By Heidi Trautmann
This is a new step in the right direction. The EMAA art Centre was opened only in May and the first course and workshop has already successfully run for 6 weeks when I came by to see for myself how it was going. Please read in my website under art news No. 154 how it all started before I continue to give my impressions.
There was a change in organisation: The course is held on Mondays from 17.00 to 21.00. i.e. 4 hours, instead 2 hours on two different days which makes a great difference to the outcome of everybody’s work; it takes 30 minutes to get started, to warm up, until you can fully concentrate on the project ahead of you. The other change was, that the venue would be one Monday at the EMAA Centre, and the following Monday at Nicholas Panayi’s Art School in the Southern part of the Old City of Nicosia. I have visited Nicholas’ Art School before and have been very impressed with the work they were doing there. I have often reported.
As you have read above in my website, Nicholas Panayi and Serhat Selıçık are the teachers, a guarantee for the success of the course. On the day I came to the art centre there were 12 students. I interviewed them separately on their project. Nicholas gave me a short idea of what they have in mind (Serhat was unfortunately not present on that evening for health reasons).
“It is all about the development of a concept, to plan the big outline, get into details by a sort of research work, put your thoughts and findings together into a final picture or form. All techniques are permitted. The title of our project is “The Old City of Nicosia” be it a social aspect, an architectural view, a romantic view, a political aspect or an impression with psychological background. Our first action was to walk through the old city, taking notes, taking pictures, everything we could make use of. The next step was now how to transpose the impressions into art. But talk to them and find out.”
Which I did.
There was Figen: She is a housewife and is very interested in art and photography; she has visited ceramic courses and works with a local photo association. She heard about the workshop in Facebook. For her it is important to work together in a group, also with students from the Greek community, friendships are established, together they explore their common old city. Her present project is changing an existing image, such as an old door. She has photos blown up in black and white to the size of a poster and will partly make a collage and will paint on it. It is to show that it is up to the individual to understand and interpret a situation encountered.
Next to her is Joannis: he is a retired business man and for some years student of Nicholas Panayi’s Art School. He was in Prague with the members of the school and has participated in the resulting exhibition. His project is Reflections. Reflections he has discovered in the shiny body of a motorbike, on the motor and its two mirrors. The new bike combined with the stories of the past.
Bedia works on an old city map of Nicosia: Bedia works for the Cultural Department and is responsible for the art magazine DEFNE. She has studied ceramic art and is at present President of the Ceramic Association. Her project is to give the map a new face, perhaps a collage, including old coins, old symbols or the story of an old building.
Dize is an art student in the UK, spends her holidays here with her mother who told her about the workshop. She wants to do a series of still photos combined by frames; she has done that before, and I am surprised how important photography has become in art education.
Another interesting project is by Nikki, a high-school student. She has blown-up photos of old doors, will glue them to a cardboard and cut them open; behind the cuts she will place different images of life situations; it will always be the same door but different scenes behind them. Just like in true life.
Leman, a graphic designer, colleague of Bedia, is working on a collage in which she wants to bring time to a standstill by fixing it with wire. Another work of hers she has at Nicholas art school, is the damaging influence of time on the human body.
Aydan is the housekeeper at the Saray Hotel and has been a student of Nilgün Güney, I have met her there. She enjoys working within the group as it gives her completely new ideas. Her project is fascinating. On a big sheet of plastic foot prints are left transparent while the rest is painted on. Behind these transparent footprints she will attach human faces. A very psychological approach to show an image of the streets of the old city: behind each footprint is an individual life.
Another student of Nicholas Panayi’s art school is Chara; art is her hobby. She has chosen to paint on a big-sized canvas the tree of life incorporating human bodies in its trunk and branches, but with a common root. Another study to the same theme will be three-dimensional.
Nermi, a friend I know for many years, has been taking lessons in art but she wants to try something new not only copy from photos; she wants to learn to express her feelings, and as Nicholas says: emotions are part of our life and we need to find channels to direct our emotions. Well said. She works on small canvasses and learns how to build up texture, how to create a composition with colours and the use of tools. She does very well and Nicholas gives her a helping hand.
Emine is a chemistry teacher and she thought of copying the texture of an object such as a corrugated garage door or an old wall in an artistic way and projecting the slide of the true object on top of it. She has done great photos of old and deserted workshops.
Nazemin is a lawyer in Nicosia, sister of Emine, and she is painting on two canvasses one graphic design in different colours to show contrasts. Nationalism, Racism, I ask myself.
One of the two men in the group is Panejotis, also a student of Nicholas. He is a researcher in computer science. He is working on a sculpture made of wire and paper and he wants to demonstrate that one body can have two faces.
I was very satisfied with the results when I had made the round in the two classrooms. Well done. I had the feeling to have to drop everything and start working myself.
On my way to my car I passed another workshop for disabled people. The atmosphere was very good and they worked wit clay with the help of ceramic artist Sinem Ertaner. I add the photos to show you.