One of the main purposes of street art is to move people and get them talking, and that certainly happened with a new piece which showed up in Gozo over the weekend. The artist behind it, popular British artist Nathan Bowen, was probably not expecting such a negative backlash.
In several posts and comments submitted to Bowen’s Facebook page on Sunday, many Maltese people expressed their rage at one of his latest graffiti pieces, plastered right on the cliffs in Xlendi Valley. “Well done for defacing one of our island’s most important heritage sites,” the posts said.
“What might have been acceptable under a bridge in Croydon or Brixton certainly was not acceptable in this place,” the post continued. “Your selfish disregard for our natural heritage for pure commercial gain has left the island nation stunned!”
The post quickly gained traction with the local community, and soon, dozens of other Maltese people were posting the same paragraph on Bowen’s photos on their personal profiles.
The flooding of posts and comments on Bowen’s wall followed a Facebook post by Steve Micallef Eynaud, who was in Gozo over Sunday and seemed to be one of the first people to notice the valley’s new additions.
“Who is this Nathan Bowen person and who has given him permission to ruin of of Gozo’s pristine valleys with his silly graffiti?” Eynaud said in a post sharing multiple photos of the scene.
Bowen shot to fame over the last couple of years for being “one of the most recognisable artists on the streets of London,” with his unmistakable style dotting everywhere from Oxford Street to Camden.
Bowen hails from South East London, and had even appeared on BBC’s The Apprentice back in 2012, in an episode where the candidates attempted to sell street art. Participants on the show had described Bowen as “like a crazy workman alien peeing on another crazy workman alien”.