Meeting up with Lisa Gwen

We recently met up with Lisa Gwen from @Maltadoors to discuss a potential collaboration. With her Instagram account, Lisa is brilliantly documenting the beautiful aesthetics of Maltese facades as many of them are being lost to make space for new developments. We invited her to write a guest blog post about her experience!

It’s funny how a (non?) project which took off randomly and unintentionally, practically takes over one’s identity. I’m no longer Lisa, or Gwen. Or even the person who used to work at The Times, or the one to speak to about arts funding or exhibitions. I’ve ‘become’ MaltaDoors. Tal-bibien, as others affectionately refer to me. I am not door obsessed however; I’m simply a lover of light and architecture.

As Lewis Caroll rightly wrote in Alice in Wonderland – ‘tis “curioser and curiouser”. Alice seems to follow me about, or rather, the contrary. The door imagery in the tale, coupled with the copious symbolism has always made perfect sense to me, most especially where this project is concerned. Because the doors are really an excuse, for many things – after all, they are but entrances and exits, thresholds, all at once creating opportunity yet providing obstacle.

At first, I didn’t get all the interest in the quirky captures which I had decided to organise on an Instagram account. I thought it was due to the times we are living in – to the fact that visuals tend to play an all-important role in our lives, or that we have this need to look for, and recognise beauty (in all its forms).

The aesthetic of the images is, however, secondary. The purpose, and what I can only describe as a need to document, has long taken over. After all, documentation, visual or other, is a means of preservation. That’s why it’s so easy to connect my images, with the work of Te fit-Tazza – the purpose and long-term intention of our work is one and the same. Ours is an attempt to ‘preserve’ portions of Malta, whilst repeatedly being confronted by a context and environment which is being altered, at an alarmingly fast rate.

So now, 15 months later – my non project has actually turned into a project. But I want it to be about the stories held behind, in front of, or even within the doors, rather than a mere visual documentary. There are stories to be told about the often custom-made wrought ironwork designs; other stories concern the house-names, the door knockers or even the religious icons affixed to the facades. My ever-fertile imagination ran off to Wonderland ages ago, to a land where doors had personalities, faces, human characteristics…

Anything that holds your attention is worth exploring. I am doing just that.

Check out some of our favourite Maltese doors and if you want to explore more, make sure to follow Lisa on Instagram @maltadoors.

Mort Passiġġata