This project began in mid-January 2015. Thanks are due to all the artists who contributed the 58 images and many unnamed supporters ‘behind the curtains’: in total more than 200 people were voluntarily involved. Besides Maltese and Gozitans, entries were received from Aliens and Legal Aliens (the governmental terms for residing expatriates and dual-citizenship residents), as well as extraterrestrial Others who live on the islands yet are passport holders of different nationalities. Standing collectively shoulder-to-shoulder, card team Malta played on with much goodwill and a locally-flavoured sense of humour.
“The journey is part of the trip, enjoy it” (fortune cookie wisdom taped onto the King♦ ruler): while my thank-you extends to all, I am able to name only a few key players who supported this quirky idea from the start: project co-pilot Rossella Dalmas, layout whiz Dorart, graphic designer extraordinaire Ivan Cocker at Image Systems Ltd who handled the digital imagery of the playing cards and poster. Firmly on deck were also Happy Paws co-founder Maike Beekman van Dinther and full-time volunteer Lino Mintoff. Sandro Debono, senior curator of the National Museum of Fine Arts, and Antoine Zammit of Mater Dei tal-Computers Tiffranka [saved], helped and nursed where they could. I was encouraged by Liz Groves of Island Books who steadily flew alongside or taxied on the Gozo runways, while Julie Shead Scerri listened and aided. Genuine thanks also go to Chris Mangion and Tonio Buhagiar for creating magic from behind their lenses, as well as trusty Susan Dimech and Duncan Saffrett for their good deeds in collating this set. We all learnt much along the way.
Everyone who contributed their time and expertise further spurred me on, this included a rapidly growing fan base, both local and international, even when this project was still in the virtual stage. Timely help was provided by Isabella Mahoney who made the felt pouches, walkthrough layout designer/website builder Sam Hayman and the Happy Paws volunteers who are wo-manning the e-shopping cart. I also do not want to forget the spontaneous kindnesses of strangers who appeared at opportune moments. Not least of all a very big thank-you to the devil’s advocate and all-seeing-eyed advisor of the project, Dr Jeffrey Twitchell- Waas, who throughout remained sage ’n’ sane.
Dankeschön goes to Robert Hayes and Susanna Heubusch: the set and tuck box was printed by Piatnik, playing card manufacturers since 1824, headquartered in Vienna, Austria. Piatnik sets are highly prized by players for their smooth play and long wear, as well as by collectors for their stylish designs. Piatnik was first in the world to print plasticised cards (since 1999). Today Piatnik annually produces 25 million playing cards, a million board games and a million jigsaw puzzles. This card set with its storyline walkthrough guide is a first in their history.
This House of Cards we all built together from the ground up clearly speaks for itself. There is so much talent on ‘lil rock’, so on behalf of other artists and their art forms, it is fervently hoped that at last and soon a public Museum of Contemporary Arts one can walk into will be established in the Maltese Islands.
Dr Margit Waas
Malta, end of June 2015