A unique metal portrait of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been permanently displayed right outside the press conference room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
This means journalists and other high-ranking EU dignitaries, including Prime Ministers, will see Caruana Galizia’s face every time they enter the press conference room, which has already been named after her.
The portrait is the work of Malta-based metal artist Marie Louise Kold, who spent around 470 hours working on it in the months following the journalist’s murder last year.
“Following the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, I had no choice but to act, to do whatever I could as a professional artist,” she said during the unveiling of her portrait. “I wanted to not only honour this fearless journalist, but also help keep her memory alive. Also in the face of those – not least her murderers – who would prefer to eradicate her memory.”
“I already knew Daphne Catuana Galizia as a journalist. Over the past year, I have spoken to Daphne’s husband and visited their home. And through all this I also got to know a woman who put art and beauty before practicality, and who consistently put integrity before convenience…and even before her own safety.”
Marie-Louise Kold spent around 470 hours working on the portrait (Photo: Marie-Louise Kold: Facebook)
Kold’s portrait, crafted from etched and patinated metal, is heavily symbolic. The etched areas were filled in with printer’s ink from one of the printing presses that used to print Caruana Galizia’s words, and elements from the late journalist’s life are integrated into the side of the asymmetrical frame. These include pictures of books, dogs and elephants, which she loved, imprints of leaves from her garden, the article from the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights that refers to freedom of expression and Caruana Galizia’s own last words.
“When a journalist is killed, we are all worse off. We all lose,” Kold said. “She was controversial, but whether you agreed with her or not – unless you’re a criminal or corrupt – you lose.”
“When integrity becomes a scarcity and entitlement and impunity spread, we cannot be silent. When freedom of speech is attacked we all need to roar with outrage. And when time passes and no one is held to account, that outraged roar doesn’t fade. It multiplies in strength and in volume. It manifests itself in ways that cannot be silenced. This portrait is my roar.”
Although it is worth an estimated €30,000 she donated it to the European Parliament after first running it past PN MEP candidate Peter Agius, who is the speechwriter of EP President Antonio Tajani.
From left: Matthew Caruana Galizia, Marie-Louise Kold, Antonio Tajani, Peter Caruana Galizia
In his speech at the unveiling, Tajani hailed Caruana Galizia as “a frontline solider in the defence of European values” and reiterated his call for an international investigation into who masterminded her murder.
“The men who carried out the murder have been arrested but that’s it,” he said. “Daphne’s investigations didn’t deal with petty criminals but with much more serious things. In a country where the rule of law operated, citizens should be entitled to know who commissioned this murder.”
The late journalist’s widower Peter Caruana Galizia, who attended the launch along with other relatives, said his wife would have loved the painting had she been alive to see it.
“Daphne had a passion for everything that was unique, different and original, and this painting qualifies on all counts,” he said. “I think a part of her will be alive and kicking in this room in Strasbourg.”