era of Cyprus - Glyn Hughes 1931 - 2014 - Retrospective art exhibition at the
NIMAC Nicosia (Power House)
overwhelming experience, I could see the sensitive hand of an artist, Yiannis
Toumazis, in having created this
wonderful retrospective exhibition of Glyn Hughes, artist, teacher, theatre set
and costume designer, writer, poet, art critic...., a man who has influenced
and brought to life the art scene in Cyprus. I have only met him once after the
gates between the two halves have opened, at a bi-communal event of the two art
associations EKATE and EMAA, ART AWARE II at the Goethe Centre between November
2006 and June 2007, for eight months artists from the North and South were
asked to present their art work and explain themselves and their philosophy of
working. I accompanied this second event with my writing for Cyprus Today and
took part in the event myself with my art work.
have great respect for Glyn Hughes’ work that included all disciplines of the
arts, he was a man with wide open senses and he used them; he shared his
experimental journey in the arts, lifted barriers in the understanding of art
and encouraged other artists to join him.
exhibition is a cooperation of NIMAC, the
Pierides Foundation and the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and
Culture, and also in collaboration with the Glyn Hughes foundation. It is
curated by Yiannis Toumazis, director of NIMAC (Nicosia Municipal Art Centre) and
lecturer at the Art Department of the Frederick University in Nicosia.
exhibition is divided into sections in 14 rooms including the entrance hall and
the shop where literature and informative material is available. In the reading
room you’ll find Glyn Hughes’ journalistic work archived, what an achievement,
he had commented on the art scene since the time when he arrived in Cyprus and
that means for about sixty years. There
is also a screening room with a film shown and you can listen to his friends
and their memories of him. A room with his theatre work, his posters, his batik
work, design of costumes which prove what a multifaceted artist he was.
recommend to visit this exhibition and spend some hours there, I will certainly
go again. The exhibition will be open in two phases, i.e. 27.05. . 23.07.2016
and after the summer break from 06.09. – 17.12.21016, Tuesday - Saturday 10am-9pm.
found an article by Melissa Hekkers, a Belgian journalist, on Yiannis Toumazis’
site, which says it all.
Glyn Hughes (PICTURES)
Melissa Hekkers 27/05/2016
walked out from the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre (NiMAC) with Yiannis
Toumazis’ words ringing in my ears.
what good art is all about; that the artist lives through the work and
transmits this energy with a different code. I feel very moved because somehow,
through his work, you see him, we feel his energy around us; we caught
ourselves feeling very emotional on many occasions.”
the Director NiMAC and currently, the curator of Glyn Hughes’ prominent
retrospective exhibition ‘Glyn Hughes 1931-2014’ that opens to the wider public
this evening, Toumazis stands as an advocate of one of the few artists who have
left such an indelible mark on Cyprus.
a Welshman, Hughes’ continuous residence on the island for almost six decades
(1956-2014) acted as a catalyst for the development of contemporary art in
Cyprus and not just that.
set designer, director, teacher and educator, journalist, art and film critic,
writer, poet, pioneer in performance art and happe-nings in Cyprus, among other
things, Glyn Hughes was a multi-faceted personality, full of intensity, colour
and light, just like his work.
an honour that we owe to Glyn; it’s the first time I feel that the whole
spectrum of his work is made known and exposed,” says Toumazis, a notion that
local artist Charalambos Sergiou confirms as I make my way through a preview of
a tribute to Hughes’ work.
life was full,” Sergiou tells me, “and he made our life full,” he smiles.
Hughes left our world in October 2014, leaving behind a significant amount of
work that has been deemed as crucial to the understanding of the evolution of
art in Cyprus over the past 60 years.
reality has it that Hughes’ work, along with his persona and personal drive has
seldom been brought to the forefront in an entirety.
not only touched with his own work; he translated his knowledge to his students
at the Junior and English School, he supported fellow artists through buying
and collecting art work, he organised innovative events to invigorate the local
art scene, whether in the realms of fine arts, literature or theatre, he
highlighted trends and personalities through his writing at The Cyprus Weekly
and Cyprus Mail Newspapers and conveyed his truly humanitarian character
through each of his whims.
believed that a country with a good art scene could develop even more; he
believed in the artistic power and strength of a country,” says Toumazis.
this end, this exhibition pioneers in exa-mining the various aspects of the
artistic perso-nality of Glyn Hughes from 1931, when he was born, until his
death, and presents, besides important works –paintings, costumes and set
designs–an extensive archival material, as well as many accounts of people who
got to know him during his rich, creative career.
think Hughes was only doing these colourful canvases and we try to avoid
showing these in the exhibition; you won’t see what you think Glyn is because
he was much more than that,” adds Toumazis.
into rooms which feature specific aspects of the artist’s life, NiMAC’s foyer
turns to different periods of his work, notably depicting his love for and
impact from Egon Schiele’s work.
room dedicated to his youth and years in the United Kingdom reveals notions of
his studies in drama, performing and visual arts for school children, his
childhood years, his first drawing, his premature art work and a photo of his
mother at the train station as he left for Cyprus in 1956, amongst others.
personal art collection is also intertwined in the exhibition, with works of
pro-minent artists such as Hilton, David Hockney, Serge Poliakoff and
Vlassis Kaniaris to name a few, which only affirm the creative influence
that he had from other artists of the ’50s and ’60s, his interest in what other
artists where doing and his awareness on the trends of the time.
huge volumes copied from the PIO reveal all the articles Hughes wrote for local
papers here, another façade to his life.
way he wrote about art made it accessible to everyone, a true gift in someone
who could have easily taken a more technical route only his fellow artists
would have understood,” says Athena Karsera who worked with Hughes at the
Cyprus Weekly Newspaper.
rest of the premises are used to highlight Hughes’ first years in Cyprus and
the Apofasis Gallery he founded along with his important relation with local
fine artist Christoforos Savvas.
are weaved through Glyn’s contribution to Cyprus first 10 years as a republic,
the first happenings in Cyprus, followed with his more mature years, 20 years
in Markos Drakos Street, where he lived, his last exhibition, his batiks and
application along more theatrical works, six-and-a-half hours of interviews, an
installation with cut outs and wooden shadow figures for shadow theatre and his
Historically, for Cyprus, Hughes’ work has the potential to evoke notions and
interrelations of the time. As Hughes sold his art work for pennies, Hughes
travelled often and brought his experiences back with him.
of his first exhibition at the Ledra Palace in 1959, lino types he made and
used as Christmas cards, his dismissal letter from the Junior School, his
landscapes from Cyprus villages and his transition from the early, figurative
experimental work to the abstract Glyn we know today, gradually reveal his
Glyn was also very related to the places he lived. Living around the Green
Line, a triptych shown for the first time in Cyprus because its entirety
belonged to different people, begin to touch upon his inspiration from social
and political events that also reveal his humanist tendencies and his own
journey in self-exploration.
can see his experimentations with works like “Karakiozis in distress”, a
self-portrait with Karakiozis and you can also see what was happening in the
’70s internationally,” says Toumazis. “He used fluorescent spray paint, he was
buying cheap paint because he didn’t have a lot of money, he was always
experimenting,” he adds.
from works depicting his late experimentation with white on canvas, one
encounters the work he presented at the Cairo Biennale where he represented
Cyprus and got a distinction. One will encounter his own human interest about
cholera, his relation with the human body, to the inner self, the agony, the
sensual, sexual and existential aspect of his work.
works show his inspiration from real life events; a train in India that
capsized and killed almost 300 children; a supposed rape incident involving a
Sri Lankan maid in Cyprus in the ’80s.
liked other foreigners and the expat community; he was a socialist, a man of
human mystic, he had all these humanist ideas and always stood by the weak and
the oppressed,” tells Toumazis.
batiks again reflect his experimentation and the times he lived in.
called his batiks ‘art to go away with’ and actually he describes an incident,
during 1974, when he and his godson, Sotos Florides, had to flee from Famagusta
to Limassol, so they used the batiks to cover themselves while staying in the
fields at night,” reveals Toumazis.
leads viewers to Hughes’ last exhibition when he was living on Xanthis street.
This side of the exhibition is accompanied by the last canvas Hughes painted,
along with a photo of him working on it.
As Hughes once said: “Cyprus made me a painter, I think this is the island that
created me… for me the relation with the place was decisive”.