The 'Welcome to Manoel Island' poster explores the whimsical experience of visiting the island - a rock that is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It sits at the heart of Marsamxett Harbour and overlooks the capital city of Malta, Valletta.
This poster was created as part of a design initiative organised by Creatives Malta, the team behind the '50 Posters for Malta'. The idea was to get fifty creatives on board to each design a limited edition poster, all of which are currently being auctioned for charity. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation, The Children in Need Foundation & Do Project.
the Big Idea?
There's something that's both exciting and daunting about carte blanche projects, and after much thought I finally chose to pursue the idea of creating an illustrated map. Manoel Island has been at the centre of many a controversy during the past years, with the hot topic being that of 'the master plan' project which would see the privatisation of the island. This would involve parts of the island becoming a hotel and carpark.
I therefore chose to create a poster that celebrates the current quirkiness of the isle; apart from the annual Luna Park, the area is also home to what is known as the 'Duck Village' which is a sanctuary for a large number of birds - and a few cats too, they learnt how to cohabit in peace you see... - as well as a Yacht Marina and Yacht Yard. At the top of the island one also finds the namesake of the island: the star-shaped Fort Manoel built in 1733.
The island has also housed its fair share of Hollywood productions over time, two of the most recent being the Assassins Creed movie and scenes from HBO's Game of Thrones. Now that's a pretty epic résumé for a fortified island, isn't it?
When creating the poster I chose to subtly parody the American state 'Greetings from New York / Alaska / Texas / etc' postcards which over-glorify a city's features, as well as give a relatively synthetic and utopian feel. Seeing as there may be dark times ahead for this island, I felt that this initiative was the ideal opportunity to comment on Manoel Island and its well-loved charm.
in the sky
During the map-making process I explored the idea of giving the island another dimension, that of height. Seeing as most of its functions and strategic uses are tied to the sea I decided to push the island up into the sky, as far away as possible from greedy hands. Here the yachts can rest in peace, and birds form across the country can tranquilly fly back into the sanctuary at will. If you look closely you'll see that all the ducks are pretty stoked to be up there!
Among the mystical coloured clouds buoys were introduced to emphasise the idea of 'anchorage' to the seabed, as well as serve as a reminder that the island shores are open to anyone seeking refuge. Finally a finch can be seen holding down the island from floating up into the unreachable heaven, a symbol of the everyday man who holds onto the dream of seeing Manoel Island being restored to its former glory, and once again become a space for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.