Malta’s long list of rulers include the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Normans, Sicilians, Swabians, Aragonese, the Knights of St John, the French for two restless years and finally the British for over 150 years, which have left an indelible mark on the island today.
Independence Day (Maltese: Jum l-Indipendenza) celebrates the day the country gained independence from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1964, becoming a republic 10 years later. Despite this, the British legacy is still strong in Malta, from the language to the old-fashioned red phone- and letter-boxes, now a rare reminder of times gone by.
On the 25th anniversary of Malta’s independence, a bronze and marble Independence monument was inaugurated at the entrance to the Mall in Floriana. The monument was created by celebrated Maltese sculptor Ganni Bonnici and, at a height of 8.5m, was his largest creation and perhaps the tallest statue-based monument in Malta.
The monument is said to represent an important milestone in Ganni Bonnici’s artistic career. It merges the abstract with the figurative, as the female figure (an allegory of Malta) strides forward into the unknown while liberating herself from the shackles of the past represented by the abstracted bands beneath her as she holds aloft the national flag.