The chosen monument design to commemorate the late Oliver Friggieri has been received with a mixture of praise and criticism for its abstract representation of the Maltese literary giant.
The monument, curated by Gozitan artist John Grima, was chosen by a jury following a call for artists to submit their designs.
However, the final design has been met with criticism from the online community, with some saying that the monument doesn’t reflect what Friggieri represented in life.
“If he died because a tarmac roller ran over him I would understand,” said Jon Mallia.
“And is that a face you make when you are on your period? Everyone who knew him knew that he had a kind soul,” he said.
Much of the criticism was aimed at the monument’s facial expressions.
“What monstrosity is this? Besides the total lack of aesthetics, Prof Friggieri’s facial expression is totally incongruent with how he was in real life. He was such a meek and gentle soul!” another user said.
Artist Steve Bonello felt that the country could do better to pay homage to one of its literary greats.
“I don’t usually comment negatively on local art and artists but if this is the best this country can offer as a homage to one of its finest writers then I can only weep,” he said.
Although the design was received poorly by some, others, including Gozitan MP Chris Said, praised Grima for his work.
“John Grima is today an established artist and several of his prestigious works are scattered throughout the island of Gozo. This is another creation from his many successes that makes him and us Gozitans proud,” he said.
The monument will feature in Floriana, Friggieri’s hometown, alongside other notable monuments including that of the First World War and Dun Karm Psaila, the national poet.
Its design and construction will cost roughly €100,000.
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