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Are These Baby Heads On A Maltese Church Door Artistic Or Just Plain Creepy?

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Art has always been subjective, but this sculpture on a Church door in San Pawl Tat-Targa could well be pushing the boundaries of that popular dictum. 

A door on the Gesu Hniena Divina church is adorned with fifty baby heads, including some with distorted faces and other crying with agony. It is the work of Gozitan artist Austin Camilleri, the man behind a controversial three-legged horse statue which had been placed at the entrance of Valletta a few years ago. 

Fr Michael Agius, the priest in charge of the church, said the piece forms part of artwork with symbolism of the Divine Mercy that Camilleri had designed to adorn the church’s three doors.

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The baby heads were inspired by fifty different Gozitan children and symbolise the popular Chaplet of the Divine Mercy prayer, in which the line “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and the whole world” are repeated 50 times.

“Some children who came for Cathecism classes had commented about how weird the statue was but then once I put one of the heads in the hands of a nine-year-old girl and asked her what she made of its expression,” Fr. Agius said. “She told me it looked like baby Jesus worried about his future suffering, which left me speechless. Art is truly relative and different people interpret it in different ways.” 

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