San Dub (Pigeon-Priest Melting Statue)

Fine Art

“San Dub” (a Maltese wordplay playing on “ser indub” – meaning “I am going to melt”) was a 3m melting statue just outside Spazju Kreattiv (in Castille Square, Valletta) questioning the role of tradition and the Maltese’s tribalistic obsession with idolising patron saints and politicians (from any side of the political spectrum).

The Maltese public-art landscape is predominantly scattered with bronze tributes to either political figures or saints so this statue can be seen as an invitation to reconsider our role models and the elements defining our national identity in the 21st century. The statue was placed in front of the exhibition venue – which happens to be a stone’s throw away from the Office of the Prime Minister

The title “San Dub” (pronounced /sɐnˈdu:p/ ) is a Maltese word play – a homophonic pun exploiting the similar-sounding “ser indub” – meaning “I am going to melt”. The prefix “San” denotes sainthood – a linguistic coincidence that conveniently ties to this statue’s rationale.

Although the idea of a pigeon priest appeals to my taste for playfully dissonant creations, the choice of bird is not merely coincidental. Despite the apparent randomness, I did bear in mind that pigeons and monuments already have a long history of inglorious collaborations: namely the fact that pigeons shit on every monument – irrespective of who’s being put on a pedestal. It was the pigeons that started the revolution first.

Julinu’s Radioactive Ravioli ran until 26 May 2019 at Spazju Kreattiv, St James Cavalier, Valletta, Malta.