A hand-crafted book featuring photos of the Ħamrun community is to be presented to the nation as part of a project that aims to document a country on the cusp of change.
On the 4th May, Spazju Kreattiv will play host to the The Great Book of Malta, Vol. 1: Ħamrun. The hand-bound A3-sized book, which is the result of hundreds of hours’ worth of work by amateur photographers and Spanish master craftsman German Hernandez, will be officially presented before being housed at a national institution.
“This book aims to be a snapshot of the trades, the businesses, the people, the fashions and the nuances that make up the community of Ħamrun in 2016,” explains Mr John Baraldi, the project coordinator and a resident of Ħamrun, who was inspired by a book project in Ireland that aimed to create an equivalent to The Book of Kells – a medieval, illuminated manuscript.
“In many ways, The Great Book of Malta is a celebration of the ordinary; a celebration of life in Ħamrun in a street-by-street manner, and an attempt to capture the soul of the town.”
Spanish artist and book restorer German Hernandez‘s workshop can be found in Valletta. The final artefact will be leather-bound by hand and will measure 29.7cm x 42cm.
While over 5,000 photographs were taken by 12 young photographers, the book will only include some 200 photographs. Even so, all the photos will be presented alongside the book in a digital archive that will incorporate information about each photograph and the names of everyone who worked on the first part of this monumental project. Moreover, the photos are to be projected on a screen at Pjazza Teatru Rjal as the basis for a stage show about Ħamrun this October.
“There’s so much pride in this town, and we’re sure that people will appreciate seeing themselves or their neighbours becoming the stars of this project. It’s also a great way of promoting the locality as a destination with so much to see even with other Maltese people – after all, we all too often forget to look for the beauty within our own communities.”
The project is only the first step however, as Mr Baraldi hopes to create a book of this kind for each locality in Malta and Gozo, thus capturing the essence of a nation that is quickly changing and evolving.
The Great Book of Malta, Vol 1: Ħamrun will be exhibited at Spazju Kreattiv at St James Cavalier between the 4th and 22nd May.