Invoking the ghosts of the past
By Heidi Trautmann
The news of the event has caused some ripples of
curiosity and excitement in the history and art interested communities of
Cyprus. 36 ceramic artists from North Cyprus and Turkey will create replicas of
the terracotta figurines that were found in a site near Ayia Irini/Akdeniz
village and were excavated by members of the Swedish Archaeology Institute in
1929-1931. Half of the figurines are today in Stockholm at the Museum of
Mediterranean and Near East Antiquities, you can find the photographs on their
website, the Carlotta database, and the other half are in the Archaelogical
Museum in Nicosia South.
It sounds very mystic to have these many artists
assemble in Ayia Irini to create the images of the past, the treasure of a
temple from the Late Bronze Age, figurines that guarded the altar, about 2000
of various sizes. Several times I have stood in front of the figurines lined up
in one room at the Museum in Nicosia, a seemingly high culture, and I wondered what
these people of times past have been like.
Now, some people in 2014 have got together and have
organised an event to take place in the same area as the figurines were once discovered
and lifted from their tomb to be taken to other places. It is two people mainly
who have organised the event with the help of
AkcevDer, the Akdeniz organisation, that is Rauf Ersenal from Evkav (Board
Chairman) who had the idea in the first
place and Ayhatun Atesin as curator; they know each other quite well since they
have been organising ceramic art events together before. They sent out a call
for participants to take part in this 14 days symposium and 34 artists confirmed
their participation, not counting Rauf Ersenal and Ayhatun Atesin who are
excellent ceramic artists themselves.
I had the occasion to interview Ayhatun some years
ago – which is included in the first volume of my book ‘Art and Creativity in
North Cyprus’ and I had also invited Rauf Ersenal repeatedly for an interview
but he is so very busy; I had wanted to include him in the second volume of the
book soon to be published.
The artists will get together on 08 September in
the Church of Ayia Irini to work there and bring to life the ‘army’ of
figurines; I wonder how many they will be able to create, perhaps they will
have to have a second symposium. I have already seen some samples done by Rauf
Ersenal in his own studio, the bronze age seems to be his passion.
Anyway, the firing process is set to be on 13 and
18 September; firing in a kiln especially and strictly built to the information
available of a bronze age kiln.
There will be a presentation on September 19 by Nezih
Basgelen (Historical Researcher) at 18:00 hrs and finally the exhibition will
be ready to see on September 20 at 18:00 hrs.
The names of the participating artists are
mentioned on the poster, and as far as I
can see, there are twelve ceramic artists from North Cyprus.
I love the area around Akdeniz, it has a very
special atmosphere with the wind mainly coming from the west bending the trees
and carrying the sand far inland. Once there were small kingdoms at this
foremost western post of the island, the royal tombs are witnesses of it. Let
us go and see whether the ceramic artists have accomplished to establish
contact to the past of the island.