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

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