I recently wrote a post regarding the graffiti that maimed the newly embellished city gate at the entrance of Valletta. The debate has been reignited once again due to the cost required to remove this – a staggering €4,000. Is this justified?
As I previously argued, I personally do not mind street art and the message it portrays – however, this should be done in a responsible manner. For someone to spray something on a newly refurbished national monument is somewhat idiotic. I will not go into the merits of Piano’s project, and whether it is good or bad, but this site still remains a landmark to the Maltese public nonetheless.
To be frank, it is exhausting and embarrassing how certain people are responding to the removal of this ‘painting’. Despite it portraying a heart warming message, it is a blatant disrespect of our capital city and what it represents to our culture. As I argued, the street artist could have casually painted this symbol over the red boards that currently line the entrance, or sprayed it on the tarmac floor, or even dashed through Republic Street and smacked it onto some shop’s shutter.
Such a debate is very symptomatic of an uncultured population – on one side you get the supporters of ‘freedom of expression’, ‘art lovers’ and ‘Piano haters’, who square against the ‘conservatives’, ‘anti-art’ and ‘Piano supporters’. There is never a middle ground in such debates, since people will always think themselves to be right and superior to the other party. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it is frustrating how such a large portion of the Maltese population freely regurgitates their thoughts without considering if they make sense.
In conclusion, please STOP insulting actual street artists and calling this a ‘Maltese Banksy’ – it is disturbing to those people who actually know a thing or two about art. This painting is simply a cheap cardboard cutout sprayed on with black paint, as can be observed from the images below – which in itself shows how amateur this ‘artist’ is. It is also very revealing about how some Maltese people do business – by plagiarizing someone’s work.