An art project by EMAA and
Rooftop Theatre Group
By Heidi Trautmann
It was the final show of Phase
II on Friday 20 at EMAA’s in Nicosia, Phase II of the several months lasting
project ‘Confrontation through Art’ under the EU funded programme ‘Cypriot
Civil Society in Action’ implemented by EMAA (European Mediterranean Art
Association) and RoofTop Theatre Group. For this phase artists were again invited
to reflect on political facts, life and dreams along the border line dividing
the Cypriot capital.
Phase II ‘Stepping over the
Borders’ was curated by Başak Şenova (Turkey) and Alenka Gregorič (Slovenia)
and they were joined by eight artists, four from Cyprus: Tuhkanen (Finland);
Benjo Boyadgian (Finland/Palestine);
Nika Autor (Slovenia); Ovidiou
Anton (Austria/Romania); Christina
Georgiou(Cyprus); Nurtane Karagil
(Cyprus); Abdullah Denizhan (Cyprus) and Marinos Houtris (Cyprus).
The ‘voices’ of artists
sound differently than those of any other visiting political, social, ethical
experts, and they should never stop sounding as long as the borders exist: it
is not only the physical border line but the border lines in our heads that
prevent a feasible solution and therefore a confrontation, a mirror reflection
to admonish the decision makers, to admonish all people, is the one and only
but important tool artists hold in their hands.
Through their profession they have learnt to use their body senses, and
can translate the things they see and feel into visionary answers.
For example, did the photographic/sound
installation ‘Voicing the Line’ have a strong impact on the viewers of the
exhibition. The exhibition hall was divided up to form a corridor with photos
of both sides of Nicosia on each wall; in the middle of the corridor a band of
flour or salt? was strewn, I have not tasted it, and when you went through you heard the voices
of the two - Greek and Turkish Cypriot - women walking along the buffer line
calling each other by name, they could not see each other but they heard each
other’s voices. It was actually planned as a video of 2 hrs and 30 min, but for
the exhibition it made the expected impact nevertheless.
Another strong impression we
gained from an installation, a sort of camera magica, rotating metal boxes
through the slits of which you saw the scenes of life going on inside, or rather
…on the other side. Other artists have
observed the ongoings at the checkpoint or have walked across the island and
recorded stations of visual experiences in a sketchbook that was shown, nice
pencil drawings; another asked himself the question… are the lemons in the
south different to those in the north? How
are news constructed and what are they worth, a manipulated comparison of
Turkish and Greek Cypriot newspapers. Interesting.
One artist cited Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe: ‘None is more helplessly enslaved than those who falsely
believe they are free’ on his theme of an illusion of freedom.
Yes, they all have plunged
deeply into the phenomenon of freedom, false freedom, border lines and…identity….’without
the ability to divide we would not be able to distinguish one thing from
another’….and they have realised that the word, the written word, propaganda,
is mighty, mightier than the sword, as it was once said.
And, as my friend Ismet
Tatar who had come with me to see the outcome of the workshop, said … ‘It is
interesting to learn how the young artists are dealing with the phenomenon of
border and how they interpret it.’
The exhibition will be open
until 04 April 2015.