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Explosions: Kaxxa Infernali

Maltese fishermen (and firework-makers) have, in the past, fished unexploded bombs from the islet of Filfla, which was used as target practice for rockets, missiles and torpedoes during the British Rule (1800-1974).

Kaxxa Infernali [2]: Explosions is a solo piece to be premiered in May 2021 at Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta. It will unfold a ‘sound’ landscape made out of voices, sounds, noise,and histories (personal and national) connected to different types of explosions – military, ritualistic, artistic, criminal – from fireworks to bombs, on the Island of Malta

This year Grima will be working on the topic of explosions after discovering various stories that deserved further contemplation on the Island, one of the most bombarded places on Earth during World War II, with a turbulent political history in the ’70s and 80’s and more recently with a series of car-bombs and a number of incidents in firework factories, which brought numerous tragedies and deaths over the past century.

During the research and conversations, the artist also drew upon his personal history: part of his family through three generations is engaged in the manufacturing of fireworks and has lived in the quiet village of Qrendi [3] , a stone’s throw away from Filfla. 

Silence has come to play an important role in this creation. 


  1. 1) Filfla is a small, mostly barren, uninhabited islet 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) south of Malta, and is the most southery point of the Maltese Archipelago. filflu (or filfluu), a small rocky islet some 101 metres (331 feet) southwest of Filfla, has the southernmost point of Malta.
  2. (2) Kaxxa (a number of petards (type of cartridge placed with ‘stilel’ or ‘beraq’) connected together by ‘mazzi’, in order to be set alight in sequence) rising without pause and with great noise, which is generally set off in the evening. It is said that one priest who was watching the ‘kaxxa’ go off was heard saying, ‘All this fire, seems like hell!’ (s. Kaxxa Infernali: Carlston Grima)
  3. (3) Qrendi is a small village in the Southern Region of Malta, with a population of 2752 people as of March 2014. It is located close to Mqabba, Żurrieq and Siggiewi. Within its boundaries are two well-known Neolithic temples called Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim. In this village two feasts are held annually. The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated either on the last Sunday of June or on the first Sunday of July, with 15 August being the titular feast of the Ascension of Our Lady. This feast is popularly known as the feast of Santa Marija.