hard to achieve this semi transparent effect. I wanted to make her visible yet hidden, like she was covered by veil. I’m truly proud how she turned out!

Matt: Aries reminds me of a walk in the winter forest. This is one of my favorites, great job with the coloring! The woman on the sketch is namedVictoria.

The first sign of the Zodiac, Aries or The Ram, is tied to the popular Greek myth of the Golden Fleece. Nephele, a cloud nymph, beautiful and gentle creation of Zeus, has been given as the gift to King Athamas of Beotia and became his wife. Raised on Olympus, Nephele was not treated with respect by her husband and the marriage was not a happy one. When Athamas found himself a new bride Ino, he sent Nephele back but kept her children with him: a son named Phrixus and his twin sister Helle. Ino – a princess of Thebes- was a proud woman coming from a sacred clan. As the aunt to the god of wine Dionysus, she felt superior to Nephele and her offspring. In time, Ino became extremely jealous of them, especially that Athamas favored Phrixus and Helle over Ino’s own children. Planning to have them killed, Ino came up with an evil plan. She burned all seeds preventing them from growing once planted. When the famine started, farmers asked king to consult the Delphic Oracle how to prevent the disaster. Ino then bribed the messenger to deliver a false prophecy saying that Nephele’s children should be sacrificed to Zeus. In the last moment, the twins were saved by their mother who sent Khrysomallos, a winged golden-fleeced ram to take them to a safe place. Phrixus asked his sister not to look down as she was afraid of heights. Unfortunately, Helle grew tired of the flight and looked underneath her trying to locate the land. Once she saw only the endless ocean down below, the fear overtook her and she fell into the water. Her brother reached the land safely and mourned her. He named the place where she fell in her honor as Hellespontos – “thesea ofHelle”. Helle didn’t drown, but could never leave the ocean again. On the request of Nephele, Poseidon turned her into a sea goddess and placed the ram among the stars as a symbol of Helle’s journey.

CANCER – the faithful servant


Element: Water

Date: 21st of June – 23rd of July

Planet: Moon

Brightest star: Tarf

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi resolution of this image can be found HERE

Rita: Cancer is one of my favorite works in the series. The lady drawn by Matt has a Japanese feeling to her – she is both, mysterious and seductive!

Matt: The lady here seems to be looking through blinds or curtains of some sort. I think it reminds me of an old portrait photograph – it’s a shame they are not being made anymore.

Cancer – the fourth astronomical sign has been associated with moon and the element of water from the ancient times. Because of this, the crab, as it is also known, became the symbol of lunar deities in many cultures around the world. For Romans, the cancer was a sacred animal of Juno, in Greeceit was equally dedicated to Selene, Nix and Artemis. The most popular tale ties the crab to Hera, the ever-jealous wife of Zeus. When Hera placed a curse upon Heracles, Zeus’s son by Alcmene, in a moment of insanity, he killed his first wife Megaraand 6 sons.  His punishment was to perform 12 labors for the king Eurystheus to atone for his actions. The second task given to Hercules was to kill the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, a favorite of Hera. When the goddess found out that one of her pets was loosing the fight to the hated Heracles, she set a giant Carcinus crab to distract the hero, allowing the Hydra to kill him. Unfortunately, the crab could do nothing more than to grab a hold of Hercules’ toe with its pincer. Enraged by the pain, Hercules smashed the crab with his other foot, killing it instantly. For a long period of time, Hera could not get over the death of two pupils of her. Honoring them, she put both the crab and the Hydra in the sky close to each other.

LEO – the fearless opponent


Element: Fire

Date: 23rd of July – 23rd of August

Planet: Sun

Brightest star: Regulus

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi resolution of this image can be found HERE

Rita: This is my favorite work (except Cancer) and it took 3 days to be completed. If you look closely, you can see a very simple sketch and composition. Believe me, working on it was a real challenge!

Matt: Leo looks like being painted on an old canvas or papyrus maybe mostly because of the strange golden color. The sketch was inspired by a popular video game character, but you have to guess which one it is!

Leo is the exact opposite of Cancer. The fifth astronomical sign has fire as its element and is ruled by the Sun. For millennia, it has been known as the symbol of the Sun and personification of solar deities. In almost every culture Leo constellation has been presented as lion. In Egypt, the lion is the servant and sacred animal of Bastet, the cat goddess and Sekhmet, the lion headed huntress. Lions are constant companions of the letter and were given to her as a wedding present from her father, the sun god Ra. Sekhmet had her temples built near the deserts as it was believed she created them in her lion form by performing an act of breathing. As the guardians of pharaohs and queens of Egypt, lions were always placed on royal sarcophaguses and inside the pyramids. The sphinx (part woman – part lion) was regarded as Sekhmet’s handmaiden or a child. Phrygian fertility goddess Cybele (equivalent of Greek Gaia) was known to take the shape of a lioness when she was visiting the Earth. Her carriage was also pulled by a pair of wild lions. In Hinduism, Durga, one of the Devi, is portrayed as lioness or as ten-arms beautiful woman riding a lion.

CAPRICORN – the gentle soul


Element: Earth

Date: 22nd of December – 20th of January

Planet: Saturn

Brightest star: Deneb Algedi (aka Scheddi)

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi resolution of this image can be found HERE

Rita: Capricorn, the green lady as I call her, took full three days to be completed. The sketch was based on me (yay!) and turned out perfectly. This one is my mom’s favorite J

Matt: I remember the original photograph – it looked kind of charming (haha!). To me this artwork has a leafy texture. There are lots of different shades of yellow and green.

Capricornus or (Capricorn for short) is the tenth astral sign and the oldest sign in the Zodiac. It has been portrayed as the hybrid of fish and goat since the Bronze Age. Capricorn is also known as goat or the sea-goat and represents the peaceful side of world, prosperity and harmony. Capricorn is linked to the myth of Amalthea, the goddess who took shape of a goat to feed Zeus hidden in a cave on Mount Aigaion (Goat Mountain). When Zeus grew up, he placed the goat in the sky as a gesture of his gratitude. Broken horn of Amalthea became the Horn of Plenty or The Cornucopia. Romans associated Amalthea with goddess Juno. One of the epithets describing her was Juno Caprotina – the she goat.  Her festivities were held on the 7th of July each year.

All right! Our journey has come to an end. That’s all 12 zodiac signs in their entire glory.

Of course, scanned images or photographs do not do them justice. If you want to see how they look like in reality, please visit the Messina Palace on Saturday. We will be waiting there for you!

Please stay tuned, more information is coming very, very soon!


Rita and Matt

Zodiak part 2

 Ahoy star sailors!

Notte Bianca banner

Notte Bianca is just 4 days ahead of us! Please let us remind you that the official opening of our exhibition will take place on October 1st in Valetta, during the Notte Bianca 2011 celebration. We are hosting the ASTRAL ROOM in co-operation withGerman Maltese Circlein beautifulMessinaPalace.

Please visit the webpage for more information about the event:


Or see the promotional poster with all important information on one sheet of paper (download HERE)

direct link:


Martin Galea de Giovanni and Malicia Dabrowicz will present their series of pictures while Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths have prepared a unique presentation of astrological signs. That being said let us continue our star trail as we are approaching the four next Zodiac ladies.


TAURUS – the heavenly warrior

Element: Earth

Date: 20th of April – 21st of May

Planet: Venus

Brightest star: Aldebaran

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE

Rita: Taurus was the first zodiac sign created after two years of break. I wanted to make her look a little bit different than the previous ones, but alike at the same time. Taurus is a female warrior. There is something oriental about her, in the set of colors used and in the overall look of the artwork.

Matt: Taurus was created as a character for the game me and my friend Spugs are working on at the moment. You can say, this is the concept art for the main character. She is the daughter of a warlord and the red hue suits her temperament.

Taurus, the second star sign of the Zodiac is ruled by the element of Erath. People born under this sign are said to be very powerful, strong willed but also practical and down-to-earth. They do not desire glory and wealth but nobody should question their authorityJ

Almost all knows stars in the Taurus constellation are connected to a story or a myth. The brightest star, Aldebaran, also known as The Bull, is linked to the tale of Europa. After watching the princess Europa picking up flowers from a field, Zeus fell in love in her and tried to marry her. The princess was not interested, so the Greek god had to turn himself into a white bull and in this form he kidnapped the princess and brought her toCrete, where she became known as the Bull priestess. Another person connected to the star is Ariadne, the daughter of Minos who helped Theseus escape the labyrinth build by her father. Adriane is also an important figure in Etruscan mythology under the name Areatha. As Areatha, she is the symbol of sun and rides in a carriage pulled by bulls. The Pleiades, an open star cluster, are said to be the daughters of Atlas. The seven sisters shine so brightly in the night sky that they can be seen with a naked eye. They were turned into stars after Atlas was order to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. Close to them are The Hyades – bringers of rain. Half sisters to the Pleiades, the nymphs were so grief-stricken after the death of their only brother, that the Gods turned them into the stars not knowing how else to ease their suffering. Taurus is also the symbol of Venus (Aphrodite), and is said to watch over the goddess while she bathes so no mortal man can see her. Eos, the goddess of dawn, is also associated with the bull, as it helps her to ride the sky each morning. The bull (or sometimes a cow) was the sacred animal of Freya, the goddess of fertility and love in the Scandinavian lore.

SAGITTARIUS – lady with a bow

Element: Fire

Date: 22nd of November – 22ndof December

Planet: Jupiter

Brightest star: Epsilon Sagittarii (binary star)

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE

Rita: Sagittarius took nearly 3 days to be completed – it was a real challenge! The silver artistic thread had to be glued by hand – believe me, my back was sore!

Matt: The sketch that became Sagittarius is an older one. I drew that a long time ago, but I don’t remember exactly when. It was inspired by a photo shoot inTokyo with the models posing at the top of a tower. It was that sort of slightly beneath view that just seemed very cool.

In Western civilization the Sagittarius, the ninth zodiac sign, is usually being associated with the wise centaur Chiron. However, in Greek and Roman tradition, the archer was the representation of Diana (Artemis), the virgin goddess of hunting and war. As the twin sister of Apollo, Artemis was an avid huntress, especially skilled in the use of a bow. She was the only one who could match her brother or beat him in a shooting competition. Artemis was very proud of her skills, always ready for a challenge or duel. In poetry, she was described as the one “who amuses herself on mountains with archery”. According to legends, at the age of three, Artemis asked her father Zeus to grant several of her wishes. She demanded to be supplied with a golden bow and never missing arrows, all female hunting companions, 20 handmaidens who took care of her bow and dogs while she rested and a hunting tunic. Artemis (as well as Diana) used the bow to punish those who offended her or her family. When Niobe boasted as being superior to Leto (Artemis’ mother) because she had 14 kids, enraged goddess killed 7 Niobe’s daughters with poisoned arrows. Similarly, she killed Chione and Aura after they disputed her beauty or skills. Another famous female huntress from Greek mythology was named Atalanta. The Arcadian princess was left in the mountains to die as a child. Raised by hunters, she became a mighty warrior herself. Atalanta was the only woman to take part in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. She managed to wound the monster with her arrow drawing the first blood. For doing that, she was awarded the animal skin and gained the immortal fame.

PISCES – protector of the waters

Element: Water

Date: 19th of February – 20thof March


Brightest star: Eta Piscium (Kullat Nunu)

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE

Rita: One of the most abstract works in the series. Pisces were inspired by the Japanese “Ring” series of horror movies. I love the blue bow in this picture – but it is very hard to notice it!

Matt: Being an abstract work, it is very hard to notice the original sketch. However I think it looks like a very deep, green sea. That or corroded metal.

Pisces, the protector of water and oceans, is the twelfth zodiac sign, ruled by the element of water. According to a Greek legend, the Olympian gods were once forced to take the shape of animals to escape the earthborn giant Typhon. Most of them chose to take the shape of birds, but Aphrodite and her son Eros were trapped in an ocean. To escape the monster, they morphed into two fish connected with a cord and swam to safety to the other side of the river Euphrates. After the unpleasant adventure, Aphrodite made the Pisces the protector of all waters on Earth and placed them among the stars. In Syrian mythology, the Pisces are the symbol of Atargatis – the fish queen and the goddess of water. One of the most interesting tales about the sea rulers is the myth of Hatmehit – Egiptian water entity. As one of the oldest goddesses, her name could be translated as the “Great Flood”. She was such a powerful monarch, that even the fabled sea monsters were afraid of her anger. Hatmehit was the   consort of Osiris and mother of Horus. She commanded an army of fish tasked with finding sailors lost at sea and saving their lives. Her temple was in the delta city ofMendes and it is said that all fish kept there were treated as sacred animals, thus were not allowed to be harmed, killed or eaten.

LIBRA – the scale of justice

Element: Air

Date: 23rdof September – 23rd of October

Planet: Venus

Brightest star: Zubeneschamali

Copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE

Rita: This artwork gave me lots of trouble. The seeds were hardly sticking to the surface and the ribbon was making the paper to curl inwards. But after all, it simply looks great!

Matt: Libra came out amazingly well. I love the way it is painted, the thick outlines make it look like an entirely separate piece from the background. The sketch is based on a girl I knew ages ago. We were members of the same Internet forum.

The seventh astronomical sign, Libra has always been considered the luckiest of all signs of the Zodiac. People born under this sign are said to be natural players, enjoying games, competitions and bets of any sort. Libra is also an ancient symbol of justice and is being represented by the goddess Astraea. The ambassador of Gods among Men, Astraea listened to all cases presented to her and judged wisely. The greed of people, their lies in her courtroom and complete lack of morals made her leave the Earth at the end of the Silver Age and look for shelter in the sky. Another goddess, Dike (Moral Justice) has left with her and both will return one day to restore the old order and bring back the Golden Age. Egyptian equivalent of Astraea, goddess Ma’at was regarded to be the concept of an absolute truth. According to the myth, she was weighting on her scale the deeds of every soul that entered the Underworld. If the soul was as light as the feather, Ma’at would let it continue on its journey to heavens.

Star travelers, it’s time to stop and rest.

Please return tomorrow as we are not done yet!

Have fun,


Zodiak part 1


Logo for Notte Bianca 2011

Time flies when you are having fun. Indeed! The time is flying so fast that Notte Bianca is round the corner now. In just under a week, we will be celebrating the white night of art with hundreds of other artists from all around the world and thousands of visitors. Our project is known as “THE ASTRAL ROOM” and will be presented inMessinaPalacein co-operation with German-Maltese Circle, in Valetta. The exhibition will open on October the 1st and will last for two weeks.

Banner for German - Maltese Circle

Please visit the website of our host for more information HERE

 or by the link below:


The art collective known as PHOS consists of Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz, British artist Matt Griffiths and Maltese photographer Martin Galea De Giovanni. Martin and Malicia will be displaying their photography inspired by stars and astrology, while Rita and Matt prepared a series of 12 artworks depicting astrological signs as women. The signs are present in many cultures and over the centuries gained many different meanings. Astral Room series will try to portray each sign as a feminine character from tales, myths and unique artistic perspective.

AQUARIUS – the lady of the water

Element: Water

Date: 20th January – 19th February

Planet: Uranus

Brightest star: Sadalsuud

copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE:

Rita: It is the first artwork in the series and holds a special position for me. I like the blue color and the underwater feeling of the artwork.

Matt: I remember working on the sketch during one boring Sunday afternoon and drawing for fun. I quickly realized drew something unique and shared the results with others. I am very proud of the outcome – the lady looks like she is floating in space closed in a giant water bubble.

The project was born in 2008 when Matt, while practicing his drawing skills, came up with a sketch of a sitting female, with her legs crossed, looking into the distance as if she was waiting for something. He showed the sketch to his friends who were all impressed by the details and serene atmosphere of the artwork. Finally, the sketch was given to Rita who decided to color it using an abstract method. The result was simply stunning – the underwater lady became the Aquarius, the 11th zodiac sign and the first work in the entire series.

In legends, Aquarius is typically presented as a male, a beautiful Greek boy kidnapped by Zeus to become a cup bearer to Olympian Gods. Here, the boy becomes a woman trapped under the water, awaiting her release. 

In Babylonian and Egyptian tales, the water carrier is a woman, the goddess of water or the spirit of the riverNile. She is so powerful that she has to be tamed by river banks and valleys created by other gods. She is the giver of life as her waters are flooding the fields allowing people to grow crops.


VIRGO – the virgin goddess

Element: Earth

Date: 23rd August – 23rd September

Planet: Mercury

Brightest star: Spica

copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE:

Virgo was first entitled “Venus” after the Bananarama song. I like the background the most; I have used 7 different layers of paint to create it!

Matt: The sketch was inspired by the art of Luis Royo. I think her face is somewhat angry or disappointed, but still I am extremely proud of her. This is one of my favorite works in the series.

Virgo – the maiden, the princess, the goddess – this sign has been given many names. Virgo is the most feminine zodiac sign and the symbol of social justice and grace. As a sixth sign, she rules the element of earth and marks the beginning of astronomical autumn. She has been tied to several goddesses including Demeter, her daughter Persephone, Ceres and the great Egyptian Isis. In Roman mythology, Virgo is the goddess of Justice, Astraea. She was so tired of raging wars caused by men that she decided to leave the Earth forever. As she loved the humans more than any other god, she was the last celestial entity to leave. For that she was placed in the sky as the symbol of unity of love. She holds the Libra, the scale in her hands. Sumerian legends are presenting Virgo as the Goddess Nidaba – the learner, creator and inventor of harvests. Nidaba was the close associate of Enki – the god of wisdom. She created the regional boarders, separated the lands from water, created countries and mountain ranges. She intellectual skills are said to be given to all born under her sign.


SCORPIO – the fire within

Element: Water

Date: 23rd of October – 22nd of November

Planet: Mars/Pluto (co-rulers)

Brightest star: Antares

copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE:

Rita: As a Scorpio myself, I live by the motto “Woe to my enemies” 🙂 This artwork was colored to the sound of a beautiful song by Brett Anderson “The Scorpio Rising”. I like the red color as I believe the sign is more fire than water 🙂

Matt: Scorpio is unique to me for several reasons. First, the sketch that was used to create this artwork has been drawn under similar circumstances like Aquarius – on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It was perfect from the very beginning – there was no need to fix or change anything. The thick, golden lines around the figure symbolize a barrier that cannot be easily passed. The lady seems to be protected by an aura of power – or by the fire that burns from within.

Scorpio is regarded as the deadliest zodiac sign. It is the symbol of war, fire, death, but also the eternal life and being reborn. Scorpio was a powerful force in alchemy and ancient magic – today it symbolizes a detective or an undercover agent. As the eight sign, Scorpio is ruled by Mars – the god of War and by Pluto (Hades) – the god of Death. Its element is water, but judging by the fierce character of people born under this sign, the water must be boiling hot! Several legends are describing this dangerous sign. The most popular tale is the Greek myth about the deadly competition between Artemis and Orion – two excellent hunters. Artemis won and the punishment for Orion was to be killed by Scorpio sent by the Goddess. In several version of the myth it is Artemis herself who turns into the Scorpio to punish the mortal. Romans believed that it wasn’t Artemis who decided to kill Orion, but the Earth Goddess Gaia trying to stop him from overhunting the animals that inhabited the Earth. Whoever took the form of the Scorpio was convincing enough to make Orion run for his life. The eternal chase is still on, as Orion is always on the opposite side of the night sky – when Scorpio raises, Orion scurries away from his attacker.

In Babylonian legends, Scorpio is the female guardian of light and darkness, the mother of the Scorpion men that open the door for the Sun when it is travelling out at Dawn and closing the doors at Dusk when the Sun returns to the underworld for the night.

GEMINI – the twin sisters


Element: Air

Date: 21st of May – 21st of June

Planet: Mercury

Brightest star: Pollux

copyrights by Rita Dabrowicz and Matt Griffiths

Hi-resolution image can be seen HERE:

Rita: Gemini was inspired by Rorschach inkblot tests – it was created by mirroring the sketch provided by Matt. The abstract form makes it very hard to see the separate images – some people have seen birds, frogs and other animals while looking at it!

Matt: The artwork is very confusing to those who see it – it can confuse your mind to the point that you are not sure what you are looking at! I think Gemini is the cute version of mythical Cuthulu 🙂

Twin brothers or twin sisters appear in every culture in the world. They represent the dualist nature of the world: the day and night, light and darkness, the good and the bad. Their source of existence is always the same, their nature always changing and unpredictable. Twins are the separate halves of the same whole, connected by mysterious bond that nobody but them can understand. Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo, the maiden huntress from Greek tales. Helen of Troy was the twin sister of Clytemnestra; both were born from an egg laid by Leda. In Sumerian myths, the powerful Nut – the goddess of sky is the twin sister (and the better half) of the Earth god Geb. The most famous twin sisters however come from the Mesopotamian lore – the tale of Innana the goddess of love and her trip to the underworld to pay a visit to her sister Ereshkigal has been the central concept in the circle of Life saga.

Flyer for Notte Bianca 2011

Those are the first 4 ZODIAK signs prepared by us. Please check in soon to learn about the rest!

Hope to see you here soon.


Urban Picnic


Photo by Mal

Last week we have taken part in an event in Birkirkara organized by Friends of The Earth Malta on the occasion of Car Free Day. It was one of few events that were organized all over the Island and we have to admit it was pretty impressive. You have to know that this island has just 300 km square (and that’s divided between islands of Malta, Comino and Gozo with a sea channels in between) and the population here is over 500 000.

Photo by Mal

Annually, Maltahosts 2-3 millions of tourists. Density here is comparable with Hong Kong (or slightly bigger to be exact), most locals travel by cars.  

In other words, it is a small, populated place yet highly visited due to its weather, beautiful landmarks (try to see Valletta and claim you don’t like it!) and food.

Photo by Mal

In such conditions to have a day without cars is a challenge, not to mention if you plan to organize an urban picnic in the main village square with kick boxing, segway rides and a whole rugby team.  

Photo by Mal

Well, Friends of The Earth like challenges. They have been fighting high level adversaries (hunters, contractors, and other plagues) and they know how to do their job. That’s why the picnic was such a fun.

Photo by Mal

Photoby MalPhoto by Mal

First and foremost we had a nice stand and a great company with Europa Donna Malta (a breast cancer support group) and CoreGreen EcoFood and EcoEvents among others.

Photo by Raissa Tarassova

Photo by Mal

In short description, we had attended a show of kick boxing group, we tried a ride on a segway (singing “White and Nerdy” – you know just like in Weird Al`s video), we played loud music (anything from Sabrina and Bananarama to Metallica!), ate home made food. Birkirkara Alligators joined the crew in the afternoon and organized games, competitions that looked easy but made your head spin for an hour 😉 (Kids don’t try to turn around 20 times with your head touching a broomstick!), they made a human pyramid and generally had the best time ever.

Photo by Mal, our friend Raissa under a BIG umbrella

Photo by MalPhoto by Mal, our friend Raissa under a BIG umbrella

There were very little people coming to join us but those who came, had a great time. We got sunburned, had met some fantastic people and spent a whole day outside. Even if we didn’t sell anything, it wasn’t that important. After all there will be other occasions for it and Car Free Day was happening only once.

Photo by Mal

Photo by Jason Zammit

It’s worth noticing that there were other places doing the same thing and day later the biggest newspaper on the island The Times of Malta had a large article and a feature on the back about the whole idea of leaving you car in the garage even for a day. You can see the link HERE and scans are uploaded below.

copyrights Times of Malta (text Matthew Bonnaco, photo Alan Carville)

copyright Times of Malta (photo Alan Carville)

Thank you all that attended. Rita and I will be definitely coming back. It was the best picnic of the year!



You can’t see a cat while you drive a car

You can’t see a cat while you drive a car

Preparations on the way!

Hello everyone! Who wouldn’t agree with a title of our blog? So many things are missed, while we sit in fast moving vehicles, separated from the outside world with a glass shields and having our eyes glued to the road. Luckily, from time to time, we can afford to lock our cars in garages, take a walk on foot and finally look around.

If you’d like to enjoy a day without cars, please visit Birkirkara tomorrow (Sunday, 18th of September) where Car Free Day 2011 will be taking place between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The event is organized by Friends of the Earth Malta, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and the Birkirkara Local Council. To ensure the safety of our visitors, the entire main square around St. Helen’s Church will be closed to traffic during that time.

To learn more about the Event, please visit Car Free Day 2011 FaceBook page.  

You can also pay a visit to Friends of the Earth Malta official Facebook to say hello 😀

As we have co-operated with people of Friends of the Earth before, we couldn’t say no when they invited local artists to join their cause. And so you shall find us tomorrow in Birkirkara, proving one very obvious truth: You cannot see a cat from your car. To truly see them (and of course to truly appreciate them) you need to walk, or even better, to stop for a moment and observe. You will notice then that something is staring right back at you with a pair of wide, glowing eyes. Cats do not drive and are never in hurry. It is a real shame that we cannot afford to take an example of them! Life would be so much easier!

Event poster again

In previous posts, we have presented several new artworks from Rita’s Cat Collection series. However, Rita’s interests are not only limited to paintings. Recently, she teamed up with Olympia Dabrowicz (Rita and Mal’s mom) and prepared something completely different: cat figurines and mini series of unique soap dishes. All items have been designed by Olympia and hand made and painted by Rita.

The Cat figurines are made from self drying, non toxic and natural artistic clay. They have been shaped by hand without the use of skeleton. This means, there is nothing inside the figurine but clay itself, no metal parts or wood to support the construction. Each figurine weights around 0, 5 kilogram and they are painted with natural pearlescent acrylics. Also, they have been covered by protective layer of varnish to make them water resistant. User electric bulbs have been used as the cat eyes. There are three cats in the series: Adhara, Tarf and Nihal – they all come in decorated boxes with their own name tag and description.

Adhara – a cat with the stars in her eyes


Adhara by Rita and Olympia Dabrowicz

Hi-res image can be found HERE

Adhara is the only female cat in the series. She represents Epsilon Canis Majoris, the second brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. Adhara has been known to ancient civilizations and was very respected by traders and travellers. As one of the brightest stars in the night sky, she has been called the guiding light. Those following her are said to never get lost or wander astray. She is the keeper and the protector of those in need. If you look into her eyes, you will see distant galaxies and stars. Red is her colour and she wears a magical cat bell around her neck. Adhara will ring her bell to alert everyone of the approaching danger.


Nihal – a cat born under the lucky star


By Rita and Olympia Dabrowicz

Hi-res image can be found HERE

Nihal is the older brother of Adhara and represents Beta Leporis, the second brightest star in the constellation of Lepus (Hare). As his sister, he has been known to human kind for centuries. He is a double star, shining more than 165 times brighter than our Sun. Nihal is associated with the water and his name can be translated as “quenching the thirst”. Blue is his colour and he is equipped with a lock and the key. Nihal is also a protector, but he protects one’s secrets, desires and dreams.


Tarf – a cat that walked among the stars


By Rita and Olympia Dabrowicz

Hi-res image can be found HERE

Tarf is the youngest of all three cats, also a brother to Adhara and Nihal. He represents Beta Cancri, the brightest star in the constellation Cancer. A well known star in the Arabic lore, it was a part of the constellation of Leo, his name translating exactly to “the eye or the gaze of a Lion”. Tarf is a wanderer by nature and cannot stay in one place for too long. He walks his own paths among the stars and carefully watches the sky. His colour is green and he wears an all-seeing eye. He can see all things done by men: the good and the bad.

All together now. Photo by Malicia

 Hi-res image can be found HERE


The other mini series prepared especially for the occasion is the Soap dish collection. It contains two glass soap dishes and a plastic one. All three items were designed by Olympia Dabrowicz and hand painted by Rita as well. As the figurines, they have been covered with water resistant varnish.

The Blue cat dish


By Rita and Olympia Dabrowicz

Hi-res image can be found HERE

This is the first of the two glass soap dishes. The blue cat has been drawn using liquid acrylics and silver artistic pigment, giving the dish its distinctive silvery glow. The cat’s eyes are made from pointy metallic beads that help to hold the soap in place. Thanks to four glass “legs”, the dish can stand steadily on slippery surfaces.


The White cat dish


By Rita and Olympia Dabrowicz

Hi-res image can be found HERE

The second glass dish is Rita’s favourite. It has a cartoon design and words “soap” and “katt” written on the sides. The white cat has been painted using white emulsion and pink acrylics. Cat’s eyes are painted with fluorescent pigment that will glow in the dark when the dish is exposed to bright sunlight. The little heart and yellow footprints make it an ideal present for any cat loving child.


The Yellow cat dish


By Rita and Olympia Dabrowicz

Hi-res image can be found HERE

The last dish was a true experiment.Olympiahas bought it in a chain supermarket with intention of turning an ugly piece of plastic into a small bathroom artwork. The original colour (pink panties shade as we call it!) was removed using bleach without scratching the surface. Then the back and inside of the dish were painted with an abstract mixture of golden yellow, royal red, copper, crimson and black. Cat’s eyes and legs (small crystal coloured beads) were added at the latest stage along with a double layer of water resistant varnish. As other dishes, it has four glass legs to keep it in the right position.

All items and other cat artefacts will on sale on our stand. Please ask the organizers if you have any difficulties with finding us!

See you all tomorrow!

And don’t forget to forget the cars.

Just for one day, anyway 🙂


Mal and Rita

Stars look down on me

Another day, another update

And more awesome news!

Folks, the poster for the event is ready! If you wish, you can download the copy and use it to promote the project. It has been designed by our own Martin Galea De Giovanni and you gotta admit, he’s done a splendid job. All the dates and address and even the links are there, so there will be no excuses for not visiting us on the night 😉

official poster, designed by Martin Galea De Giovanni

But of course that’s not all!

Time has come to start revealing the artworks. We begin with the photography of Martin who will take us on a tour through the astral bodies. Below you will find all ten images that Martin has prepared for the night.

Martin runs his own WEBSITE so please, visit him and leave him some nice comments. He was also kind enough to provide a detailed description of each piece.

So without any further delay, let’s see some extraordinary photography:

01. Star Watching


Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

….at last in sight the Centaur drew,

A mighty grey horse trotting down the glade,

Over whose back the long grey locks were laid,

That from his reverend head aboard did flow ;

For to the waste was man, but all below

A mighty horse, once roan, but now well-nigh white

With lapse of years; with oak-wreaths was he dight

Where man joined unto horse , and on his head

He wore a gold crown, set with rubies red,

And in his hand he bare a mighty bow,

No man could bend of those that battle now.

(William Morris – Life and death of Jason)

Such was the detail given to one of the many constellations that adorn the night skies. Set against a pitch-black backdrop the constellations used to stage their daily drama – to millions worldwide … No commercials, and absolutely environmental friendly…. No connection charges or fees.

02. The Scorpio


Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

Scorpio is a zodiacal constellation. The scorpion is generally believed to be responsible for the death of the great hunter Orion. According to some myths, the scorpion stung Orion in response to his boast that he could defeat any beast; according to others, it was sent by Apollo, who was concerned for his sister Diana’s continued chastity.

In either case, Scorpius was placed in the opposite side of the sky from Orion so as to avoid any further conflict. It is to the southeast of Libra, and is marked by the bright red star Antares. (Antares is Greek for “Rival of Ares,” the Greek war-god. The star is so named because of its brightness and colour, which are approximately the same as of the planet Mars. Mars, of course, is the Roman name for Ares.)

03. Falling Stars

Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

On a cold November night, streaks of blazing light sail silently across the sky. In contrast with the cold white light provided by the moon, these “falling stars” are shards of extraterrestrial material that on contact with our protective atmosphere, protest and become so hot, that they emit the sometimes-colourful light that we call a meteor shower.


04. Omen in the sky


Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

Comet Hale Bopp overDingli Cliffs, Malta.

05. 6 Planets


Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn gather in the constellation of Taurus. The 6th planet is in the foreground – Earth.

06. Music of the Spheres

Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

Venus floats silently across the solar disk


07. Solar Calendar


Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

Every October 10th I look out of the window as the sun sets from behind Mdina, old capital of Malta (also known as the Silent City)


08. The lake of the Moon


Thousands of years ago, the sun and the moon shone down on an earth where there were no people. The pale moon, blinded by the intense sunlight, shed a single tear onto the earth, high up in the Andes and this became known asLakeGuatavita, The Lake of the Moon.

When the king of the Chibcha tribe died, his body would be entombed in a golden coffin and thrown into this… Err… impact crater. His heir would then be crowned as the new king, but not before being covered in sticky honey and then gold dust, thus visually seen as theEl Doradowho would swim to the centre of the crater, which was believed to be inhibited by the Sun God.

09. Eclipsed


Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

 “The landscape around us became oddly surreal. As shadows started to get darker, the temperature dropped, daylight darkened eerily and the few fluffy clouds on the desert’s horizon transformed into an intense orange blaze. Then the moon fully covered the sun, which instantly turned into a bluish-black blob in the sky surrounded by an ethereal halo, a handful of stars and the planet Venus.”


10.  The centre of our galaxy

Photo by Martin Galea de Giovanni

This was once the path, where Phoebus drove; and in length of years, the heated track took fire and burnt the stars…


 What a great storyteller Martin is, we are captivated. But this is only the beginning of our journey.

We hoped you liked the presentation as we have much more in store…

Goodnight for now,
Mal, Rita and Martin.

Notte Bianca venue revealed!

Guten Tag!

Photo by Malicia

We have promised you a new update in which we would reveal the venue for the Astral Room project. We are more than happy to oblige and we will even take you for a short digital tour around the building.

Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to inform you that PHOS will be present at the Maltese – German Circle at Messina Palace in Valletta for this Notte Bianca 2011.

Photo by Malicia

The Messina Palace is located at no 141 and 141A St. Christopher Street, in Valletta and was built by Fra Pietro La Rocca, who served as an Admiral of  The Order of St John. The building itself  is dated back to late XVII century and is in the very heart of the capital of Malta.

Photo by Malicia

If you would like to learn about the place and the Maltese –German Circleand their offer, please click HERE to go to their website.

Photo by Malicia

PHOS will take over two rooms on the second floor of the building. It is incredible experience once you enter the rooms. The large ceilings, painted in amazing fashion, double windows, balconies, fireplace, ornaments on the walls and marble floors, it’s like somebody turned the clock back and you suddenly found yourself in the Jane Austen era. Once we went to the second room through the golden painted door, we were pretty sure we would see Me Darcy…

Photo by Malicia

Photo by Malicia

Photo by Malicia

Martin Galea de Giovanni and Mr Victor Sammut of Maltese – German Circle posed for a photo on one of the balconies, hiding behind the curtains and trying to see what was behind the corner (or perhaps were just hiding from a ceratin girl witha camera…)

Photo by Malicia

Martin Galea de Giovanni and Victor Sammut photographed by Malicia

Photo by Malicia

The two rooms that we will occupy are connected via main hall, which we secretly call, The Star Hall. It is because the whole ceiling of the room is painted with stars. Just have a look for yourself:

Photo by Malicia

Photo by Malicia

If the photos are not enough, here’s a PLAN of the place

We wouldn’t be ourselves if we haven’t passed the bar on our way. Unfortunately, it was closed, but if you visit us during Notte Bianca, you will find it open. The Maiden sculpture inside is just breathtaking. Mal tried to photograph it from the above, so please excuse a weird angle and lack of quality on the photo.

Photo by Malicia

We don’t have to tell you how trilled we are to be able to useMessinaPalaceas our venue. There is more to come. We will present our works soon enough on the blog. Also printing and framing is underway and there are guest books to be decorated and press packs to be sent. So much work, so little time, but we are having a ball.


We would also like to remind you that Rita and Mal will be taking part in the Car Free Day in Birkirkara on September 18th (Sunday). We will have a bunch of new cat artworks. It is time to actually reveal two more works.

Vin & Tage

Artwork by Rita Dabrowicz, design by Olympia Dabrowicz

Bigger resolution can be found here



Artwork by Rita Dabrowicz, design by Olympia Dabrowicz

Bigger resolution can be found here

Please do not forget to visit the event page for this project on Facebook.

Just click HERE and a new link will open

We hope you enjoyed this little update and please come back tomorrow for more info, more surprises and more …well us.

Cause we run the show


Mal/ Rita

Return to Notte Bianca

Hello world!

Proposal for Notte Bianca printed in April 2011

We finally managed to get to update the blog again.

So much is happening that we don’t know where to start.

We have two very important events to announce.

First and foremost, remember that in April we have prepared a proposal for Notte Bianca 2011. Good news is that we are in and we are in the middle of preparation for the event.

Photo by Mal

Keeping with the tradition of this blog, we want to show you each and every step of the process. We believe that it is much better this way, we have nothing to hide and hopefully others will learn by seeing how we do out thing.

Photo by Mal

This year’s event will not be just Rita and I. We are back to the game as PHOS, the art collective, that we helped to fund back in 2006. We are quite excited because it will be PHOS first collaborative event since bringing World Press Photo toMaltain 2007. We have two new members and it feels good. The machine got some new parts and we are rolling better than ever. Hopefully, other events will follow.

In case you wondered how our proposal looked, we have now put it online and you can access the PDF file here

It will take a bit to load but if you are curious who we are and what we have planned, it’s all there. Again, all cards on the table.

As you can see, we have a ton of stuff prepared already. Guest books are bought, markers ready, bookmarks printed and artworks are neatly packed.

Photo by Mal

We are also having some amazing lectures to help us prepare.

To cut long story short, we are on fire and just can’t wait to unfold more details.

Photo by Mal

We will be posting regular updates; soon there will be also an event page on Facebook and some other nice things that we have planned.

So please stay tuned and come back regularly so you won’t miss out.


copyrights Friends of The Earth Malta

Also, this may be on a short notice but on Sunday 18th of September we will be taking part in a Car Free Day in Birkirkara.

 The festivities are organized by Friends of the Earth Malta and the Birkirkara Local Council between 11am and 6pm around the main square of the town (near St. Helen’s Church), which will be closed to traffic for the day.

 The celebration of this day will give the audience a chance to consider alternate means of transport – including… walking, cycling and the use of public transport – and to make the streets more accessible to people as it was in the past. It will be the combined benefit of promoting practices beneficial to the environment in which people live and also to help them become stronger as a community by having increased use of the common space in the locality.

 The organizers are planning a number of activities which will include a fun run for children and adults, a cycling run, open air demonstrations of different disciplines such as dancing and martial arts, food stands with local products as well as open air music. A number of walking guided tours will be organised around the town to create awareness of places of interest in Birkirkara which are not always well known to the public. The opportunity will also be taken to raise awareness on Climate Change issues through the display of an international photo exhibition set up by Friends of the Earth Malta.

 Rita will have a stand on the day and you will be able to grab some new cat portraits and figurines hand made by her and designed alongside with our mother –Olympia.

 If you allow us, we will debut few pieces in this post. Please scroll down to see some of the works that Rita will put for sale next week end:

Cat in the dark:

Artwork by Rita Dabrowicz, design by Olympia Dabrowicz

Better copy can be found here


painting by Rita Dabrowicz, design by Olympia Dabrowicz

Better copy can be found here 


Artwork by Rita Dabrowicz, design by Olympia Dabrowicz

Better copy can be found here
If you use Facebook, please follow this event here


That’s all for now.

We will be keeping you updated on a regular basis now.

It’s a promise.

Kisses and hot chocolate