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Pink Temples and Goddess Figurines

In June I visited the islands of Malta and Gozo. I’m writing about them now as I’ve had plenty of time to digest the visit.

I am drawn to islands and have been curious about the ancient temples and early Goddess worshipping culture of these two. I’ve read quite a bit about ancient Venus figurines and “The Myth of the Goddess”, so it seemed like a good place to visit. These sun bathed islands of desert scrub and rocky coastlines made quite an impression on me.

Malta gave me: temples of limestone – sometimes pink limestone,

Ggantija Temple
Ggantija Temple on the island of Gozo
Mnajdra Temples
One of the Mnajdra Temples which was mainly used as a solar year calendar and astromical observatory.

portals through pitted stone,

Pitted Portal
Pitted Limestone Doorway at Mnajdra Temples – I think of portals, caves and secret chambers.

interesting obese goddess figurines,

Goddess Legs Tarxien Malta
Goddess Legs Tarxien Malta
Small Seated Goddess
Small Seated Goddess in Museum in Malta

and other curious figurines.

Snail Figurine
Snail Figurine Malta
The Sleeping Lady
Postcard of The Sleeping Lady in the Museum of Archaeology, Malta.

Sometimes what is needed is a shift in perspective and that is what I returned home with from my visit. Before going I had a feeling of being constrained, running along tram lines. Every so often I shake out of my mindset and refind what I want, which is a feeling of wholeness to my life and not a narrowness.

In Malta, the temples, portals, giant slabs of pink and white fashioned from raw limestone that have stood solid, timeworn and pitted down the centuries, spoke to me of silence and endurance.

On returning I felt more open to new sights and experiences once again and had a desire to take a more oblique path. I am being asked to lean towards the left, closer to the earth, like a sailing boat close hauled, leaning into the wind. I am setting off on an oblique course to find my way back to myself.

Malta had plenty of other things I liked, mainly natural things that include all the different sorts of limestone; sun bathing and sea urchin fossil finding on the rocks at Dwejra; the lizards, purple flowers …

On Gozo
On Gozo
Hole in Door
Door Hole Ggantija Temple
Dots of Lunar Calendar
Mnajdra Temple. This temple was aligned astronomically. Lines of dots on door post may represent the possible number of days between equinoxes.

Some years ago I tentatively researched into the “goddess” in her varying forms. I made a little book on Goddesses of River, Sea and Moon, and found myself painting faceless images of female figures. They weren’t all faceless but many were, just like the goddess figurines of the ancient past.

Once again I’m experimenting with faceless figures inspired by the female figurines and colours of Malta. I tell myself that it is not necessary to create something good, but simply to do it, indulge in the process of making a mark, marking a point in time and painting a simple figure is one way to start. The work by the artist Laurie Doctor resonates with me at the moment. She incorporates calligraphy into some of her paintings and sometimes her figures are faceless in a desert-like landscape. I especially like the one I found below – whose title I don’t know – and Night Vigil:

Painting by Laurie Doctor
A Painting by Laurie Doctor
Night Vigil by Laurie Doctor
Night Vigil by Laurie Doctor

In an artist statement for one exhibition, she wrote:

I wish to communicate moments of fluidity between this world and the world of dreams. I want to share the sense of confirmation that happens when a dream steps right through the daytime door.

Good words. The desert colours of red, gold, faun – colours of earth, sand and rock – work for me at the moment.

I have painted a few little canvases in acrylic incoporating string, leaves and cloth pieces. Here are Desert Dreamer, Desert Icon, Gold Icon and The Pilgrim.

Desert Dreamer
Desert Dreamer painted in acrylics on canvas.
Desert Dreamer2
Desert Dreamer2
Desert Icon
Desert Icon
The Pilgrim
The Pilgrim

4 thoughts on “Pink Temples and Goddess Figurines

  1. Ooooo I love your “pilgrim”. Thanks for introducing us to Laurie Doctor’s work – I like it too. I like her layers .

  2. Only just seen your comment :) Thank you very much Tania! Laurie Doctor’s work is lovely. I like her layers too.

  3. Hi,I use your photo of Snail Figurine Malta in my blog,is it OK?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kainushi, I’m happy for you to use my Snail Figurine photo.

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