By Heidi Trautmann
Hardly ever before have I experienced such a positive reception of a new idea, a new concept such as at this exhibition: A rather unusual exhibition. It was opened on September 28 at the V. Ismet Güney Art Centre in Nicosia for just four days until October 1. On the evening of the opening hundreds of people flocked towards the exhibition hall, once an old warehouse with three big halls. At 19:00 hrs all three halls were packed full with people of all age groups, many artists had come, and many many young people. It was an atmosphere of fresh wind, the wind of adventure and excitement.
An art exhibiton? Yes, in some way, an exhibition to show the art of travelling. Turkish Cypriots tell their experiences from their individual journeys to many countries around the world. But, it is not about stories of new countries discovered, it is about the individual discovery, it is about collecting mementos, memoirs, treasures brought back home to share with others. There were photos, videos, memoir installations – for example a work of match boxes collected from many countries – there were paintings by travelling artists, stories , travel reports written and hidden in floating bottles to be opened and read. 22 exhibitors in their 22 corners, people of all age groups, people of different social backgrounds, people who have intensively travelled. Even two sailors, Ünal Dede, who I believe everybody knows, and one young man who has taken seven months to come to the coasts of Cyprus starting on the north coast of Turkey. That is exploring, that is travelling, travelling with the speed of a camel as I say. They will be there to talk, to exchange ideas, to advise people, encourage them to do likewise.
Tağmaç Çankaya, who organized the event, a young man with vivid black eyes full of passion for the cause: “It is about high time that the Turkish Cypriots start putting their trekking shoes on to go out, out of their anxieties, away from the island, to see for themselves what the world has to offer. They should start realising that they are world citizens, that the whole world belongs to them. They should stop hiding behind excuses for themselves why they cannot dare to leave the security of their island to travel. Most of those who travel do it within the safe circle of guided tours. A first step, but not enough to get in touch with the people of other countries, not enough time to sit down and communicate, no opportunities to look behind the curtains. It is much more satisfying to travel simple and rely on the friendliness of people.”
The final idea behind the event is to initiate a travelling community in North Cyprus, to construct a net of support, of exchange and communication. “Travel simple but get back home rich with new experiences. We aim to encourage especially young people to see , to discover, to experience and come back to share and to add it as a value to his/her own society.
It will widen the net of travel communication for Turkish Cypriots on their way to World Citizenship. We must not wait that others decide for us, we must act and take destiny in our own hands.”
The venue of exhibition, the V.Ismet Güney Art Centre, was made available by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture. Call mobile tel. no. 0533 8665538 for further information. There will be a website, a Cypriot Traveler website, where the adventurer can obtain information gathered by the organizers.
PS: I would like to add here an information by the organizer. The sale of photographs was meant to be donated to charity, to those with cancer, and Tagmac informed me that TL 2500 could be handed over to the cancer association.