Three paintings by artist Joseph Baldacchino were recently unveiled at the Żejtun Home as part of the Nazzareno Vassallo Art (ZVART) initiative, launched by the Vassallo Group to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year.
This is the third ZVART initiative commissioned by CareMalta. A sculpture by Wallace Falzon, The Heart Giver, was unveiled in March at the group’s head office in Mosta, followed by a painting by Jessica Debattista, entitled Red Pillar Box, at Casa Arkati in June.
Passionate about local history, folklore and culture, Baldacchino, 71, born in Żejtun, enjoys creating art that reflects tradition, custom and life around him. In fact, a number of his works reflect Żejtun’s history.
Baldacchino’s paintings, aptly entitled ‘Nostalgia of Żejtun’, feature the Żejtun Bus, the Żejtun Coin and The Lieutenant’s Garden.
The red bus, in use from 1930-1945, with a green stripe, is reminiscent of the old Żejtun route.
Many will also remember the ‘Żejtun Coin’, an aluminium coin manufactured by the parish at the beginning of the 20th century, which was used by people Mass or other religious functions, in order to be given a chair to sit on. After being in circulation for about five years, this coin ceased to be used as it was considered to be illegal.
The well-known botanic garden, Il-Ġnien tal-Kmand, built in 1802, was a public place families from Żejtun could enjoy. It became a popular spot for couples in love many years later, in the mid-20th century.
Mr Baldacchino, who lives opposite the Żejtun Home, said he was honoured to have his paintings in the home’s foyer. “Especially since I consider myself to be part of this generation, sharing such beautiful memories of the past. I am passionate about Maltese history, therefore this means a lot to me.”
Nazzareno Vassallo, chairman of the Vassallo Group – accompanied by Pio Vassallo, CEO of the Vassallo Group, Natalie Briffa Farrugia, CareMalta’s CEO, members of the ZVART committee and senior management teams – also unveiled Żejtun’s coat of arms, made out of kite paper by Carmelo Zammit, who has been a resident at the Żejtun Home since 2017. Committee members of the home’s residents’ association were also present.