Street games and leisure activities. Surveillance.
Seesaw by Aaron Bezzina
Eagle Street, Valletta
Noli. Ħarba. Ball-rails. Balloon taċ-ċarruta. Ċrieki.
Erbgħa kantunieri. Boċċi. Ħabel.
The development of the work and the choice of the location was two-fold. Aaron’s moving sculpture was intended to interpret the multiple facets that related to play. It used a sphere to make reference to games that involved a ball, as well as the repetitive use of ċrieki for its main body. Taking the form of a seesaw, the movement interpreted the upward and downhill characteristics of the physical landscape of the area, without which none of these games could have been played. As the work was being made and drawn up, we had an interesting conversation with one of the residents who made custom-made toys for the children in the Baviera area, evidencing how much play was still alive in the neighbourhood.
Mari tal-ħanut gathered children in the street (West Street) and crafted objects such as weighing scales, seesaws and wind vanes from tins of food and shoe polish boxes.
The notion of surveillance in this scenario makes direct reference to the mothers overseeing their children play in the streets from balconies above. It also addresses the sensation of walking underneath a niche, with its statue looking down on you as you move past. The concept of height was therefore important to the final work. Eagle Street was selected as an ideal location for the installation – its narrowness allowed for the dominant height of the sculpture, lending an imposing effect on viewers as they walk beneath it. In addition, the nearby arches complemented the shape of the circular ribs, which made up the main body of the work.
Parts of the main supporting structure of 'Seesaw' was donated to nearby neighbours.