Four birds that were part of a recently installed bronze statue ‘the girl with the sparrow’ in a square in Paphos old town have been stolen, much to the dismay of the creator of the piece, artist Yiota Ioannidou.
One of the birds was reported as ‘disappearing’ on Tuesday and the remaining three were taken some time in the following 24 hours.
Ioannidou told the Cyprus Mail that she is extremely upset about the theft and is appealing to the authorities to investigate.
In a strange twist, the Paphos-based artist received a telephone call from an unknown male caller, informing her that the first missing bird had been found by the olive tree, which was planted next to the statue as part of Ioannidou’s overall design.
However, on Wednesday lunchtime the Cyprus Mail went to investigate, only to discover that all of the birds are now missing. The caller is not answering his phone, according to the artist.
“I am particularly sorry about the fact of the theft of the sparrow, and I say theft and not vandalism. There is a difference,” she said.
“Public sculptures belong to everyone and no one has the right to steal or destroy public property. I would also like to point out that the site is protected by security cameras in order to warn against further malevolent activities which interfere with public property,” she added.
The sculpture was made with the support of Paphos municipality and took the artist ten months to complete. The birds would not be easy to remove from the bronze rods to which they were attached, she said.
Ioannidou said that the sparrows are integral to the sculpture with one of them sitting carefully in the girl’s hand, as she gently holds it.
The artist said that the project will be restored immediately.
“I hope that in the future there will be no similar incidents.”
With commanding views of the town below and the Mediterranean behind her, the bronze statue of a child now sits atop a cushion and plinth crafted in marble, without the sparrow she was holding, and without the others perched beside her, under the branches of a recently planted olive tree.
“This is so sad. Who would destroy this lovely piece of work? It’s disgusting behaviour. I hope that they are caught and charged,” a passer-by told the Cyprus Mail.
‘The girl with a sparrow’ is the third work by the artist to be placed in the town, ‘The Little Fisher Boy’ and ‘Sol Alter’, a homage to Aphrodite, attract hundreds of visitors every day.
Another of her sculptures is found in Argaka and honours rural mothers.
Born in Paphos, Ioannidou studied at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, before returning to Paphos.