By Heidi Trautmann
This artist’s name was mentioned to me more than once
when I gathered information for my book ‘Art and Creativity in North Cyprus’, especially
by Çevdet Çağdaş, who had him as an art teacher in Güzelyurt/Morphou in the
1940s and who recommended him for a scholarship to England. “He was an
extraordinary artist.” Çevdet still says today. Çevdet Çağdaş was born in 1926.
I had seen some of the work of Adamantios Diamantis in
art books and so I was very pleased to see his work in the original. I had
heard that the work on display at the Leventis Museum is his biggest art work. It
is a monumental
work consisting of 11 panels (17.5 m long) and was created in Cyprus between
1967 and 1972. Adamantios Diamantis (1900-1994), who was an art teacher in many
secondary schools and also Director of the Folk Art Museum, travelled across
the island and studied the people and their lives. He tried to depict the
simplicity of life, the values of the patriarchal family, the place of women in
the home and in society in general, the importance of family and all the
beliefs that comprised Cypriot society of the 1970s.
painting of this monumental work comprising altogether 67 figures, took him
five years. He used the sketches he has done on his travels; people of a
village, sitting and standing in a village square, with village and landscape
painted in the background. The background is painted in soft earth colours with
the contours in black, just indicated in order not to distract from the
figures. The figures are life size, also in black and brown as it was the
custom, nothing colourful, the big combining colour is white, the white of the
blouses, the white of beards and hair, an apron of a girl. I was not allowed to
take pictures at the exhibition and I could not get a picture of the entire
work, but only fragments, but perhaps just these fragments may make people
curious to see the whole.
monumental work has a background story which goes like this:
......'The World of Cyprus' was presented for the
first time at the Cyprus Folk Art Museum in Nicosia in 1975. It then left for
Greece to be exhibited at the National Gallery in Athens and was subsequently
acquired by the Teloglion Foundation of Art at the Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki. The critical situation in Cyprus following the Turkish invasion
of 1974 was deemed as creating insecure and unpredictable conditions for the
return of the painting to its home. However, there was a verbal promise to
Diamantis himself that the work would return to Cyprus when the conditions on
the island were considered safe.
Now this promise has been fulfilled – thanks to an agreement between the
Teloglion Foundation of Art and the A. G. Leventis Foundation – and 'The World of
Cyprus' has returned to its people and its home, at a time of crisis, when we
need to draw strength from our ancestors and confront as a society this
A cooperation between the A.G. Leventis Gallery and the Leventis Municipal Museum
of Nicosia the exhibition 'THE WORLD OF CYPRUS by Adamantios Diamantis RETURNS'
is a temporary one on the second floor of the Leventis Museum from 24 April
2013 until the beginning of October 2013, when the famous artwork will be
transported to its new home, the A. G. Leventis Gallery, as part of The Cyprus
The Leventis Museum is at the end of Ledra Street, the
last side street to the left; the museum consists of two buildings now which
once belonged to the first mayor of Nicosia in late 1800.
Besides the exhibition, the museum will take some
hours to visit, it is beautifully renovated and equipped with modern
temperature and humidity control systems; most beautiful collections of
artefacts from various important periods. A true treasure chest, a very
sensitive and artistic architect must have been at work.
There is another exhibition on display in the basement
where there is also an educational centre, the original drawings and water
colours of an architecture book of Cypriot buildings, villages and also
I trust that Adamantios Diamantis would have agreed
with me that the arts know of no borders, although he was a Greek Cypriot
through and through.
The Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia
Tuesday – Sunday, 10.00 – 16.30 | Wednesday, 10.00 – 22.00