Public Sculpture

‘Olive Twist’

Public Art Sculpture in Zejtun, Malta

Inauguration speech, 4th Oct 2021:

‘My name is Rune Bo Jakobsen. I am an Artist and an Architect. Through my Paintings and Sculptures I seek to give emotional and sensory experiences; over the years touching on key topics such as growth, life, childhood, fertility, animal welfare, urban spaces and the environment. Previous Public sculptures in Malta include the Travelling concrete ‘Popcorn’ and the Child Memorial Paper Boat coined ’Hope’ at the Valletta Waterfront.

The ‘Olive Twist’ sculpture here in Front of us is inspired by the organic growth and twisting movement of the ancient Olive trees deeply rooted in the culture of Żejtun. The Structural ‘DNA’ of the sculpture is reminiscent of the traditional Maltese silver filigree jewellery. It is a network of intertwining reflective stainless steel pipes twisting and branching outwards.

At night the ‘Olive Twist’ Sculpture is like a beacon; light reflects off the silvery structure from within the central space of the trunk base – like a flickering fire creating a play of light and silhouette as one circles around it. In the different seasons one may experience a change in colour of light, like now in Autumn for Pink October breast Cancer awareness month.

Seen from above, this spinning movement of the ‘Olive Twist’ Sculpture Landscaping is also influenced by the history and spirit of the place:

Between the roundabout and the Church there used to be an old windmill; now long gone and only exists as a memory of people in Zejtun and in the drawing Archives of Malta. 

When we cast the podium on which the ‘Olive Twist’ is rooted, we found it actually resembles a giant grinding-stone of a windmill or an old olive press.  Also the landscaping design with the seed-like imprinted stepping stones spiral outwards into the soil are like roots or like windmill wings spinning.

The stepping stones were made and imprinted with the help of the Zejtun community in Workshops with Zejtun Primary B and the Zejtun Corinthians Football Club nursery. A great big thank you to all involved for making these workshops possible; teachers, parents, staff, Zejtun council members, Malta UNESCO Youth Association, …and thanks to the Children who now have an everlasting imprint set in stone.

The ‘Olive Twist’ is in a way a Time Capsule containing memories, elements and artefacts -created in 2021 by not one person alone; but by a community of people from all over Malta and beyond, working together combining their efforts and skills into one public space. 

After months of planning with Zejtun Local Council and relevant entities; we developed and tested a multitude of models – both physical as well as detailed digital 3d models and drawings used throughout the fabrication process. The manufacturing of the complex sculpture was done together with the skilled welders and steel benders at Jacap Ltd. in Mosta. 

On site surveying was done by Brandon Calleja. The reinforced concrete civil works and smooth hand crafted in situ finishes of the podium and curved kerbs were done by Decorative Concrete Ltd. Steve Ellis and his team also helped with the casting of the stepping stones.

For a thunderstorm like this weekend the Olive Twist is also safe. The Lightning Protection earthing system includes two 3.6m earth-rods installed by MCE. Testing and engineering of earthing by Ing Joseph Azzopardi of Galea Curmi in Gozo. The LED Lighting from Hydrolectric and the electric installation by Nexus.

 The Transport and lifting of the 4x3x3m Sculpture in one piece from Mosta to Zejtun was done successfully by Express Trailers. 

In the Landscaping part of the project the ‘Maltese Everlasting’ shrubs were supplied by ELC and planted by the Local Council Gardeners – just before the rain this weekend! These silver leafed shrubs are an endemic species to the Maltese Islands. The actual specimens are propagated from Dwejra, with care once established they require little water and we trust they will flourish and flower for years to come.

‘ Olive Twist’ would not have been possible without the entire Zejtun Local Council Team, Anton Falzon, Sean Chircop and Major, Doris Abela for the continuous support, coordination and collaboration. Also thanks to Reece Delia of the Malta UNESCO Youth Association (MUYA) for bringing us all together and writing the winning proposal. Finally, a Special Thanks to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Projects and the Public Works Department for the Funding and Support making ‘Olive Twist’ a new Landmark for Zejtun. ‘


‘Olive Twist’ was a winning proposal for the Ministry of Infrastructure competition for ‘Art in Public spaces’.

‘Olive Twist’ was originally envisaged to be the centre and catalyst for surrounding trees to be planted in the future embellishment of the Carlo Diacono Square within the Urban Conservation Area (UCA) of Żejtun. The square is currently a traffic junction paved with tarmac. All entities except SCH were in favour of the project; thus a new location was sought for the sculpture.

Original proposed location for the Olive Twist Sculpture within UCA area of Zejtun.