The mystery of Valletta's three-legged horse
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The mystery of Valletta's three-legged horse

Horse statue's missing leg, shortened name, symbolises lost power

Many raised questions this morning as to why a statue of a horse, installed at City Gate last night, only has three legs, and it is called Zieme, not Ziemel (horse).

The 4m work Austin Camilleri is meant to convey a message on power and politics, the V-18 Foundation explained on their website.

“We all know that history is written by the winners, and winners generally make sure that their tenure is immortalised in various kinds of monuments. People like to portray themselves as winners and sometimes embellish or change historical accounts in order to highlight their dominance in specific political situations. Heroes are depicted as being triumphant, severe, authoritarian and assertive.

“Austin Camilleri’s sculpture takes off from a simple premise: the fact that Malta, unlike other countries in northern Europe, has no equestrian monuments.

"In equestrian monuments, the horse carries representatives of power on its back and hence is somewhat symbolic of power itself. His horse thus refers to Malta’s historic links with other colonial powers, yet its location in front of Valletta’s new Parliament building designed by Renzo Piano supplements it with rich, additional layers of meaning.

"Still, a missing detail in this horse transforms the sculpture into an ironic testimony to the illusory nature of power. His loss makes him no longer productive.”

The installation is part of VIVA - Valletta International Visual Arts Festival being held between September 1 - 7.

VIVA is being co-organised by St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Arts Council Malta, the Valletta 2018 Foundation and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ."

www.viva.org.mt

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