By Heidi Trautmann
It had been raining heavily and dramatic purple clouds raced over the Mesaoria with sun rays hitting the intensively green carpet with fields of mustard flowers in a dazzling yellow. I enjoyed my driving to Yeniboğazıçı, a small town east of Famagusta, which has become known for its festival, the Pulya Festival with art activities such as the Cartoon Festival. The mayor and his culture and tourism oriented friends are trying hard to direct the interest for art and culture towards the east of the island. Recently, they had restored a beautiful old building to be used as the Cultural Centre of the village and have decided to invite international artists to come and work together with some of our local artists. The workshop had begun on February 7 and ended on February 15, and on that day I was on my way to the exhibition.
International art groups are forming all over Europe, art colonies regularly visited by international artists, our local artists do so in return, meet and work together abroad and exchange ideas. This has become regular practice over the last 10-20 years. And it is very important to keep in touch with art development around the globe.
The group of 14 artists, meeting for the first time in Yeniboğazıçı has met last year in Turkey, so I am told by Dr. Arif Albayrak who has organized the event and will next meet still this year in Izmir.
The building – I had difficulties in finding it but I asked the members of the sporting club – is a lovely stone building with a small church next to it and a children’s playground. Inside is just one room, a lovely wide hall with arches. The artists confirmed that the atmosphere of the building has inspired them in their work. A well mixed crowd of nationalities, were the artists:
Ivo Gançev, Bulgaria, Sveta Andonova-Bulgaria; Clemens Beungkun-Sou, Korea; Justin Sou, Austria; Marion Albert, Germany; Larisa Belima, Russia; Ilham Enveroğlu, Turkey; Mohamed Homedan, Egypt; Musa Kalaveshi, Kosovo; Eshref Quahili, Kosovo; from Cyprus: Feridun Isıman; Zühre Özkaraman; Türkan Nevruz and, joining in the last minute was Salih Çizel.
The artists were duly celebrated and honoured with plaquettes by several officials and honoraries, the mayor Cemal Biren and some colleagues of nearby towns, the coordinator Dr. Arif Albayrak and international curator Aynur Açikgöz from Turkey; the organising team Selma Tanık and Bedia Balses, and finally by our 2nd President Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat who seemed to be in a very happy mood. A very familiar atmosphere with many guests, and as we circled the hall I met with many artist friends.
Feridun Isiman has – besides his well known style of painting - undertaken an unusual approach to presenting a conservative painting of a small church; I teased him with it, but I liked it. There were some very interesting abstract paintings and some impressions of the artists’ visit of places of interest, especially some very strong line drawings.
One work of all artists will be donated to the municipality which they will hopefully one day be able to hang in their own art museum which is high up on the municipality’s agenda.
Besides working and producing art, the group members were given the possibility to get to know North Cyprus, to meet artists in their studios and learn about our island.
The artists will take home the remainder work to their home countries to tell of their experiences in Cyprus. The artists as carrier of culture.