A House We Call Home

Sometimes, we feel at home, and sometimes, we don’t.

For humans, home means many things. Home means the place where we were born, or the place where our parents lived. Home is the house that we built with hard labour and machines, or the one we simply opened the door to. Home can be a particular corner of a particular room; somewhere where one can feel familiar, safe, and content.

Shelter is one of our basic needs; like food and water, but very few of us in the world live in just a rudimentary shelter the way some animals do; not even isolated tribes and cultures that still maintain a ‘primitive’ hunter-gatherer existence. We create artefacts, paint our front doors, decorate and re-decorate, or, as in Malta, we give our homes unique and often times questionable combinations of the husband and wife’s name.

Maltese House Name
A not so typical house name, including…a pet? Source: http://anecdotesfrommalta.blogspot.com.mt/2009/08/crazy-maltese-house-names-1.html
Ndebele Painted House
The beautiful geometric designs of the houses of Southern African Ndebele.

 

Like the bower bird’s flair for interior design to impress his mate, we too decorate our houses to show off our individuality, our ancestry, and to display our sexual and financial status. We choose unique artefacts that have symbolism only to us; we keep memories of childhood, of past and future. We show off our best and conceal our worst.

And of course, no home is complete without its lodgers!

Springer Spaniel

I wonder if I’ll move from the house I’ve come to call my own for the last year and a half; the one I helped design and finance. The English in me says I will; we’re like Monarch butterflies, journeying over the generations (most often returning to the same place where we were born!), the restless in me says I’d like to travel and try homes in other countries. The artist in me says I must.

House Sketch
Sketch of my childhood home, from memory.

In the final of this three part blog I’ll be pondering on animal houses, and talking about the paintings that inspired these blogs.

The Maltese Painted Door

A brand new painting concept in Malta; the Maltese falcon and Knight of Malta embracing a front door.

When I was approached by a local property owner in Malta seeking a novel concept for his front door, I was at first a little daunted by the prospect. Elaborately painted doors are nothing new on the Portuguese island of Madeira; the island positively screams culture, but Malta is a little more conservative when it comes to street art.

But, thrilled at the chance to create something new and daring, I took up the challenge. A nondescript house in a charming side-street in Sliema has been given a unique face-lift.

FullSizeRenderOn the front door of the house named ‘The Artist’s Lodge’ passers by are greeted by the sight of a posed, elegant Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, and looked down upon by the eyes of a domineering Maltese falcon.

DSCF5879

The painting itself posed a few logistical challenges; the qualities of the typical Maltese wooden door also proved a complex surface to paint on. But I was invigorated by the new surface, chunky brushes and the ability to let go and enjoy the colours.

maltese-knight-door-painting-chloe-waterfield-art

It was daunting but ultimately satisfying. Something new for me and, I hope, something new for Malta. I hope the idea catches on, giving Malta’s already unique houses an aesthetic facelift, giving locals and tourists alike a new feast to indulge in.

To find out more about commissioning a similar project or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

SHout Art Exhibition – Artists together to protect birds in Spring

A collective art exhibition in Malta in support of SHout, Spring Hunting Out campaign. A number of Artists have got together and are offering one or more of their work of art to this good cause.

A collective art exhibition in support of SHout, Spring Hunting Out campaign. A number of Artists have got together and are offering one or more of their work of art to this good cause.

Artists: Chloe Waterfield (that’s me), John Busuttil Leaver, Rodney Ingram, Jacqueline Agius, Mathew Pace, Simone Cutajar, C.S Lawrence, Joe Sultana, Emma Pace, Marika Borg, Andrew Micallef, Doranne Alden, Cally Higginbottom, Kevin Sciberras, Marisa Attard, Winston Hassall, Joe Pace Ross, and Christopher Saliba.

More information about the event is available on Facebook.

Spring Hunting is harming birds. Spring Hunting is damaging our countryside. Make Malta better – Vote NO on the 11th April and let’s Shout Spring Hunting Out!

Date: 13th March – 27th March 2015
Place: Din L-Art Helwa,  Old Bakery Street Valletta, MALTA

Source: http://www.springhuntingout.com/

To find out more about commissioning a painting or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look through at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

Why I Will Vote No

“Hunting, including trapping (or the catching of wild birds by means of traditional clap-nets for the purpose of keeping the any caught birds alive in captivity), is allowed on about 160 Sq. Km. Of the Maltese islands and, with about 12,000 shooters and 4,000 trappers, the resulting density (some 80 sportsmen per square kilometer of huntable land) is considerable, but then Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Maltese hunters and trappers thus form an important part of the economic, social, cultural and political life of the islands, and any hunter/trapper thus expects to exercise his legal right to practice hunting and trapping in the traditional manner, so long as he is fully aware that his harvesting does not constitute any threat to any particular species.”

The above quote, taken from the website of the FKNK, Malta’s Federation for Hunting and Conservation, is a fair and valid point, and I can agree with much of the above, until that is, we reach the last line.

The federation itself admits that the hunting and trapping of birds is a right, but not if that right goes against the protection of any particular vulnerable migratory bird species, or any species that may become vulnerable in the future if such practices are allowed to continue.

Hunting on the Maltese Islands is a deeply-rooted tradition. Buskett woodland was created by the Knights specifically for hunting, but they also revered their aptitude for breeding falcons, so one cannot deny that hunters and trappers are not so very different than bird-keepers, pigeon-fanciers and bird-watchers.  All are great lovers of the outdoors and of nature (both groups of people probably get out into the countryside more than the rest of us) and what they love has doubtless been passed down from grandfather to grandson, experiences shared many a time during a family or social gathering.

But the world has many barbaric traditions, many of which have thankfully been eradicated, at least in most parts of the world (if only the persecution of gays and the bullfight were next, to name two examples). And whilst hunting may have benefits in curbing population growth in certain species, the hunting of any rare, endangered or vulnerable species should be banned. In the same way that the world fights to protect the rhino, the elephant, and the tiger, these birds should be at least given a fighting chance. Malta should be a safe haven for these birds on their migration; a place relatively free from predators and competing species where they can raise and fledge their chicks before heading North or South.

One argument against saying ‘no’ is: why should Malta ban its hunting when Europe does not? The UK has succeeded in banning much of its fox hunting, and though game birds and deer may be hunted, there are of course restrictions in place. I believe that Malta should show its stance as an independent and progressive country that is able to stand up for its own rights and to make its own decisions, without needing Europe or the rest of the world to tell it what to do.

Regardless of how deeply any tradition runs in society, there should be limits. If the crafts of glass-blowing or lace-making were to be abolished, Malta would certainly lose a wonderful piece of its heritage. These are harmless traditions. But what is not harmless is the blemished reputation it has acquired due to to the sight of beautiful pallid harriers, egrets, flamingos and more falling from the sky in cold blood. In our society today, is it just to kill of any living thing, be it a pigeon or a bird of prey? We do not hunt for the economy or gastronomy, and this blood sport is even harming Malta’s prospects as an eco-tourism destination.

Why would you destroy the the life of any living species; in abundance or otherwise, merely to decorate a glass cabinet?

Killing is not a hobby. And that is why I will vote ‘No’ to spring hunting.