A bronze bird which is part of a recently installed statue in Paphos old town has been stolen again, just hours after all four of the birds were replaced by the artist after they were stolen in January.
Distraught artist Yiota Ioannidou told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday that she has reported the theft of the bird from The Girl With the Sparrow to the police, who are now on the look-out for the thief and that the mayor and other local authorities have also been alerted.
She said that all of the birds will now be removed until they can be reattached safely once and for all.
“What is the point of doing this? This work is for everybody to enjoy and belongs to the public,” she said.
Paphos police have been understanding of the crime, Ioannidou said, and they contacted district officer Mary Lambrou who looked through CCTV footage from outside her office to see if it had captured anyone but it appears they don’t quite cover the area in question, she said.
The statue is hugely popular with the public and sits on an open space.
“I really can’t believe that another bird has been taken, these thieves are disgusting and must be punished. Public art is important for our spaces in the town, what is their thinking behind taking these birds, it’s despicable,” said local worker Irini Christodoulides.
Ioannidou said Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos told her that when a coffee shop opens nearby in a few week’s time the area will have cameras fitted, many more people will visit and it will be safer.
The sparrows are an important part of the bronze sculpture, one of them sits carefully in the girl’s hand, as she gently holds it. It took the artist one month to create the replacement birds, which were then firmly attached to the bronze rods on the base.
The child and the birds sit on a marble cushion and plinth and under the branches of a recently planted olive tree.
“Now I will also have to create something that will see the birds have a base and be able to be firmly attached and not just by a rod and then be very difficult to move.”
However the artist said that it’s a shame such defensive action has to be taken to stop public works of art from being stolen.
The piece 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.