The copy-cat

Hello Dear Readers,

Stealing ideas and art-theft are terrible things for any creative. Unfortunately, they tend to happen to all good artists and more often than we would like to admit. We have seen it happen to people we know, but never in our wildest dreams, we would expect that some vile person would try to do this to us. Well, you must have guessed already: our number just came up.

This Saturday, we have been contacted by quite a few people who asked us if we were taking part in the Malta Street Art Festival. We said we weren’t . Rita was not even on the island as she was spending a weekend in Wales. I planned to sort out materials for upcoming blogs. So, none of us was even aware that Malta Street Art Festival was taking place!

But the fact that we were not in Valletta didn’t mean a thing. Because The Cat Shop apparently was. It also miraculously changed profile from artisan artworks to cupcakes and games.

Rita and I at 2015 Earth Garden Festival

Rita and I at 2015 Earth Garden Festival

I was appalled – it was more than obvious that somebody was using our name. But the rest of the news was even more shocking. Not only somebody took our name, they also claimed they were the original Cat Shop and we were the imposters! This apparently happened the previous day (Friday), so I had to put my work away, packed my cameras and headed to the capital to check what was happening.

To cut long story short, I found a stand of Neko Maid Café – young girls dressed in matching cosplay uniforms, playing games and handing out cupcakes. I spoke to some of them and learned that the entire project was organized by an Italian girl nicknamed “Luna”. She was doing similar outings in Italy and she just recently relocated to Malta. There was also a boy dressed in a tux with whom I spoke. From him, I learned that they not only been using the name “The Cat Shop”. They were telling everybody they were the original Cat Shop. I also seen people from Neko Maid to take photos with people wearing cat ears and there was a talk about a guest book where people could draw cats.

My heart sunk because what they were doing was not just taking our name, they took our entire strategy. No small wonder people were confused and were asking me if we were selling cup cakes.

You may find it a small issue, but truly, it is a huge deal. Let me tell you about The Cat Shop. It started five years ago (2010) at Earth Garden Festival in Ta Qali, Malta, where Rita was selling her paintings and I did an art installation. We sold few pieces (all of them showing fantastical cats done by Rita) and got a lot of attention. We have been coming back each year with a new idea. We have a unique set up with rattan boxes and a table, we have a guest book and we encourage people to draw in it, cats or whatever – to keep the creativity going. We wear cat ears and often allow people to take selfies with them for fun (even if they are not buying anything). This year, we wore identical outfits and told people that we planned to change into Victorian era clothing starting next year. We teamed with a great British photographer and acted his Cat Assistants. Each of those elements is unique to our stand. But this is not all. As The Cat Shop got bigger and more recognizable, we had to adjust ourselves. We got a VAT number, we have a VAT book in case somebody wants a receipt, we organize drawing workshops for kids. Each festival we speak to hundreds of people, we scan our guest books and put them on our blog. It is enormous work load for weeks before and after the festival.

First page of our Cat Shop guestbook

First page of our Cat Shop guestbook

Children drawing during 2013 workshop we organized during Earth Festival. Photo my own.

Children drawing during 2013 workshop we organized during Earth Festival. Photo my own.

I don’t know what Luna from Neko Maid Café is trying to achieve. But to think that somebody came to our stand at Earth Garden just to copy our entire marketing strategy for their own gain is chilling. You know – The Cat Shop was not set to earn a profit. It was set up to offer kids a place they could draw and be creative. We do sell – don’t get us wrong, but it is always just to cover our stand fee and maybe have a return on our materials. Five long years of trials and errors to build our “brand”, to be recognized in Malta and somebody just takes it all from you and calls you an imposter!

The entire affair made me really sad, and I wanted to let people know what was happening. I made a post on my Facebook protesting that Luna was stealing from us and misleading people. This is what I wrote.

Angry Facebook Post!

Angry Facebook Post!

I tagged The Neko Maid Café, letting them know their behaviour was unacceptable. This is a reply I got.

Response from Luna

Response from Luna

What I want to do now, is to take it bit by bit – to show you Dear Readers, to what extent art theft and idea –theft can go.

Luna begins that they are not using our name. But I was there on Saturday and heard them say they were The Cat Shop more often than they were mentioning their own name. That is one thing. Another is that coping our entire business strategy is just a top of a cat tail!

We want to quote something the creator of Neko Maid Cafe said in her statement. IN case you missed this bit:

Our logo (…) I did it taking from internet, as everybody else in this world I think, a real photo of an headband with cat ears. If anyone will come to me and say that to take a picture from Google and using it to do something as logo or anything is a crime I will respond with that person”.

Now, See the logo of the Neko Maid Cafe. The chibi cat girl image is from anime series, which title I could not track as we speak. But I will. The cat bell comes from DiGi Charat series. The image of the hair band is somebody`s actual photo. Copy righted materials – all of it, found on Google. Luna obviously is not aware of copy rights and that she has to have a written permission from the creator of said artwork if she plans to use it. Unauthorized usage of somebody`s work is opening yourself to a criminal liability. Also argument that something was found on Google is irrelevant. Luna – please get it. If something is on the Internet, it doesn’t mean you can use it. Especially for your own financial gain. Most people do their own illustrations, works and if they have to use somebody`s materials, they at least give a link.

Logo of the Neko Maid Cafe

Logo of the Neko Maid Cafe

Next thing. Neko Maid Café is using original artworks and fan arts (also found on Google we suppose) to promote Luna`s Facebook page. This is again, unauthorized and can cause you legal issues. I don’t think that Kyoto Animation is aware that you use pictures from K-On series. On the side, this anime is about a band, not maids. The irony.

Unauthorized use of K-On! series.

Unauthorized use of K-On! series.

But hey, original or not original stuff – doesn’t really matter. You also did flyers using somebody`s fan arts. Did you get their permission to do so? Where are the links to artist`s page?

Digital Flyer with somebody`s artwork use

Digital Flyer with somebody`s artwork use

Posting more images - from fans and not a credit in sight!

Posting more images – from fans and not a credit in sight!

Luna is also hardly ashamed to use photos from existing businesses. Like this one from Butler`s Café which is a real life café in Japan. Why leave a link to the original page: http://www.butlers-cafe.jp when you can just steal a photo from them? So much easier.

I wonder if Butler`s Cafe are aware that they supposedly endorsing Neko Maid Cafe.

I wonder if Butler`s Cafe are aware that they supposedly endorsing Neko Maid Cafe.

And what about the cupcakes photo that you have been using? The ones here belong to Kate from NYC, who used to run a Tumblr Holy Cupcakes. Take a photo, crop it badly and nobody will notice?

Photo from Holy Cupcakes

Photo from Holy Cupcakes

Cropped photo on Neko Maids FB Page

Cropped photo on Neko Maids FB Page

I have a bad feeling about the design of the cupcakes you were selling. I`m gonna risk a saying that you probably found the designs on the Internet as well and pass them as your own. After all, you took so many things from so many people and don’t even realize this is utterly wrong. Where do the design come from? Aubergine Chef? Bake Happy? Cake Central? It would be nice to know!

Now the outfits. This is how Neko Maid Café describes what Maid Cafes are, on their own Facebook page:

What is Maid Cafe according to Neko Maids Cafe

What is Maid Cafe according to Neko Maids Cafe

The Victorian outfits! And this is where they got their own costumes – they are ready made French Maids (Sexy) costumes made in China. On EBay they sell for 9.90 USD.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Blue-Black-Lolita-French-Maid-Costume-Dress-Set-Japanese-Cosplay-V101911-/190893998502

I know what you will say – you don’t have money, you start up, your helpers are just teenagers who want to do something. That is fine, but – most of the artists put a lot of time and effort into what they do. The materials cost us. If we have to go low budget, we do it ourselves. Going for ready-made cosplay costumes may save you time but – it is a cheap practice. And somebody has to call you on it. Scrooge would be proud of you, but we are not impressed.

The guest book – you say it is a scrap book now. Sure now, but it will be a full blown guest book like ours next event. Sure it is ok to ask customers for a review or a note. But asking customers to draw cats in your guestbook is our idea. Come up with something different. Perhaps ask customers to draw maids. Or cupcakes. Or hamsters. They are also cute.

I want to make another point for the end of the post. In Japan, each café has their own games and strategy, they develop it themselves. If they use a game developed in another café, they give credits, exchange banners, give feedback. This is how Japanese society work – they are polite, professional and work in teams. I am not sure if you know how it works. Things you have been doing would completely alienate you from the entire network, had you been operating in Japan. No-one would be willing to work with you. What you are doing is in itself anti thesis of what Maid Cafes aspire to.

And this is not a flame. I am just mad that you had to do this to me. Or to my sister.

Malicia

**** Update 27.07.2015****

Our incredible blog stats!

Our incredible blog stats!

Rita and I would like to thank everybody who visited the blog, commented and shared our story. Over 200 visits in less than 24 hours. Way over the average on the blog. We would like to give a mention to Oliko (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oliko/412150938842783) our long time friend and fellow artist, for her help in our investigation. Without you people and your kindness, we`s surely lose a lot of faith in the humankind.

We have asked Luna to reply but so far she has been silent. We would like to hear from her – plain and simple – why she steals from other people, and so many at it.

In the mean time, please keep on sharing the story, art theft is so common, that every artist should check their back. Sad but true.

Malicia

****Update 02/08/2015****

Dear Readers,

We are in August now. I like this time of year. In Malta it is heavily humid and dry, but in other parts of the globe the heat will ease and the best part of summer will begin – Indian Summer. No longer scorching temperatures but not yet quite Autumn. Perfect time to grab some good iced coffee from Starbucks and write. I am hoping to tackle the back load and have more updates on the blog. I realize I must sound like a middle-aged Seattleite now 😉

Our spiking blog stats!

Our spiking blog stats!

It` s been a week since we have discovered we had an evil doppelganger. Truly crazy week, so much support and our stats went as high as Space Needle! Both Rita and I are grateful. We spoke to other artists, who have experienced the same thing, our blog have been shared by professional journalists (thank you Tanja Cilia!) and even Malta Dizastru TOTALI !!!!!!! gave us a mention. I thought I will put an end to this story, but not without writing another entry. Because there are points that I feel need to be brought up before we will move on.

The fact that over a thousand people read our story in just about a week proves how rampant art theft is in online community. It would be a good starting point to debate what can we do about it and where the “sharing economy” will take us in the future. How can we – The Creative Ones – protect ourselves from vile people, who take from us.

I know I should not use word “vile”, but that is what you are if you build your brand by stealing. I believe everybody deserves a chance, but then again. I have spent working on something five long years and it has been taken from me and used by somebody to make a profit. How can anyone not feel bitter?

Mentions and support!

Mentions and support!

Luna of Neko Maid Café made one big mistake. She doesn’t know me and doesn’t realize that I have a great understanding of people like her. She is not the only one that is plaguing the fandom. I`ve seen the likes of her before. I worked in manga magazines for years and attended and co-organized over ten conventions and exhibitions. So what I will do now is to list some of the characteristics of the art thief. Exposing their tactics is the best way to deal with`em:

  • Silence – once you expose an art thief, they will most likely use the strategy of not confronting you. They will pretend it never happened, business as usual. Still, call them out on their actions. Even if you are the only one to do it.
  • Shame – art thieves rely heavily on the fact that artists are sometimes vulnerable, scared or confused. Or worse, artists are good people and will be scared that by exposing the thief, they may harm them. Internet backlash is very real. A story gone viral can turn real mobs on a person. I myself had doubts if I should expose Luna because I was afraid she may be mistreated by other Internet users. I was also shamed by the fact that my work was abused. This is normal. If you have such doubts, stick to the middle of the road. Expose the thief, but you don’t have to shout from the roof tops. Unless you want to. You are in control and you decide how much coverage you want to give to the issue. And don’t be too hard on yourself – being good is not a bad thing.
  • Indifference – art theft happens because there is lack of control tools. Neko Maid Café appeared on Comic Con stand at the Malta Street Art Festival by just sending an email. Nobody from the organizers checked their website or looked into how Luna did her stuff. She was unknown. We have informed the organizers about the theft during the event and wrote them emails but they never got back to us. Thieves go where they are not known, where organizers take everybody as they come. The best way to protect yourself is to ally yourself with certain events on an annual basis. Like we do with Earth Garden. Build yourself a rotation of events, get to know the organizers and they will know you. So will the public.
  • Bullying and abuse – the worst part of the art theft is that they often abuse and bully those who are associated with them. They will get involved with teens, as they are full of will to do something creative but naïve and inexperienced. Perfect combo for a parasite. Look out for the activities, where you have to buy your own costume, sell gadgets or presents and dedicate long hours to prepare events. Fans work like small collectives – whatever you put in belongs to all equally. You should be credited and rewarded in the same measure. If somebody takes credit for everything, if the money goes to the pocket of one person, if the funds that have been raised are not spent on another project – beware! People mistreated are burning out and they leave the fandom disillusioned. They lose the spark and will to do things creatively and work on their own art.
  • Mind games – should be filed under abuse, but I want to make it a separate category. Often the art thief will play mind games with people that they are associated with. Have you ever been forced to do something questionable? Drink or eat something awful, declare love to a table or do something stupid in front of other people or camera? You are not playing games – you are being bullied and groomed. By the time art thief decides to kick you out, everybody else will be against you and you will be the bad one. Stand your ground.
  • Be ahead – when we wrote about our experience, we got a great feedback from a friend and business owner, who also had been though the same experience. She told us not to advertise Luna, but to be ahead of her. And this is what we will be doing in the future. You see, being the creative one gives you an edge. You are the one who comes with the good stuff. You will be always two steps ahead of the trickster. Change your strategy, give new ideas a priority and take a risk. By the time the thief realizes that they have been outsmarted, you will be on two or three new projects.

I hope this post will help other artists or creative people to deal with the damaging experience of encountering an art thief. Be vocal about your experiences, believe in yourself and work on your networking. We may never stomp out the theft but being aware makes one a harder target.

That is all we wanted to say on the topic. I am going to put some Mad Season (what a great band they are!) on and head to sleep.

Rock on dear readers,

Malicia

Migration in Maltese local newspapers – press clippings part one

Migration in Maltese local newspapers – press clippings

This was not meant to be a blog post at first. Rather, it was an idea to have some local press articles about migration ready when we were to send a copy of local photography book on the issue to be reviewed abroad. In the beginning, we thought to have one week covered but interesting stories kept appearing and we kept on cutting them out. March went by and April arrived and we continued to gather all local stories on the subject. Then last week – everything changed. Two boat drowning in just five days and over 1000 people dead, only a handful bodied recovered to be buried on the island. We have spoken to several foreigner journalists covering the story and the first question they have asked us: what is happening in Malta. How is the migration phenomenon being reported on a local level. We came back to our archive now consisting of two months worth of local press articles and decided to scan everything and put it online. Whoever needs to view the articles can simply click on the scan and see the article.

We have made some notes on the sides of some articles, to explain a term used or to highlight some other issues or to inform who the person writing the article is. Each scan is described by the same key: Name_month_day_year_page, to make it easier.

Now, most of our archive is Times of Malta and The Sunday Times of Malta as this is the biggest (circulation wise) English newspaper on Maltese market and they have put in a lot of emphasis on the story in all its aspects. The other newspaper that we use as a second source in The Malta Independent, mostly to have stories that may not be reported in TOM. There is a third English speaking newspaper on the island – Malta Today but since it is a tabloid and their coverage may be sensational, we have so far not included it in the archive – we may in the future if a story that they report will be of value.

Please note one thing. This was not done to republish local articles for profit
or anything of that sort. This is solely for informational purposes, mostly hoping that foreigner journalists who may need to see the stories for their reports, will be able to realize how dedicated Maltese media are to migration issue and how complicated and multi-layered it is for such a small island.

Malicia had written in the past her thesis on how media report a story (her thesis was about Northern Ireland peace process reported by Polish newspapers) and she hopes that perhaps somebody will use this blog for similar purpose. She also hopes she is not breaking any laws but if somebody objects, please let her know and she will put this blog offline.

We will be also using this blog to promote the local photography book and to convince people far and wide to come to Malta and tell the world what is happening around the Mediterranean. We can`t have hundreds of people drowning and nobody to care.

So educational and informational purposes only – in case somebody is asking.

If you are a journalist covering a story regarding Malta and need any assistance to get in touch with local media representatives, freelance photographers, MOAS, Refugee Commissioner, etc, please get in touch via lil_lilac_tree@yahoo.com and we will try to help you as much as we can.

February 2015:

Times of Malta February 22, 2015, page 7

TOM_Feb_22_2015_p7
Times of Malta February 22, 2015, page 8

TOM_Feb_22_2015_p8

March 2015:

The Malta Independent

The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, front page

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_front
The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, page 2

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_p2
The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, page 5

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_p5
The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, page 9 (editorial)

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_p9_editorial

The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, front page

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_front
The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, page 2

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_p2
The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, page 3

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_p3
The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, page 5

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_p5

The Times of Malta /The Sunday Times of Malta

The Times of Malta, March 1, 2015 page 3

TOM_March_1_2015_p3

The Times of Malta, March 2, 2015, page 6
TOM_March_2_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 5, 2015, page 5

TOM_March_5_2015_p5
The Times of Malta, March 5, 2015, page 6

TOM_March_5_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 7, 2015, page 6

TOM_March_7_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 8, 2015, front page

TOM_March_8_2015_front
The Times of Malta, March 8, 2015, page 10

TOM_March_8_2015_p10
The Times of Malta, March 8, 2015, page 11

TOM_March_8_2015_p11
The Times of Malta, March 13, 2015, page 7

TOM_March_13_2015_p7
The Times of Malta, March 15, 2015, page 20

TOM_March_15_2015_p20
The Times of Malta, March 16, 2015, page 5

TOM_March_16_2015_p5
The Times of Malta, March 17, 2015, page 4

TOM_March_17_2015_p4
The Times of Malta, March 18, 2015, page 4

TOM_March_18_2015_p4
The Times of Malta, March 20, 2015, page 3

TOM_March_20_2015_p3
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, front page

TOM_March_21_2015_front
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, page 3

TOM_March_21_2015_p3
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, page 6

TOM_March_21_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, page 11

TOM_March_21_2015_p11
The Times of Malta, March 22, 2015, page 21

TOM_March_22_2015_p21
The Times of Malta, March 23, 2015, page 39

TOM_March_23_2015_p39
The Times of Malta, March 26, 2015, front page

TOM_March_26_2015_front
The Times of Malta, March 30, 2015, page 7

TOM_March_30_2015_p7

If you require a file with the URLs for every article, you can find it here:

Migration_March_2015

You can see the local press coverage of April 2015 under this link:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/migration-in-maltese-local-newspapers-press-clippings-part-two/

R+M

Carnival in Malta in 19 clicks

Dear Readers,

Carnival has arrived! It’s a good time to wear fancy clothes, to put on your cat ears and party like it is 1999. Or should we say 1989? (apologies to both Prince and Taylor Swift).

1.

Prince Charming

Prince Charming

2.

Indian Princess

Indian Princess

3.

Lady lost in thoughts

Lady lost in thoughts

4.

Popular costume motive - Colombina of  Commedia dell'Arte

Popular costume motive – Arlecchina  of Commedia dell’Arte

We have a week-end out of office, so we decided to grab our cameras and hit the streets of Malta to take some portraits. We plan to have a nice selection of images of people in costumes by Sunday afternoon, and we will surely share them with you. To make things even more exciting, we have decided to dig deep into our archives and we have found some incredible photos from previous year (9-10 February 2013). How about a double – Carnival photo coverage? Sounds good? You bet!

5.

Popular costume motive -  a different version of Arlecchina. Here she is known as  Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta Ricciolina, Corallina or Diamantina. She is often a rich or noble lady adorned in green/emerald robes.

Popular costume motive – a different version of Arlecchina. Here she is known as Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta Ricciolina, Corallina or Diamantina. She is often a rich or noble lady adorned in green/emerald robes.

6.

To serve and protect

To serve and protect

7.

The original form of female carnival character - Columbine of Commedia dell'arte

The original form of female carnival character – Columbine of Commedia dell’arte

8.

Our favourite shot. She was simply stunningly beautiful.

Our favourite shot. She was simply stunningly beautiful.

Malta is one of world’s smallest states (316 km2 or 122 sq miles) divided between three islands and one of the most populated places on the globe (with 500 000 residents and 3 millions of tourists throughout the year, density reaches 1,306.8/km2 or 3,413.9/sq m – that’s more than Hong Kong).

This tiny island is extremely colourful and occasionally loud. So, nothing captures the spirit of the island like the week before Ash Wednesday.

Il-Karnival ta`Malta (as it is called in native tongue) holds a special position among all festas and public holidays on the island. It is celebrated annually since 1535 (that’s two-hundred years longer than Rio!) and is regarded as a major tourist attraction. The daily celebrations take place in the capital – Valletta, the nightly celebrations move to Nadur in the island of Gozo. Each year sees a street parade, band marches and floats competition. It is also a fantastic opportunity for any photographer – hand made costumes of the revellers take months to prepare and the results are astonishing. Maltese are also protective of children, taking photos of youngsters is frowned upon; the Carnival is probably the only time when a photographer can snap away photos of anybody without being yelled at.

9.

Butterfly Lady

Butterfly Lady

10.

The Show Girl from French Tradition of  Moulin Rouge

The Show Girl from French Tradition of Moulin Rouge

11.

Modern Carnival costumes often use the character of Indian Princess/Native Princess. In European carnival tradition it is not seen as offending gesture. More like a homage to Disney`s Pocahontas.

Modern Carnival costumes often use the character of Indian Princess/Native Princess. In European carnival tradition it is not seen as offending gesture. More like a homage to Disney`s Pocahontas.

Through-out its history, the carnival was a source of entertainment and controversy. The Knights of Malta, who brought the tradition to the island, had to reprimand residents numerous times over costumes or lavish celebrations. In 1569 a ban was issued by Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris to keep women away from the Knights` celebrations. It also forbade masks – those who would resist faced penalty of being publicly whipped. Maltese public answered in a typical Mediterranean fashion – regular riots erupted, a Jesuit church was ransacked and Grand Master Lascaris had to evacuate himself from St James Cavalier building in Valletta. It is worth noting that the next time Maltese decided to take to the streets was in 1919 due to prices of bread (incident is known as “Sette Giugno” or “Seventh of June”, and is celebrated as a milestone towards the independence of the Island).

12.

Maiko (Geisha in training)

Maiko (Geisha in training)

13.

Professional Carnival actor from Venice. His costume was made for the use of local Italian theater and was one of a kind. Show stopper.

Professional Carnival actor from Venice. His costume was made for the use of local Italian theater and was one of a kind. Show stopper.

14.

101 Dalmatians. The girls were not twins.

101 Dalmatians. The girls were not twins.

The story of Grand Master Lascaris constitutes our favourite anecdote – today St. James Cavalier hosts an art centre, cinema and a popular restaurant. The photos in this post have been taken on 9-10 February, 2013, and we had our lunches at St James. We were wondering what Grand Master Lascaris would say. Let’s hope that our choice of local ricotta pie would be approved…

Carnival can stir up controversy even in this day and age. In 2009 revellers were arrested in Nadur for dressing up as Jesus and nuns. One person was handed a month – long prison sentence, the rest were acquitted. It was due to ancient blasphemy and censorship laws that Malta is now getting rid of. In 2010, both Rita and I took part in the art exhibition called “The Art of Silence” against the censorship and Rita commented against the carnival arrests with one of her paintings. You can see the coverage in the link below:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/its-not-war-just-the-end-of-love/

Speaking of Rita being artistic and all about carnival cheer, in 2011 she also held a small exposition of her carnival masks at the Soap Café shop in Sliema. It was a very cool experience; you can recall it by visiting the post here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/soap-cafe-2/

15.

Another popular character from modern carnival tradition - a warrior lady or gladiator

Another popular character from modern carnival tradition – a warrior lady or gladiator

16.

Home made costumes are the best ones. Especially if they come with a candy floss.

Home made costumes are the best ones. Especially if they come with a candy floss.

17.

Perrot from  Commedia dell'Arte - male character in his most noble/rich version. Often paired with Diamantina.

Perrot from Commedia dell’Arte – male character in his most noble/rich version. Often paired with Diamantina.

But back to the streets and the people in lovely costumes. The weather in February can be harsh and windy. In 2013, we had to dress ourselves up like we were taking part in Trans-Siberian expedition and tried to keep ourselves warm and hydrated at all times. Yet still became violently sick in the end. But we are very proud of the end effect. We wanted to portray not just stunning costumes or cute kids. We hoped to show the diversity of people you can meet on Maltese streets, all dressed up and celebrating in their own ways by using photography as the medium.

Think of it as one roll of film used well…

18.

Gender-bender. Rapunzel  from Disney movie Tangled.

Gender-bender. Rapunzel from Disney movie Tangled.

19.

Family affair - mother poses with her son against a carnival float

Family affair – mother poses with her son against a carnival float

If you want a longer read about Maltese Carnival, you may net-surf to those destinations:

 

Malta Tourism Authority: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/carnival

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltese_Carnival

Detailed blog about the Carnival: http://malta.jimdo.com/malta-carnival/

We will be back quite soon with photos from this year’s festival and our observations. But we want to leave you with a most wonderful and suitable song for the moment. This is how we feel running around with cameras.

Ladies and Gentlemen, one and only Natalie Merchant and her “Carnival”.

xxx
Rita+Mal