After €209,000 spent, Xwejni sculpture deemed ‘incompatible’

The Gozo Ministry has found itself in a quandary after a €209,000 sculpture it commissioned by direct order for a remote and pristine area of coastline has been deemed “completely incompatible” and “out of context” by various regulatory authorities.

The Shift is informed that while the Planning Authority is currently preparing its recommendation on a planning development application filed by the ministry’s permanent secretary John Borg, the unique initiative could turn out to be a complete waste of public funds.

Apart from various objections from the owners of the centuries-old salt pans in the remote area of Xwejni, who claim the area earmarked for the installation of an eight-legged bronze horse statue is their private property, all the public authorities consulted so far – the Design Advisory Committee, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage – have given it the thumbs down.

In no uncertain terms, the three Authorities told the PA that the sculpture did not make any sense and could be an eyesore marring the remote and otherwise pristine surroundings.

All those consulted recommended the PA not issue the permit as the sculpture would be entirely out of context and incompatible with the area.

They also suggested that the ministry, once it had already committed to the almost quarter of a million euro expense, should find a more suitable spot “in a more urban area of the coastline or even inland”.

Some objectors described the installation as “senseless” and a complete “waste of money” and gave reasons: “The installation will attract more people to the remote area where salt is still manufactured in the pens. This will mean damage to the industry and the already fragile rock,” one objector said.

“Bronze on the edge of the coast, in an area known for its rough seas in inclement weather, do not really go together. The statue will be finished in a few years,” another frequent visitor familiar with the area told the PA.

The Shift last October revealed that €209,000 had been awarded to renowned Gozitan artist Austin Camilleri for the sculpture.

When contacted over the fact that the sculpture was to be installed in the middle of nowhere, the artist defended the location, saying, “The sculpture is site-specific”.

Camilleri had also rubbished claims that the earmarked area is privately owned, stating that “the site is government property and is not leased”.

Neither Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri nor his Permanent Secretary John Borg has explained the €209,000 decision.

                           
                           
                               
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Mick
Mick
4 days ago

Mafialand headquarters, with money to burn, sounds like a bit of laundering to me, a scandal a day keeps the law at bay as they say.

I. Gatt
I. Gatt
3 days ago
Reply to  Mick

This so called sculpture, with nill artistic value, was never intended to be installed. This was simply an exercise for a comfortable sum of cash to change hands!

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
4 days ago

“The sculpture is site-specific”

Meaning of site-specific: “A work of art designed specifically for a particular location and that has an interrelationship with the location.”

Whether, and to what extent, a bronze statue of what is intended to look like a combination of one upside down headless ‘rampant’ horse on top of another headless ‘rampant’ horse has any inter-relation with a stretch of rock foreshore in a remote part of Gozo, should baffle and any right-think person.

Last edited 4 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
R Agius
R Agius
4 days ago

This is corruption using the discretion afforded by being in power and utilising channels that are not quite ‘illegal’ and if they are then the corrupt forces will be there as a ‘safety net for the corrupt’.

makjavel
makjavel
4 days ago

This is simply robbing the nation while trying to justify the act by stating stupidities.
Just say that the party is giving €200,000 to a friend of friends , because the minister says so, and the Prime Minister is neutered. In the meantime the Finance Minister is toast.

John C.
John C.
4 days ago

Mafia Ministry

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
4 days ago

Why not use the eight-legged cow that was placed in from of the Parliament Building?

Anthony
Anthony
4 days ago

The material will corrode and affect the salt pans negatively.

makjavel
makjavel
3 days ago
Reply to  Anthony

Probably poison the salt and let s hope does not kill anybody.
These stupid POTs ( Persons Of Thrust) Castille Chamber Pots would be more precise , have no brains , have no knowledge and have no responsibility.

John C.
John C.
3 days ago

From an artistic point, it’s really ugly

G buckle
G buckle
2 days ago

What an expensive joke. Who on earth thought this would be admired .?
Cancel the order

Jonathan Sorrell
Jonathan Sorrell
2 days ago

There are so many far more urgent and necessary things that need attending to, including of course so many of the roads and pavements on the island. Who gives the mandate for this kind of grossly irresponsible spending of public funds ?

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