Des­mond Mor­ris’ ‘The Boats of Malta – The Art of the Fish­er­men’ pub­lished at last

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the world fa­mous author Des­mond Mor­ris car­ried out a very de­tailed re­searched study on the boats of Malta dur­ing his six-year 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 40 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 re­search re­mains fresh to this very day and stim­u­lates fur­ther stud­ies.

Des­mond Mor­ris was born on 24 Jan­uary 1928 in Pur­ton North Wilt­shire, Eng­land and lives in Ox­ford. Be­sides be­ing a world­fa­mous zo­ol­o­gist and eth­nol­o­gist, au­thor­ing about one hun­dred books, he is also a wellestab­lished sur­re­al­ist painter with over 40 solo ex­hi­bi­tions. One must nei­ther for­get that over a pe­riod of 50 years in his ca­reer, he was en­trusted with the pro­duc­tion of close to 800 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 trans­la­tion of his Din­jet il-Qat­tus, the Uni­ver­sity of Malta, thought it fit to hon­our Des­mond Mor­ris with a Doc­tor­ate Honoris Causa.

Des­mond Mor­ris’ 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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