bowen, street art, malta, graffiti

Nathan Bowen artwork pops up in Malta

In Street Art by Nick Russell

They say that no press is bad press, and that a graffiti artist’s main primary is to get their work (whether that be a tag, reach or piece) spread as far and wide across the world as many times as possible! It goes without saying that this is what happens… especially when the graffer is out of his home turf. Maybe someone from their city will notice when theyre on holiday? However, when Londoner Nathan Bowen was in the small Mediterranean island of Malta (which sits between Italy and the northern coast of Africa), he definitely left his mark, in a major way!

Whilst there on a trip not even his mum knew about, Nathan has been hounded by the locals following accusations that he is guilty of  “shamelessly defacing” one of Malta’s most well known spots after it was spotted by a hiker, on the cliffs in Xlendi Valley. Not only is the area known for it’s historic value, as it’s based near both the Roman tombs and a 17th-century bridge, but has also become known as a place of recent cultural reference, being used in the global hit TV phenomenon, Game of Thrones.

Maybe this was an inspiration for Nathan, when he selected the location of where to draw the three murals, which could have been made, sometimes using graffiti empty marker. For anyone who has watched the first season of the HBO global success story, they may recognise that the spot was used as the scene’s background of Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding. Perhaps the Londoner has taken a similar approach to many other painters and street artists, who want to gain notoriety around their name by choosing very specific yet slightly obscure spots that get a lot of organic foot fall but aren’t necessarily ‘tourist hot spots’.   

The local residents haven’t been quiet at expressing their outrage of the work done. They’ve been hitting up Nathan’s Facebook, and commenting their feelings on how what he would consider art, is for them just another way for him to make money and further his own career. “Your selfish disregard for our natural heritage for pure commercial gain has left the island nation stunned!” said one citizen. In all fairness this has provided more benefit to the artist than the Maltese landscape, but every story has two sides. If people would rather see those images that Nathan painted on the rocks than just the rocks themselves, then perhaps it’s not all bad? That of course is just a matter of opinion.

Photos: Steve Micallef Eynaud