The objective of this project is to highlight the possible collaboration in private spaces between Maltese and exiled individuals. I have chosen to focus on the sometimes difficult but nonetheless human and creative interactions between two relatively isolated social groups: on one hand the carers from the Philippines exiled in Malta, and on the other hand their elderly employers somewhat socially isolated due to their physical condition. I believe that the comparison between these two different types of isolation is unprecedented in Malta. Above all, I wanted to address the possibility of living together in a country, like many European countries, which unfortunately remains affected by xenophobic reactions.
The project was done in two stages. First of all, an anthropological research was conducted by anthropologist Gisella Orsini, who compiled a dozen interviews with Filipino carers and their employers. In the second phase, Aglaïa Haritz and Abdelaziz Zerrou led a series of artistic workshops with home helpers belonging to the Filipino population in Malta. Sarah Mallia was always present to facilitate the setting up of the workshops and participated in the translation of a Maltese hymn into the Filipinos’ language, Tagalog. Laarnie A. Honrade and Cristel S. Magsino were our key informants and provided an invaluable help to reach out to participants. These meetings were rich and warm thanks to the know-how of the two artists as well as thanks to the interest of the Filipinas who were committed and enthusiastic about this collaborative project. Trust, attentiveness and professional experience made this possible.
I would like to emphasize the quality of the work done by the artist duo Aglaïa Haritz and Abdelaziz Zerrou that I invited after discovering their « Embroiderers of Actuality » exhibitions. Few artists manage to establish such a climate of trust with their participants, finding with them an artistic medium (such as embroidery) that allowed to express deep feelings often kept silent. The subtlety of their approach immediately convinced me, and I was not disappointed working with them.
I hope that you will appreciate this multidisciplinary and collaborative project which aimed to make space for an essential part of the Maltese society: the gentle caring of our elderlies. This project, based on the listening and expression of isolated minorities, brought to the European Capital of Culture the living hope of living together in peace.
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