Works of art acquisition

The article ‘Minister’s husband awarded €15,000 OPM deal’ (November 6) leaves much to be desired and lacks crucial facts, which can lead to giving readers the wrong perception of reality.

The acquisition of paintings and works of art from art galleries and private collections is funded through specific financial allocations. Paintings and works of art are bought specifically to embellish public places and enhance the national cultural heritage and national art collection, in a way that represents, in the broadest way possible, the local artistic community. It is a fact that Patrick Dalli is renowned for his particular artistic genre, both locally and abroad. Being the husband of a government minister should not impede his works of art not being included in the national collection.

The article missed a crucial policy point. Works of art are not purchased through a public procurement process. They never were. Throughout the years, each and every administration strived to purchase works of art and to individually commission works of art from local artists.

The article failed to acknowledge that, prior to the actual purchase of any work of art, Heritage Malta experts endorse both its quality and that the price fairly reflects what is being purchased.

This administration gave a very clear direction that each and every work of art purchased by public funds is inventoried as Heritage Malta’s assets and is included in the national art collection.

It is truly ironic that on the eve of the inauguration of Muża, which will also serve as the showpiece of Maltese art, the Times of Malta saw it fit to criticise the efforts being done to enrich the national collection.

Editorial note: This ‘right of reply’ would not have been necessary had the artist and, especially, the Office of the Prime Minister replied when contacted by the Times of Malta prior to publication of the article in question.

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