Milan Ristic et al. (ed.) - Malta Playing Arts

Milan Ristic et al. (ed.)

This card is a picture puzzle, an allusional pictogram to represent words, dating to ancient times and a favourite form of heraldic expression from the Middle Ages to denote surnames (→4): in a nutshell, this is King Crab (sg. qabru), King of the Road of crabs (pl. qwabar). Until Malta’s adoption of the Euro in 2008, the endemic freshwater crab featured on the 5-cent coin (‘penny dropped’ punctuates the pictogram’s full-stop). The Maltese brackish water crab is an endangered species and legally protected since 1993. In some species, such as fiddler crabs, the males have one claw which is greatly enlarged and used for communication, particularly for attracting a mate. A pole upholds the street sign (made by Alka Ceramics): a king is a ruler and this one is left-handed (numbering starts on the right, right-handed rulers start on left). Approximately 10% of the world population are lefthanders yet a significantly above average of sinistrality was noticed among the contributing artists (→Jack♣ and photo collage), which means they are right-brain hemisphere thinkers: creativity, artistic ability and processing of visual stimuli for example are located mostly in the brain’s right side.

Hand carved from the wood of a 300-year-old olive tree, this crab (0.5x2x1.5cm) is the set’s smallest artwork. This crab was later graphically blue-hued for contrast and his is brownish not red since it is alive, unboiled. The mixed media collage is a collaborative entry of four: two Maltese and two other nationals, two fe-/males each, two left- and two right-handers.

(text by Margit Waas)