Nursery Crime, 2022

Nursery Crime, Space A, Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta, Malte

A woman cleans the marble statue of Queen Victoria in Valletta.

The title of this work is taken from the 1971 Genesis album Nursery Cryme. The first track, Musical Box, tells a macabre story from Victorian Britain, in which a girl kills a boy by cleaving his head off with a croquet mallet. The strange quality of the lyrics further amplifies the surreal quality of the crime.

The statue of Queen Victoria in Republic Square in Valletta is here seen as a metaphor of this tragic moment suspended in time. The statue represents a woman – a mother of nine children – who incarnates imperialist power.

The statue chosen for the performance is one of a very few in Malta representing a woman (with the exception of the ubiquitous Virgin mother-figure). The performance is embodied by another woman, this time in flesh and bone, cleaning or caring for the statue with an object made of human hair. She could be a nurse, a housekeeper, or a scientist as she is taking care of a stone relic from the past. She could be the incarnation of generations of women of the island taking care of those who suffered during wars, invasions, and slavery.

“And the nurse will tell you lies
Of a kingdom beyond the skies
But I am lost within this half-world
It hardly seems to matter now”

From Musical Box, Genesis 1971



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