Turkish representative suspected of having vandalised Maltese artist’s exhibition

Artist Norbert Attard's exhibition in Strasbourg vandalised by Turkish national at the lobby of the Parliamentary Assembly was torn out

The installation by artist Norbert Attard was vandalised
The installation by artist Norbert Attard was vandalised

A Turkish representative is suspected of having vandalized an exhibition by Maltese artist Norbert Attard, which is currently being showcased at the lobby of the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg.

The exhibition, entitled ‘Exile series: The road not taken’, was inaugurated on 10 October, marking Malta’s 50th anniversary since becoming a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Attard’s installation includes a collage of over 1,000 photos, meant to celebrate human rights such as the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The part which was targeted by the vandal showed a ‘censored’ version of a Danish cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad – a cartoon that had been at the centre of much controversy. Aware of the controversy surrounding it, Attard had placed the word censored, covering the figure’s face.

It however transpires that a Turkish individual, who reportedly is an assistant to a Turkish member of parliament, took umbrage at the photo and tore it out.

Malta’s permanent representative Marlene Bonnici was verbally informed of the incident and an internal report has also been drawn up.

Malta’s permanent representation contacted both the government and the artist himself over the incident while a meeting was called with the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly to seek further clarifications. Malta has requested a full report.

The secretary general also  conveyed his unreserved apologies and said that such behaviour was unacceptable.

“It was reported that a Turkish Representative was involved,” the Ministry said in a statement. “The President of the Parliamentary Assembly intends to meet the head of the Turkish Parliamentary delegation concerning the matter.”

Pending the formal report, the secretary general has also proposed “a practical solution”, which has been passed on to Attard for his consideration. No further information as made available by the ministry.