Launching SURVIVORS - The ageing population of Birgu (Joseph P Smith)

SURVIVORS - the ageing population of Birgu


The 23rd October, 2009 will see the launch of a project that has come to fruition after 6 years.

Survivors is an impressive series of biographies and photographs – life stories showing that the ancient indomitable spirit of the Birgu people still survives. 

The photographs were taken by Maltese photographers Joseph P. Smith over a period of 6 years.  In the process he also interviewed the characters that he photographed, capturing their life stories with great sensibility and poignancy. 

The project, the brainchild of the photographer himself, was a collaboration between the author and the Birgu Local Council.  It was mayor John Boxall who made the initial contacts with those featured in the book, explaining what the whole process was about.

The whole undertaking has now been published in a book that will be launched on the 23rd October, 2009 at Caraffa Stores, Vittoriosa Marina.  On the occasion, there will also be a selection of 40 photographs from the book on exhibition.

The publication has also received an award in the prestigious Prix de la Photographie, Paris (Px3) and historian Lino Bugeja has described it as “one of the finest collections of biographies and photographs to appear in English this year.  In range of mood, pace and tone it is a laudable undertaking”.

The Birgu Local Council has also taken the initiative of acquiring a number of books so that these will be then be presented as a gift to the protagonists (or where these have since passed away, to their immediate families).  This presentation will take place on the 6th November 2009 also at Caraffa Stores at 6.00pm.

The author would like to thank the Local Council, particularly Mr John Boxall for all the assistance, and also all the magnificent people of Birgu for their warm welcome and for sharing their experiences.