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Meet the Artist Making Giant Sculptures Out of Animal Bones

John Paul Azzopardi's works are as haunting as they are beautiful.
D. Mylius Opus Medico-Chymicum, detail. Images courtesy the artist.

It's a good thing Malta-based artist John Paul Azzopardi used to live near a fried chicken joint, because otherwise he might never have gotten into making sculptures from animal bones. His first effort was a bony bricolage chair contructed from salvaged chicken remains, but soon his inner muse saw the real potential of the macabre medium: "Back then I used the bones just for the mere aesthetic without containing any specific reference for further meaning," he tells The Creators Project. "I then realized that I would like to explore bone work as a means to discover silent patterns of beauty."


Now he's made at least nine different, hauntingly elegant musical instruments, animals, and characters from rabbit, chicken, and quail bones found at a Maltese restaurant where he used to wash dishes. He binds them together with a combination of fast-setting adhesive and fiberglass, with the goal of eliciting a profound introspective reaction in his viewers. In 2012, the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta acquired Curved Silence, a ghostly bone violin, for their collection. "These bone instruments can be functionally used to realize moments of silence, an opportunity to stop rationalizing and also to let go of the automatic chaos that happens in the mind. A moment to be absorbed in its silent beauty," he says. "The symmetrical forms help the viewer maintain his/her stillness, at least for a few moments." Our moment of silence was spent imaginging that these sculptures are what Alessandro Boezio's distorted anatomical sculptures might look like under the surface.

Azzopardi's most recent show was Power Exchange, a collaboration with Michael Camilleri at Vallette International Visual Arts Festival (VIVA ) in Malta last year. Azzopardi's currently submitting work to galleries and experimenting with new forms of mixed-media sculpture.

D. Mylius Opus Medico-Chymicum

Untitled No. 6

Untitled No. 5

Untitltled No. 2

Study of Haeckel's Vampyrus

See more of John Paul Azzopardi's work on his website.

Via Beautiful Decay


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