Graffiti in Valletta – is this Art or Vandalism?

picture taken by Michelle Buhagiar

picture taken by Michelle Buhagiar

This morning graffiti have been painted on the still-to-be-finished grand Valletta entrance. Seeing the picture on Facebook I thought it looked good and not having read what it was about I had this impression that this wasn’t Malta.

From that first glance I thought it was a minimalist art installation in some foreign capital. I mentally bookmarked and continued scrolling on my merry way until I saw the news item crop up on The Times that is.

I curiously clicked the link and the news item was all about this ‘vandal’ who defaced the Valletta entrance way. And then the dilemma struck me. Is this Art or Vandalism?

The picture taken of the graffiti is beautiful (kudos to the photographer, whom I understand is very much against the graffiti) which makes it very hard to condone as wrong. But aside from the aesthetic qualities, this raises some questions;

Was this simple self expression or was the artist trying to make a statement?

After all this happened only a few days after the issue of Pjazza Teatru Rjal and its inaccessibility to artists, even when this space was promised to be the people’s theater. Was the artist trying to address the lack of space for arts and culture in Malta? Needless to say the location of the graffiti is very apt, considering Valletta is meant to be the European Capital of Culture in 2018 and yet we still do not have a museum of modern art or any decent space for smaller artists and performers to meet, organise exhibitions, collaborate, etc.

Looking at the photo it is immediately noticeable that these aren’t the usual thug, half arsed graffiti. There is heart and thought behind it. What is depicted is a positive image, an image of love. It’s minimalist in nature and from the view of this photo it almost compliments Renzo Piano’s vision.

The more I look at the photo the more thorn I feel inside. I understand that it IS wrong for graffiti to be painted on newly finished works. The Valletta entrance already has a vision and unfortunately outside art installations such as this one aren’t part of it. But this painting does raise a lot of questions, and ones which need to be addressed quickly. In a capital city which is dead in the middle of the night and is meant to play such an important role in 2018 there is a lot to be done, and extra carnivals and festi will simply not do.

So here I am, more confused than when I started writing this; is this art or vandalism? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section below.

What is so offensive about laundry?

The guys over at Bay Easy decided to veer off what they do best (and by ‘what they do’ I really mean what they think they do), and comment about the state of affairs in Valletta.

They posted this photo and comment on their Facebook page;

Bay Easy comments about laundry in Valletta

“Is this still acceptable in the future European Capital of Culture? Pants and socks hang on a line IN THE STREET near Fort St Elmo in Valletta”

Of course the comments section soon filled up with badly written sentences and appallingly written words. Disgraceful, shameless, how awful, they all cried, but what is so offensive about laundry?

Malta is blessed with sun and gentle breezes, and on a beautiful day like today, yes you do your laundry and stick it outside to dry. If that so happens to be facing a street because there is no roof access then so be it, there is nothing offensive about laundry.

If Bay Easy wants to point their fingers and shame then why don’t they point at all those people who leave their car on, in the middle of the road, while they go to buy their ‘pakkett imsiemer’ (cigarettes), or those who think our roads are just one big landfill, or worse still those who drive their cars thinking they are an Ayrton Senna reincarnation?

That’s what’s offensive, not clean laundry hanging in the street, which is at the end of the day part of our culture and heritage. So yes, Bay Easy, this is still acceptable, even for the future European Capital of Culture, the beautiful Valletta.