Everyone likes a bit of public art-works dotted around the place. A city with none would be a dreary place indeed. What would Paris be without the Eiffel Tower looming in the background? What would Dublin be without the Spire? What’s that? You’re not familiar with the Spire of Dublin? Well it’s an enormous metal spike in the middle of O’Connell street, winning entry in the search for a suitably impressive object to celebrate the millenium. I had two fantastic ideas for this competition myself, since you ask: an enormous statue of Finn MacCumhail to be placed in some remote field, or if you don’t like that one, 200 life-sized statues of regular Dublin folk to be situated around the city in naturalistic poses. Sadly, I was extremely busy at the end of the ’90’s and did not as a consequence have time to submit either entry. Your loss, Ireland.
But I digress. Luckily, Malta has plenty of sculptures for tourists to take photos next to or on. One of the morefamous is the Love Sculpture, which is the word ‘love’ written upside-down in hefty stone and plonked next to the waterfront in St Julians. It has been placed next to the water so that if you come upon it from the right angle, you can see ‘love’ written the right way up reflected in the water. Allegedly. In high season it is virtually impossible to walk that stretch of pavement without blocking someone trying to take a picture of their friend crouching in the ‘O’ of ‘love’.
If you keep on walking for another half an hour or so you will meet the ‘White Shadows’ piece. This is a big slab of stone with the silhouette of four people carved out of it. Again, this is custom-made for tourist photo opportunities, as you can imagine.
And then on the pedestrianised shopping street of Bisazza in Sliema, you have a group of three people, cast in iron or some other substantial metal and drinking tea. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a fourth seat around the table which is empty. Where’s that camera?