Daniel Cilia talk on ‘The cultural legacy of Malta & Gozo’

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Daniel Cilia talk on 'The cultural legacy of Malta & Gozo'In a fascinating talk to be held in Gozo, on the book series, ‘The cultural legacy of Malta & Gozo,’ Daniel Cilia will take his audience on a journey through Malta’s 7,500 years of history and culture, in the context of the islands’ built and natural beauty as well as aspects of Malta’s culture like traditions and feasts. The talk will also be accompanied by a photographic presentation.

Daniel will deliver his talk, which will be in English, at at Ir-Rokna tal-Kreattività ma’ Amina Contin, in Gharb, next Saturday the 10th of August, starting at 7.30pm.

He will describe how the arrival of humans to the archipelago in about 5,500 BC set off Malta’s destiny to be in the centre of all the historical events that swept through the Mediterranean Sea.

Malta and Gozo’s magnificent Neolithic Temples were being built when most of the world was still living and worshipping in caves and small wooden or clay huts – one can appreciate the sophistication of this culture which started building the World’s oldest free standing structures in about 3,600 BC. Comparable structures like Stonehenge, had the first stones in place between 2400 and 2200 BC and the Giza pyramids were constructed around 2550 BC, both a millennia after the first Maltese Neolithic Temples.

Over the centuries, Malta and Gozo fell under every power that conquered the Middle Sea; starting from the Phoenicians until the Order of the Knights of St John in 1530, right up to the British period. This motley lot of influences is not just a set of dates in a dry history book – besides the main events and monuments Daniel Cilia will bring our history alive in its less evident aspects of the islands assorted history.

Mr Cilia’s photographs will take the viewer into places with limited access such as the Ursuline cloistered monastery of Valletta, as well as the underground spaces created by the Knights. He will draw fascinating parallels that few are aware of, such as the fact that the Augustinian church of St Mark in Rabat was Girolamo Cassar’s prototype for St John’s Conventual Church.

The Maltese have inherited many of the customs of their ancestors and although many are little-known, they live on to this day and can be experienced in Malta’s rituals, cultural events, cuisine and traditions.

The varied streetscapes of our villages and cities, their defences and forts, the beauty of the countryside, the rugged coastline with its beautiful harbours and beaches have all shaped a nation which although one of the smallest in the world, has an incredible story to tell.

In the one hour lecture Mr Cilia will give a tantalising glimpse into the unique cultural baggage of the Maltese islands and their people.

All those who live in Malta and Gozo should be proud of this nation, its past and traditions. No other small country can boast of such a rich history, and a cultural fabric which makes the Maltese islands one of the most interesting and beautiful places on Earth.

Daniel Cilia was born in Victoria, Gozo, Malta in 1963 and has been pursuing photography since he was thirteen.

Self-taught, he learnt the technical aspects of photography, and more importantly realized how light shapes and forms our visual perceptions of everyday life. Cilia has always insisted that photography is not about equipment but its all about the quality of light and how it modulates three-dimensional objects. Cilia’s first major exhibition was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, Malta in 1986. Later that year he was awarded the Licentiate of Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.

Soon after he left his nursing profession and transferred to Florence, Italy, to pursue his career in photography. Cilia has since lectured at the National College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Oslo, Norway (1989), and was in charge of the Photographic Department of the Art Institute of Florence, Lorenzo de Medici, from 1990 to 1995. His work has been exhibited and published in many countries.

In the last twenty-three years, Cilia has specialised in editorial photographic design, with more than ninety books about the Maltese islands and their history to his credit.

In 2008 Cilia was awarded the prize for the best-designed book (Gorgeous Gozo) by the National Book Council (Malta). In the same year he was presented with the Award of Recognition for his contribution to the Photographic Art in Malta by the Malta Institute of Professional Photography.

In 2009 he was bestowed the knightly title Croce pro Merito Melitensi, by Frà Matthew Festing, Grand Master and Prince of the Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta, in recognition to Cilia’s various publications about the Order.

In 2010 he was conferred the Gieh Ghawdex Award for having contributed to the national cause of the island of Gozo with his books and publications.

In the same year his book Panoramic Malta & Gozo (which was also the first he authored) was awarded first prize in its category by the National Book Council (Malta).

Entrance to the talk is free and Ir-Rokna tal-Kreattività ma’ Amina Continat can be found at 8, Triq L-Gharb, on the corner between the two roads to San Lawrenz and Gharb villages (bus 311 and 312).

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