SCOOP: The Boats of Malta – The Art of the Fish­er­men by DES­MOND MOR­RIS, edited by Prof. An­thony Aquilina

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Way back in the late six­ties and early sev­en­ties of the last cen­tury, the world fa­mous au­thor Des­mond Mor­ris car­ried out a very de­tailed re­searched study on the boats of Malta dur­ing his sixyear stint in Malta – a study that he kept shelved these long years and has only now seen the light of day in a spe­cial hard­back lux­ury edi­tion, edited by Pro­fes­sor An­thony (Toni) Aquilina from the Depart­ment of Trans­la­tion, Ter­mi­nol­ogy and In­ter­pret­ing Stud­ies of the Fac­ulty of Arts, Univer­sity of Malta. It is the editor’s friend­ship with the au­thor, trig­gered off af­ter his trans­la­tion and pub­li­ca­tion of “Cat­lore” into Mal­tese (“Din­jet il-Qat­tus” - 2015), that led to this lav­ishly il­lus­trated book with over 150 colour prints from among an even vaster col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs, the ma­jor­ity of which taken by Des­mond Mor­ris him­self.

In the au­thor’s own words, “This book sets out to record one of the ma­jor art forms of the Mal­tese Is­lands – the painted fish­ing boats.” Af­ter mak­ing a de­tailed field-sketch of each and ev­ery boat he came across in Malta forty years or so ago, he pro­duced a study of all the colour variations of these boats which are in­deed very com­plex. The end re­sult is a thor­ough piece of work in quan­ti­fied aes­thet­ics. This re­seach re­mains fresh to this very day and stim­u­lates fur­ther stud­ies. Des­mond Mor­ris was born on the 24th Jan­uary 1928 in Pur­ton North Wilt­shire Eng­land and lives in Ox­ford. Be­sides be­ing a world-fa­mous zo­ol­o­gist and eth­nol­o­gist, au­thor­ing about one hun­dred books, he is also a wellestab­lished sur­re­al­ist painter with over forty solo exhibitions. One must nei­ther for­get that over a pe­riod of fifty years in his ca­reer, he was en­trusted with the pro­duc­tion of close to eight hun­dred pro­grammes for tele­vi­sion. To­gether with his wife Ra­mona he came to live in Malta af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of “The Naked Ape” which was an im­me­di­ate best­seller. One could say that our coun­try has a spe­cial place in his heart not only be­cause it was dur­ing his stay among us that he wrote and even­tu­ally pub­lished two other great books (“The Hu­man Zoo” -1969 and “In­ti­mate Be­hav­iour” -1972), but also be­cause it was here that his only son Ja­son was con­ceived and spent the first years of his life. Last year, af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of Aquilina’s transaltion of his “Din­jet il-Qat­tus”, the Univer­sity of Malta, thought it fit to hon­our Des­mond Mor­ris with a Doc­tor­ate Honoris Causa. Des­mond Mor­ris’s “The Boats of Malta – The Art of the Fish­er­men” is an­other Faraxa Pub­li­ca­tion and can be found in all lead­ing book­shops.

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