By Heidi Trautmann
The increasing awareness of “paper art” has reached North Cyprus with representatives of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) celebrating the 25th anniversary on our island with a conference, workshops and exhibition at the Near East University. A great opportunity for our famous local paper artists – Inci Kansu, Ismet Tatar, Emel Samioglu and Simge Uygur – to organise this event starting with the arrival of the international guests on April 3 until April 12, with the kind support of the Visual Communication and Design Department of the Near East University.
The International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) is the world’s leading organisation for paper artists. It was founded in 1986 in Düren, Germany, when paper as an art medium was far less well-known than it is today. While paper history and production are one facet of the Association’s activities, the central focus is paper’s role as art form and as a contemporary artistic medium.
It is one thing to hear and read about an art form or to see it displayed in so many facets as during the exhibition which accompanied the IAPMA Conference and Workshop over a week at the Near East University. I had invited my artist friends to come and see for themselves something new, exciting and adventurous and they came and were all excited to take with them new inspirations for their future approach to art.
19 artists have displayed their breathtaking work in the hall of the Communication Faculty: Helene Tschacher, (President of IAPMA) Eva Maria Juras, Joachim Tschacher , Kathrin Biffi, Ute Breitenberger, Johann Söhl, Anne Lise Studer, Jan Fairbairn Edwards,
Nur Gökbulut, Nurtaç Özler, Yurdagül Pakalin, Hakan Pehlivan, Anne Räisänen, Bara Lehman-Schulz, Aliza Thomas plus our local artists Inci Kansu, Ismet Tatar, Emel Samioğlu and Simge Uygur.
They came from all over Europe, individualists with their own cultural background and traditions, woven into their artwork and it was most interesting to hear the personal story and connection to the artform when they introduced themselves on stage.
A fashion show created by the artists and some beautiful students of the design faculty gave us a further impression of the wide possibilities of the use of paper art. It was most obvious to me that the students had the fun of their life. In the short time of three days many students attended the workshops given by the artists in several rooms and on various subjects, and I could see the students develop objects which they have not thought possible before.
The Vice Rector of the NEU, Dr. Şenol Bektaş and the Management Commitee, Prof.Dr. Orhan Çiftçi (Dean, Communication Faculty), Assist.Prof.Dr. Gökçe Keçeci Şekeroğlu (Head of the Visual Communication and Design Department), Mine Okur (Lecturer), Gamze Anıl Baykan (Lecturer) and many others helped to make the sojourn of the artists a pleasant one. They were also taken around the island to see the multi-layered culture and nature of Cyprus.
It made me smile to observe the passion and interest they showed when they were taken through a garden full of local plants and trees. I knew they were thinking how they could use the fibers of the Cypriot kind of flora to transform them into a wonderful piece of art.
For more information about this art form, please visit IAPMA’s website www.iapma.info