By Heidi Trautmann
Can art influence the course of difficult talks around peace? That must have been in the back of the mind of 40 Greek and Turkish Cypriot artists when they started to work on the project they have been invited to participate in order to “accompany and engage the Leaders of the two communities during the ongoing negotiations to solve the Cyprus question”, said Özgul Ezgin, one of the organisers of the exhibition.
With some excitement Ismet Tatar and I went to attend the opening evening on Monday April 12 at the new EMAA Art Centre in Lefkoşa behind the Ministry of Education. Two interesting events in one, I thought. During the last two years we had only heard about the development of the “rolling art exhibition” organised by the two art associations EMAA and E.KA.TE and Agyro Toumazou and initiated by the poet Neşe Yaşin. For two years now I have been following up the various stages of the rolling exhibition in the peace talk rooms at the UN Good offices and have placed the details and photos into my website www.heiditrautmann.com (under cyprus art news plus its archive) but was extremely sorry that the public did not have the opportunity to see the art works displayed bodily.
So I was very happy to learn that all the peace talk supporting art works were finally on display for us in the new EMAA Art Centre which had to the very last minute been painted, lighting fitted and floors mopped. The official opening of the centre will be in a few weeks time when I will be able to present the background story and the future programme of the centre. We approached the house, the old Lefkoşa Belediye building, through the big garden - which could one day be a sculpture park - and found ourselves among the local circle of artists, organisers and UN officials, journalists and photographers.
Özgül Ezgin, vice-president of EMAA and Osman Keten its president, were giving us all the prevailing details concerning the artists’ involvement and they expressed our all hopes for a better future.
“The original paintings, sculptures, photographs and mixed media installations– over 100 from more than 40 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot artists -- first went on show at the United Nations Good Offices mission, the site of the negotiations between the Cyprus leaders, in May 2009. The Special Adviser of the Secretary General, Alexander Downer, hosted the exhibition.
Mr. Downer has called the works “a small indication of the tremendous potential of this island”. “I am heartened by the collaborative nature of the exhibition, which is conceived and led by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot artists”, he said last May.
The artists participating in the exhibition are: Gönen Atakol, Ruzen Atakan, Katerina Attalides, Lia Boyiatzi, Andreas Charalambous, Mathaios Christou, Emin Çizenel, Günay Güzelgün, Nilgün Güney, Pola Hadjipapa, Inci Kansu, Eser Keçeci, Osman Keten, Aşik Mene, Anastasios Modites, Güner Pir, Anber Onar, Zehra Şonya, Özden Selenge, Gökşe Şekeroğlou, Ismet Tatar, Daphne Trimikliniotes, Hambis Tsaggaris, Ioanna Voskou.”
Finally the ribbon was cut and the new rooms were filled for the very first time with the guests of this important exhibition. Very good art and the lighting was perfect. In every single art piece we could discover the deep wish for understanding and peace, New exciting art techniques were introduced combined with different ways of thinking, psychological approaches, but also bitterness and attacks.
I admire our artists for their never ending efforts to guide our attention to humanity and we should pay our respects by listening to the echoes. I sincerely hope that the exhibition will go on rolling across the island.
The exhibition will be open until April 22, viewing times are: Mon-Fri: 10: 0 – 14:00 and 16.00 – 20:00; Sat: 10:00-16:00.