Director, Teacher, Mentor, Friend
I still remember in June 1983 when I visited Donald Friggieri’s exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. Impeccably displayed, it was a remarkable collection of an innovative, contemporary design in silversmithing with a clever and highly refined craftsmanship. It was the product of his thesis as he had just graduated in three-dimensional design from Middlesex University.
Yet we actually and accidentally rubbed shoulders some 10 years before in the early ‘70s while placing our works for a Sacred Art exhibition at the Annex of St John’s Co-Cathedral. But it was only in 1993, when he took the post of Headship at the Art and Design Centre (ADC) in Valletta, where I had just been teaching, that we started to get to know each other.
Both of us lecturing in evening classes, we would meet between school hours and the evening session, take a walk in the streets of the city, and stop for a snack or a drink. Those were the moments when we started to build our friendship, sharing ideas and debating, while not missing an occasional pinch of his humorous remarks.
In 2001, with the foundation of MCAST, he was the driving force in giving birth to the College’s Institute of Art and Design (now Institute for the Creative Arts) at Targa Gap, Mosta, together with some members of staff from the ADC, including myself.
His disciplined yet amicable approach towards the teaching and learning aspects of education were an inspiration to both students and staff. His ever-constant support, understanding and complete trust in the performance of my duties until his retirement in 2008 are at the heart of my cherished memories, and mark some of the best years of my teaching career.