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