‘My greatest joy was going to Valletta and seeing my work’ - Meet Bastjan, the artist behind one of Malta’s lost crafts
The art of tberfil was very popular in the in the 1950’s.
In a recent interview with The People of Malta, Bastjan recalled his time as a tberfil artist and all the incredible works of art he’s done throughout his career.
For those of you who don’t know, tberfil is a Maltese traditional craft involving the delicate and colourful painting of vehicles. It was very popular from the 1950’s onwards but has since declined and has now almost became a lost craft.
“The first vehicle I painted was a Hillman Mix, which belonged to my father. In those days, in the 1950s, tberfil was a popular craft. Many carts had tberfil and later you could see tberfil on local buses as well”, Bastjan revealed.
Bastjan always loved painting which is why when the fuel business started declining, he quit his job and started making a living by being a tberfil artist.
“I used to work from 6.30am till 9pm. Back in the day, I only used paint brushes. I have worked on all sorts of things, but my greatest pleasure is working on trucks”, Bastjan continued.
“I never gave up. I worked hard to ensure that the clients got what they requested”.
However, Bastjan always declined clients who would ask him to write names or indecent words as that was not his style.
“I can’t say that it was a boring job. I felt sad when I finished my work on a bus and it left the premises. My greatest joy was going to Valletta and seeing my work on display”, Bastjan nostalgically recalled.
Unfortunately, Bastjan heartbreakingly expressed how tberfil is now becoming a lost art as no one practices or sees its use anymore.
“Tberfil is declining rapidly. I have retired now; I no longer do this work. I kept this van as a reminder. It was thrown away; I brought it here, cleaned it, fixed it and gave it a fresh paint of coat”.
Well done on such an incredible career!
Facebook/The People of Malta