“Beauty is ever to the lonely mind a shadow fleeting; she is never plain. She is a visitor who leaves behind the gift of grief, the souvenir of pain.”  – Christopher Morley

Valletta’s historical red light district around Strait Street was in its heyday at the time when Malta was a British naval base, especially in the first half of the twentieth century.

Long abandoned and condemned in more ways than one, The Splendid Hotel at 74 Strait Street was reopened as an art venue in April 2011

No longer a market for love, all that’s left from the red light district days are souvenirs of pain on display in a jar.

Furniture found abandoned in the same building, similar to a souvenir display case, served as the setting for this intimate piece by Tabone, presenting what appear to be human foetuses in jars, offered as souvenirs.

Some were encouraged to reach gently into the jars with their index finger and touch the contents to attest their veracity directly. In most cases they stained their finger with indelible red ink but didn’t notice this until later. One visitor squealed in horror in one of the Malta newspapers that she didn’t “have the stomach for such displays.”

The launch of Splendid Lounge was organised by Fondazzjoni Temi Zammit in April 2011.

  © 2024 Enrique Tabone