Thursday, September 06, 2007

Children's project for Valletta

For those of you that have experienced the magic of Valletta at a night packed with the arts, entertainment and celebration - Notte Bianca - last year, the second edition shall be on 06 October this year. The Malta Independent describes it thus: "For one sleepless night, museums, theatres, arts and cultural centres, libraries, churches and chapels, historical sites, auberges, cinemas, streets, squares and gardens will be hosting events of different genres, giving life to a unique experience while making the arts accessible to all."

An interesting article that caught my eye on today's Times of Malta spoke of a project led by children from different backgrounds to point out the beauty spots in their capital city while also emphasising the decay that this World Heritage City is the victim of.

"'I hope the local council will do something to improve the situation when it sees our photos'

About 20 children from Valletta will be meandering through the city's streets today to capture the beautiful, the abandoned and the interesting on camera.

The world seen through children's eyes is very different, though they did mention that the broken pavements and pot-holed roads bothered them and would feature under the abandoned part of the city.

Assembled at the YMCA Drop-in Centre, in Valletta, the children, aged six to 11, gave a press conference to tell the media all about the project.

The children come from different backgrounds, and some are even homeless, but despite their age and social differences, they are united in a common goal.

They have one week to snap away, using HP digital cameras, supplied by Systec Ltd, at anything they deem falls under any of the three perspectives.

They chattered excitedly when they started talking about what they thought was interesting; from a toy shop to museums and the Barrakka Gardens...even though they were not allowed to take their pets there.

The abandoned parts of the city will include a "dilapidated building, with the glass of windows shattered by a storm"; full dustbins that "stink"; people who throw rubbish on the streets; or the fact that they had no playground where to play.

The beautiful features a chubby-faced angel carved out of stone, looming high on the side of the Jesuits' church in Merchants Street, and the President's Palace.

Jean Paul Mifsud, chairman of this non-profit voluntary organisation, explained that the project is completely run by the children and they have had to learn to elect a leader and deal with the process. The children have already been meeting up to agree on the sites to capture on camera, choosing their representatives, preparing the press invites and learning how to use the camera. The final objective is to set up an exhibition with their works, as part of the overall Old Valletta Project, which will be launched next month. The whole idea started germinating in Mr Mifsud's head when, earlier this year, he set aside some time with his son Jacques Paul to start collecting old photos of Valletta. From there the idea developed and became an outreach programme for the city's children.

"I hope the local council will do something to improve the situation in Valletta when it sees our photos," said a young boy."

Ariadne Massa / Times of Malta.

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