The divisive cult of a people that murdered one of its own

Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia née Vella was a Maltese writer, journalist, blogger and anti-corruption activist reporting mainly on political events in Malta. She was born August 26, 1964 and assassinated on October 16, 2017 whilst driving close to her home in Bidnija in her leased car. This was made to explode, killing her instantly and leaving the vehicle scattered in several pieces across nearby fields.

Mizzi never endorsed Caruana Galizia’s journalism, especially due to statements deemed offensive by Maltese individuals with a leftist political philosophy. This sentiment was shared by many. While some, including the artist, opted to boycott her blog, others targeted the journalist with harsh comments and even demonization.

When the events of October 16th unfolded, some were not surprised while others were shocked. The artist remembers being at work at the Valletta 2018 Foundation when the news broke. Most colleagues present at the office were horrified, but some were almost relieved.

This artwork created in 2021, symbolises the deep-seated divisions within Maltese society. In the wake of Caruana Galizia’s brutal murder, many people in Malta were sharply divided over their opinions of her and her work, with some celebrating her death as the end of a supposed “the witch from Bidnija,” while others saw it as a tragic example of a society that has lost its moral compass.

The artwork, with its sharp cut that seems to tear Caruana Galizia apart, reflects the stark divide between these two groups. For some, the cut represents a victory over a perceived enemy, while for others, it is a painful reminder of the violence and hatred that has torn their society apart.

Despite its potent symbolism, the artwork failed to attract any buyers when it was auctioned off at the 2021 Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation online art auction. Nevertheless, it has since gained international recognition and was featured in a 2022 documentary about Malta’s contemporary issues titled “Malta: Small islands, big issues for Europe” by France 24. The documentary is presented by France 24’s European affairs editor Catherine Nicholson, produced by Johan Bodin, filmed on location by Stéphane Bodin, with Luke Brown.

In December 2022, the artwork also received a certificate of artistic achievement in the Luxembourg Art Prize 2022, underscoring its significance as a poignant commentary on the challenges facing Maltese society today.

In October 2023, Mizzi bestowed ‘Daphne’ upon the Office of the President of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where it became part of the permanent collection.

Size 60 × 40 cm
Medium Digital print on Fujicolour Crystal Archive Type II

‘Daphne’ hanging in the Protocol Room at the Office of the President of the Europen Parliament in Strasbourg