The new book “Art and Creativity in North Cyprus” by Heidi Trautmann
Heidi Trautmann’s new bi-lingual book “Art and Creativity in North Cyprus, the first volume, will be launched by EMAA (the European Mediterranean Art Association) on January 15, 2010. In cooperation with the author, EMAA will also open the accompanying exhibition of work by forty-seven of the artists whose interviews feature in this volume. The art event will be opened by President Mehmet Ali Talat at 19:00 at the Atatürk Congress Centre at the Near East University.
Zehra Şonya, member of the EMAA Board of Executives, speaking for EMAA in the foreword of the book, says:
“Heidi Trautmann’s work takes the reader directly into the world of the artist and creative individual and therefore makes it possible to discover and comprehend this world. In doing this she presents us with an overview of those individuals living and creating in northern Cyprus, with romantic eloquence. When we consider the paucity of written and visual works in the field of plastic arts, the colourful scope and the diversity that this overview encompasses is astonishing. Another dimension is added to the book, one of richness and reality presented by creative individuals from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures who have chosen to live in northern Cyprus. It is our dearest wish that this multicoloured and multicultural nature of the island should promise hope that Cyprus will be recorded in the pages of history as “the island of peace”.
Heidi Trautmann, painter and writer, a traveller as she calls herself, a traveller in the world of the arts, first became acquainted with representatives from the Cypriot Turkish art scene in 2005. When she and her husband first came here in 1999, she was astonished to find hardly any interaction between the art scenes of national and foreign artists; neither had any knowledge of the other, there were no archives of any sort available to the art lover, no professional art galleries or art museums. Having lived on a sailing boat for six years and having travelled the Mediterranean and its countries, she was most curious to unravel the art scene in the alleys and back alleys of the country to discover the core of life which for her is art and creativity. She found it and since then she has talked her way through to a great percentage of the important artists.
This book is a reflection of a people, of a community of artists, randomly chosen for interviews by Heidi Trautmann over a stretch of four years. These four years fell during a period of great impact, hopes and disillusionment. The impact is imprinted in the art work of these artists; but there is also the impact of the past, the fear of the future, the questions that people live with, especially the question of identity. There is not much joy to be found in their art works but there is never mere despair; perhaps there is resignation, but there are also desperate onslaughts against destiny. Thus an important part of the book must be seen in terms of the collaboration between the artists and between the art associations across the divide, a collaboration that has been active for many years. Friendships have blossomed as we all feel that art knows no borders.
The artists have welcomed Heidi Trautmann into their studios and their lives, and have confided in her the many experiences of hardship and ways of life that are representative of their people. Images were unrolled before Heidi that cover eras from early in the last century right up to the present. There are also non-Cypriot artists included in the book, artists who have lived here for more than 20 years, who have also experienced the country’s destiny and have contributed in many ways to the cultural image. (North) Cyprus has always been open to multicultural co-existence.
So far, only Volume I has been published, containing interviews with visual artists, who work in photography, educational institutions and universities. Heidi Trautmann started working on Volume II a year ago and will cover literature, theatre, music, dance and caricature. She hopes to complete it by the end of 2010, so with hope, the book might be available in 2011.
The artists represented in the exhibition are:
Ali Atakan(*2007), Ruzen Atakan, Gönen Atakol, Ayhatun Ateşin, Baki Boğaç,
Marilyn Bosworth, Muriel Clutten, Cevdet Çağdaş, Sevcan Çerkez, Emin Çizenel,
Sheila Davis, Ilsa Easson, Emel Erkan, Mustafa Erkan, Sinem Ertaner, Ümit Ali Esinler, Özgül Ezgin, Nilgün Güney, Günay Güzelgün, Mustafa Hastürk, Christina Hessenberg,
Anne Hughes, Feridun Işiman, Kadir Kaba, Inci Kansu, Giray Karahasan, Eser Keçeci, Osman Keten, Veli Kaymaklılı, Deirdre Kirk, Aşik Mene,
Ayhan Menteş, Vedia Okutan, Anber Onar, Lisani Otağ, Ilkay Önsöy, Şenol Özdevrim, Johann Pillai, Güner Pir,
Rüya Reşat, Emel Samioğlu, Özden Selenge, Zehra Şonya, Ersin Taşer, Ismet Tatar,
Mehmet Uluhan, Hikmet Uluçam, Svetlana Ziusina
Sponsors for the publication of the book are gratefully acknowledged:
The TRNC Presidential Office;
The TRNC Cultural Department;
Kaleidoskop Turizm, Kyrenia, TRNC
Ontime Courier, Munich, Germany