Katherina Minardo, Sculptor



Inauguration of Katherina Minardo’s, Zebbug, Malta 27 March, 2024

21 Feb 2024: THE GUARDIAN being readied and packed at Katherina’s atelier, Studio Massimo Galleni in Pietrasanta, Tuscany, Italy (not far from Carrara and Pisa).

Image Credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy
Image Credit: Attrans, Malta

1 Mar 2024: The rig required to collect the newly-crated GUARDIAN is too large to access Studio Massimo Galleni. Accordingly the is loaded onto a smaller vehicle and transferred to the Attrans trailer at a larger facility. From here, a tractor will be attached and the trailer hauled to the Port of Genoa, where it will be driven onto the waiting ship, the ‘Caroline Russ’, and the tractor disconnected.

9 March 2024: The ‘MV Caroline Russ’ sets out from the Port of Genoa, carrying THE GUARDIAN.

Image credit: Kevin Filletti, Attrans, Malta

11 March 2024: The Attrans rig being off-loaded from the the ‘Caroline Russ’ at Malta Port. A tractor has been driven onto the ship, hooked to the trailer, and is being driven off to the Attrans storage facility.

Sunday/Monday, 24/25 March: Katherina and William fly Air Canada Montreal-Brussels and connect with Air Malta for the three-hour flight to Valletta.

A fascinating incident takes place, totally unexpected: the passengers seated beside us comprised a nurse and her brother who had driven in to Brussels from their home in the Netherlands. En route to the gate the brother spotted a woman who simply collapsed. Sister — a nurse — immediately sprung into action and took charge of the prone woman, believed aged in her 60’s. The victim had neither pulse nor respiration. The nurse immediately commenced heart massage, and by the time the ambulance arrived ten minutes later the lady was not only breathing but had also regained her pulse.

Brother and sister then proceeded to the gate and made the flight. I asked the nurse how she immediately knew that respiration had ceased. She turned to me and said, “Her face was purple!” No more questions…

Our Malta adventure was off to a fast start, perhaps I would say rocket-fast. And absolutely “Bravo!” to sister and brother. Regretfully we do not have their names. However if they somehow read this, we would be grateful if they would permit us identify them.

We are collected at Valletta airport delivered to our charming boutique hotel “Lulu” mid- afternoon. We then find our way into the centre of Zebbug (pronounced “Zebbouche”), where we locate Mennula Bistro, the only dining establishment open on Mondays.

26 March 08:00: Installation day is finally at hand, and the Attrans vehicle has brought THE GUARDIAN to the site and deposited the crate on the roadway. The crew have already started dismantling it.

THE GUARDIAN peaks out from the partially-dismantled crate.

Image credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy

The Galleni team in Pietrasanta have included special straps in the crate, to provide for the raising of THE GUARDIAN first to a vertical position, and then for the actual hoisting. Massimo has flown in from Pisa via Rome in the morning — an early start — checked in at the Lulu and is raring to get started.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta

A powwow has led to considerable discussion between the crane team and Massimo over how to raise THE GUARDIAN. Ultimately it is decided to engage the services of a second crane, which arrives in record time.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta

The junior crane’s boom has been extended. The plan is agreed and THE GUARDIAN is gradually tipped into the vertical position required for hoisting and initial placement in the park.

The reasoning for a second crane is that while tipping THE GUARDIAN from horizontal to vertical there is a point where the monument will suddenly want to pivot, and having this action without a counter-restraint could result in damage to the claws and base.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta
Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta
Image credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy

The straps are re-adjusted and THE GUARDIAN is now upright and ready for lift-off.

Image credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy

THE GUARDIAN suspended on the first leg of its journey and commences its role in the Maltese Airborne, ultimately reaching a considerable height; this to be enable it to safely clear the utility lines straddling the boundary between the road and the park. Our necks bend to view this massive work — tipping the scales at 7,700kg (ca.17,000 lbs), in other words 38.8 times the combined weight of George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in the “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight battle held in Zaire in 1974!

The junior crane is unhitched from THE GUARDIAN, its task complete.
The main crane pivots ever so slightly, and THE GUARDIAN easily (by what seems a wide margin) clears the transmission lines and gently descends to the ground adjacent to the pedestal.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta

The work is now ready to be lifted and maneuvered into its final destination — completing its journey of 970 km (600 miles) as the crow flies, from deep inside the marble mountain above Carrara to the top of the pedestal at Zebbug. Muscle power is employed to twist and maneuver THE GUARDIAN.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta
Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta

THE GUARDIAN now inches its way to the pedestal, which has by now been prepared with a layer of fresh cement.

Image credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy

These last inches require additional time and muscle to ensure perfect placement. By the time the cement hardens THE FALCON OF ZEBBUG will be permanently nested.

Image credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy

THE GUARDIAN commands a spectacular view of the valley known as Wied Qirda, and the “Tomb of the English Lady” trail.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta
Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta

Wednesday 27 March: The vernissage has been rescheduled from daytime to late afternoon. It is unseasonably chilly and gusty for Malta. Night falls as the ceremony proceeds. With the strong winds it is cool indeed, but this is a unique occasion in Malta and none of the guests opts for an early departure.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta
Image credit: Massimo Galleni, Italy

The Boy Scout band plays, speeches are made, and a Maltese priest, Father Claudio Borg — a colleague of the late Father Marius — confers his blessing on the work, and speaks of Marius’s historic role in Malta.

Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta
Image credit: Mario Vassallo, Malta

In the excitement the guestbook is overlooked until well into the night, after most of the guests have finally departed.


Please note this Event page is provisional.
Please check back in a week to see the final page, plus Part 2 of the event!

Part 2 will comprise:

Tuesday 26 March: The concert at the Parliament. After Parliament exits, Katherina bumps into and is greeted warmly by Prime Minister Robert Abela at our pizzeria. Subsequently she is also introduced to (among others) a Member of the Maltese representation at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Friday 29 March: The absolutely remarkable five-hour Good Friday procession in Zebbug, comprising some 650 residents in stunning costumes.

Saturday 30 March: Day trip to Malta’s second island, Gozo.

Sunday, 31 March: The piazza in Zebbug, and a visit to the spectacular fortress city of Medina.

Monday, 1 April: Visit to two temples dating back five thousand years.
Then off to Rome with Air Malta at 18:35.

22:00 dinner at home with Stefania and Vittorio, Katherina’s prima ballerina sister and choreographer brother-in-law, and a good night’s rest.

Tuesday, 2 April: 11:55: The Frecciabianca fast train from Rome to Viareggio, near Katherina’s studio in Pietrasanta.

Tuesday, 15:25: Collected by Massimo at Viareggio train station and taken directly to the bronze foundry at Pietrasanta.
17:00 to see Massimo’s newly expanded facilities at Pietrasanta.

18:00 to Massimo’s/Katherina’s studio not far from the centre of Pietrasanta to see works underway and meet the crew.

21:00 Delivery pizza at Massimo’s with his charming wife Laura and son Luca.
Wednesday, 3 April: morning meeting many old friends, some not seen since prior COVID. Walked through this extremely popular Tuscan town.

Afternoon back to Massimo’s studio for additional consultations.

18:00 to Pisa airport for William to catch the 20:45 Easyjet to Paris.

Four days of Paris events, including the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre with contemporary exhibitions and the national collection of modern and contemporary art.

Sunday 7 April: William returns to Montreal (with a double upgrade, thank you, Air Canada!), and home to contemplate the head-spinning events of the previous ten days.

Katherina returns to Montreal ten days later on Sunday 14 April via Air Dolomiti from Pisa to Frankfurt, then on Lufthansa to Montreal.

A wild trip, smooth and successful beyond our expectations! Thank you for reading this far. Part 2 will appear next week.

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