Stonelove Project

Cornish sculptor, Mark Verry’s larger-than-life figure of a mother and child in Maltese Stone to be sited in a public space in Malta.

What does it mean? 

The project was initially inspired by the ancient Neolithic Maltese stone figures. It represents a confluence of ancient and modern Malta, carved in the indigenous stone and representing love, family, motherhood and hope for the future arising from an appreciation of history, and of Malta’s fundamental roots. The past, and the future existing in the present.Why?‘I have been in love with Malta since the age of 12. My personal history is closely linked with the island. My father, a naval officer met my mother, a British nurse, here and they were married in the chapel on Fort St Angelo in 1952. We returned as a family in 1965 for a holiday and then every summer following. To this day I still have very close Maltese friends made at that time.I have had frequent opportunities to return, I brought my wife here on honeymoon and subsequent family holidays with our own children.I continue to have a great affection for the Maltese people, appreciating their warmth, hospitality, passion, values, history and of course beauty. This sculpture is an expression of my response to Malta, my love for it and a recognition of it’s influence in my life’.

How?

‘In 1990 I visited Joe Xuereb in Gozo, having seen his work exhibited in Malta and became interested in the local Maltese stone. Since graduating from St Martin’s College of Art as a Sculptor, I had worked almost exclusively in wood and was curious about the qualities and potential of the limestone. Joe invited me to spend time working in his studio and I soon found that I loved the workability of the stone, its softness and warm colour made it ideally suited to figurative carving. It soon became an ambition to come to Malta and work in the stone on a large scale. In 2010 smaller pieces of stone were taken back to the studio in St Ives in the UK and worked on, producing maquettes of the proposed sculpture.

2011 brought the opportunity I had been waiting for to spend three months in Malta. The sale of a large, unrelated sculpture in the UK provided the initial investment to start the project. So I packed my car full of tools and drove to Malta to get the project underway.

The first challenge of the project was to find the appropriate stone, of a quality and size for the project. With local help and the assistance of Limestone Heritage, the required stone was found on a development site in Siggewwi. The piece measures 5’ x 5’ x 11’ and weighs 15 tons. Rough work to make initial changes to the block with a stone chain saw has taken place on the stone’s original site. Once these initial modifications were made, the stone was moved to Limestone Heritage where it is being worked into the finished piece before finding its final home, a public space in Malta.

Concurrent to the continuing work on the sculpture, I am seeking to locate and negotiate the final location for the sculpture as well as funding support for the ongoing work and installation.