A controversial street art project to celebrate Valletta 2018 has suffered a major setback.
Six statues were badly damaged after being unveiled on the streets of the capital just 24 hours earlier.
The chairman of Valletta 2018 blamed ‘vandals’, describing them as ‘ignorant’ and ‘an utter disgrace’.
Jason Micallef claimed ‘sick minds could not stand the progress being made in Valletta’.
A carved figure of a bird in a hand had its tail snapped off, while a cat statue outside St John’s Co-Cathedral lost an ear.
Three udders and two ears were also missing from a monument depicting three cows at City Gate, while the statue of a pig near no longer has a tail.
In all, 13 artworks were unveiled on Friday as part of Valletta’s year-long European capital of culture programme.
They depict 13 well-known Maltese proverbs.
Artist Joel Saliba said they were ‘intended to be thought provoking’ and get people talking.
The artworks certainly divided opinion on social media.
Some Facebook users branded them ‘ugly, expensive eyesores’ while others praised the statues as ‘awesome’ and ‘a bit of fun’.
The project, supported by the Valletta 2018 Foundation, is the creative work of Ikona Artworks.
Joel Saliba, Margaret Pace and Sarah-Lee Zammit came up with the concept and installation designs, assisted by Chris Galea for logistical support and Perry Scenic for the manufacture of the artworks.
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