A freelance designer who plans to quit her retail job to follow her dream was dismayed when a red acrylic colander, painstakingly decorated with butterflies, was stolen following Malta Design Week.

Enriquè Tabone, 26, who specialises in body ornaments, clothing and home products, was not the only victim.

Two wooden mannequins went missing from an Mcast students’ exhibit and an Italian artist had his electronic equipment, including a projector, laptop and speakers, taken from his installation at Fort St Elmo, in Valletta, where Malta Design Week was held between May 17 and 24. The police are investigating.

“I was really taken aback,” said Ms Tabone, whose stolen piece had also won competitions. “I didn’t expect it to be stolen. I expected it to be appreciated.

“It’s not about the value of the actual material the colander was made of, but the sleepless nights and the energy spent in planning and creating the piece.

“There should be more respect towards the creative industry and the people behind it,” she said.

Mcast told Ms Tabone her piece was stolen as she was a former student who had submitted her work as part of the exhibition. Deputy director Mark Theuma admitted he was disappointed for the students.

“Their work was extracurricular. Students are already quite reluctant to exhibit. In fact, we tell them that exhibitions give their work exposure. But such incidents serve to further discourage them.”

I didn’t expect it to be stolen. I expected it to be appreciated

Mr Theuma understood that a number of commercial entities were charged a substantial amount of money to exhibit their work at the Malta Design Week.

“I would expect that, with the amount of money involved, there would have been a good security system in place.”

Malta Design Week organiser Chris Briffa said he was only aware of the stolen projector and laptop.

He said he did not know why he was being contacted and said queries should be directed to the police. Asked whether there was a security system in place, he said there was but would not elaborate.

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