A ROW has broken out in Malta over an artwork in the village of Luqa, ahead of the Pope’s visit on April 17.
The local council, describing it as “a monument of shame” wants the thing removed before Ratzinger hits town.
But the Front Against Censorship said yesterday that it believes that the phallic-like sculpture on a roundabout outside the Lidl store should not be removed, not even temporarily for the Pope’s visit.
Such an act would classify as yet another obscene case of censorship, much in the same vein as the recent literature and theatre censorship cases.
It said it believed it was not within the remit of Luqa local council to decide what was acceptable for the Pope to view.
The implied logic that the monument be removed because it might be scandalous to the Pope is insulting both to the artist and to the general public.
The front said it regretted that this issue hade made international headlines, bringing ridicule on Malta.
In a statement issued on Monday, Luqa Mayor John Schembri said:
In the opinion of the council, the Pope’s first visit among us risks being a source of embarrassment to the people of Luqa and the Maltese in general, due to the obscene ‘monument’ which is still dominating the LIDL roundabout on one’s entry into the village.
Mr Schembri said that ever since this “parody of artistic expression” was erected, the council had never ceased to draw the attention of the central government to the fact that this monument, if indeed it deserved the name, constituted a vulgar insult as well as an arrogant imposition on the people of Luqa.
On this issue, the Council has already consulted and has the total backing of the ecclesiastical authorities of the village, who have in fact already written to complain about the absurd welcome immediately awaiting the Pope’s arrival at Luqa and have asked for a quick redress of the situation. There can be no doubt that, among the people of Luqa, there is a widespread cross-party consensus that the object placed at the entrance of Luqa is not the most fitting way in which to greet the Pope, especially by what is considered to be the most Catholic country in the world.
Consequently, the Luqa Local Council is once again launching a firm and heartfelt appeal to Government, and particularly the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of Local Councils, to make a timely and mature intervention ordering the removal of this so-called work of art which has been lumped upon the village of Luqa.
If not out of respect for the residents of Luqa, this intervention is being requested at least as a sign of respect for His Holiness the Pope. This would, in the Council’s opinion, be a fitting conclusion to the current praiseworthy embellishment exercise being carried out in the Pope’s honour across the Maltese Islands.
Colonna Mediterranea, as the monument is actually called, is the work of Paul Vella Critien and was installed in January 2006. The monumental sculpture was said to be an abstract based on fantasy and the beauty of the Mediterranean colours.
Commented one wag beneath the Times of Malta report:
Why don’t we cover it with rubber. Wait better, not or else we will surely offend the Pope!
Malta is country that rarely gets mentioned on this blog, as nothing ever seems to happen in there, but what with the Pedobear graffiti and now the Luqa monument all on one week, it seems we will have to keep a much closer eye on this Mediterranean country in the future.
Hat Tip: Jen
Update: 13.04.2010: We have just learned that graffiti artists have struck again, this time with stencil graffiti of Pedobear sprayed on the choir stand next to the Pope’s stage on the Floriana granaries, where Mass will be heard on Sunday. Gosh, who ever imagined Malta could get so exciting.