Chinese-themed Carnival float and dance performance won first place in Gozo Carnival
Labonski Carnival Company’s float and its accompanying dancers amazed people with creative theme of Chinese culture and won first place in Gozo’s Regional Carnival 2023.
Mme. Yuan Yuan, Director of the China Cultural Centre in Malta congratulated the Labonski Carnival float and dancers and said, “This was the first time that the Centre collaborated with a local Carnival company. It is very exciting to see Chinese culture being promoted and enjoyed in Malta and Gozo in festivals like the Carnival.”
“The idea to construct a float with a Chinese theme was developed two years ago,” said Jean Grima, secretary and one of the leaders of the Labonski Carnival Company. “Renowned Gozitan artist Adonai Camilleri Cauchi worked on the design, and after the committee and members agreed, we started to give life to this new creation.”
Grima explained that Gozo floats are constructed differently than Malta, particularly in the use of a metal frame instead of a wooden one. Building a float involves long and laborious processes, including coverage of the base frame with chicken wire, two layers of newspapers, and then, thicker paper. Next come the preparatory layers to serve as a base for the fluorescent colour paint that is used to decorate the float. The interior mechanisms to move the figures on the float are also added. Eventually, light ornaments are introduced to enhance further the monumental work involved. For the first time this year, the Labonski Carnival Company has also utilised light screens on the float to add to the Carnival magic. Moreover, on the tractor which pulled the float, there were two screens showing intriguing footage about China and its culture.
Named ‘F’dil Kultura Orjentali, min-Namur sa Arti Marzjali’ (In this Oriental Culture, from Romance to Martial Arts), the float had a huge moving dragon at the front which made loud noises and spurted smoke from its mouth. A large figure of a beautiful Chinese lady dressed in a traditional costume rose out and high on the float, with the characters of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan standing on each side. At the rear of the float, a Chinese couple sat on a swing and kissed each other while forming a heart with their fingers.
“We have chosen the Chinese theme because Chinese culture is very colourful and decorative, giving us a wide opportunity to make fantastic creations,” revealed esteemed artist Michael Camilleri Cauchi.
His work was displayed by the dancers of the Labonski Dance Company who wore costumes of colourful red armour and golden dragons, amongst others. The male and female dancers presented a performance which blended both the western and eastern cultures.
“Expenses are high to come up with such good work,” said George Zammit, the founder of the Labonski Carnival Company who has been working on Carnival floats since 1974. “However, by now, Carnival is part of our life, and we will do whatever it takes to build beautiful Carnival floats each year. We have really appreciated the support from the China Cultural Centre in Malta, since this encourages us to continue to share the joy of Carnival with all who come to celebrate it with us.”