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‘Let Them Speak’ is a public intervention by Adrian Abela, constructed in collaboration with Versatile by Halmann Vella.

The public intervention, which is located in the parade ground of this fort, is, so to say, allowing the tiles to speak for themselves.

The tiles have been chosen so as to create a tension and a connection both between the design and colours in each tile and between them as a whole. When viewed asclusters, an abstract narrative can be read.

Most importantly, the manner in which they are positioned articulates the concept via the QR code. The viewer is invited to interact with the installation by using a bar & QR code-reading application on his/her phone. A text comes up which leads the viewer to a website. This gives a new purpose to the tiles: it allows them to speak rather than to be only stepped on.

Patterned cement tiles have been used in the Mediterranean region since the early 1900’s and, through the years, have been used to adorn palaces, houses, mansions and commercial outlets. These patterned tiles take Halmann Vella back to its humble beginnings, where in 1954 two entrepreneurial brothers from the village of Mgarr Malta, Vincenzo and his brother decided to start manufacturing tiles and bought a small tile-making machine press. Till this very day, each of the tiles is made one at a time, by the hands of skilled artisans. Such tiles are available in antique, classic and contemporary styles; however, this intervention aims to add a new dimension to these patterned tiles – thereby bringing them forth to the new century.

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