Heidi Trautmann

926: Confrontation – Contemporary Art as an Instrument for Reconciliation in Cyprus

Closing ceremony at EMAA’s

By Heidi Trautmann


It was time to say goodbye, it was time for a recapitulation of the work done and time to reflect what else can be done on the road to peace and understanding. It was touching to listen to the introductory speeches delivered by the project coordinators, Özgül Ezgin and Argyro Toumazou, the supporter Dr. Ellada Evangelou, President of the Rooftop Theatre, the President of EMAA Zehra Şonya, and the charming Charlotte Goyon, Programme Manager of the EU Commission, with her little lively daughter who made us aware for whom we are all doing this. It is her small hand waving adieu to one of the project groups on the screen.

I would like to recite the conclusive words of the organisers which I take from the beautiful catalogue which rounds up the projects and activities during the three years of the project with the title ‘Confrontation through Art’:

Zehra Şonya: ….Making art represents a state of mind which supports to obtain a clear vision of events and people, identifying underlying problems and envision a possible solution. It entails being responsive, putting oneself in the place of others, feeling their pain and sharing their troubles. More often than not it implies the courage to shoulder the problems of the world. It is for these reasons that we believe that it is important to make people understand and appreciate the arts. It is through the arts that we can create another world; it is our strong belief and so we loudly and proudly proclaim our allegiance to the arts.

Dr. Ellada Evangelou: ….Through residencies and exhibitions, lectures, workshops for kids in rural areas, through our collective dedication to our principles and our art, we produced much needed dialogue on the island and abroad….we maintain our collective refusal to be bricks in the wall; we are thinking/acting individuals, and through ‘Confrontation Through Art’ we gave the platform to artists and non-artists to express and explore their world; only to make it better.

Argyro Toumazou: ….While preparing our last CtA Remix Exhibition (with select works from the entire output – we became distinctly aware of the programme’s breadth of artistic accomplishments, of what we achieved, and less so, our weaknesses and hidden strengths, even of mishaps in the restlessly bubbling political climate of this three-year period between 2014 and 2017. One thing is certain, we completed a valuable vision and, far wiser for it, we now raise our bar higher.

Özgül Ezgin:….. The inability to face up to things reflects fear, and this fear is fear of the unknown…… Despite many problems, the project has accomplished much; it has brought artist and children of both societies together, established new relations and collaborations, promoted the common language of art, helped participants to question the past together and start to build a common future for Cyprus.


The 3rd of July was a getting together of all local artists and people involved in the project and guests to celebrate the moment and to express the gratitude to all the supporters which I am unable to mention here because it is a whole page of names and institutions; the catalogue is available at EMAA’s and represents an exemplary input of forces and cooperation, with other words……. if there is a will there is a way.





From right: Özgül Ezgin, Argyro Toumazou, Dr. Ellada Evangelou, Charlotte Goyon
From right: Özgül Ezgin, Argyro Toumazou, Dr. Ellada Evangelou, Charlotte Goyon

This is it: Reach out your hands....
This is it: Reach out your hands....

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