Cyprus is a vessel full of legends and myths and all
the people that have set foot on its shores have added some new ingredients. Among
those were gods and half gods and we all know about Aphrodite who is the Lady
of Cyprus, born from the foam given off by Uranus’ genitals cut off by Cronos
and thrown into the sea….how cruel there were, these Greek gods….
It was she that fulfilled Pygmalion’s prayer, he who
was a Cypriot sculptor and had created the perfect woman from marble. The sensitive artist hated the sight of
ordinary women and has therefore created his ideal woman so that he fell in
love with her. He asked Aphrodite to help him so that he could marry this
woman. From this marriage a boy was born by the name of Paphos.
But this is not what I want to talk about. It is
rather the Pygmalion phenomenon which keeps me fascinated since I am painting
and writing my own stories, and that is loooong ago.
I was a child and I remember a painting done by my
father in Morocco, that hang over my bed and the longer I kept looking at it
the more I had the wish to enter it with just a note left for grandma that I
would soon return. I often had this wish when I came across a painting that
fascinated me or a book that made me want to meet its protagonists. Later when
I grew up I created my own world, places where I wanted to be, I never copied
what I saw but picked out those experiences which radiated warmth and good
This is not a phenomenon of my own; it is a phenomenon
that exists since humans became creative. Things and events that could not be
explained were given a supernatural significance and there you had your elves
and forest dwarfs and ghosts, supernatural beings, good and bad ones, aliens
later. Then the humans started to give names
to the mystical powers and put them on a pedestal, gods and as intermediaries half
gods….Nobody really dared to deny the existence because they said…there are so
many things between earth and sky that nobody can explain…we still do, don’t
Now, there were the creative writers and artists who
were able to create worlds of their own and populated them with individuals of their own
making and it happened to some of them that those became alive and lived with
them, or they believed in their existence to be real. There is this danger in
all creative processes because to create something you have to become it; if
you want to understand the nature of a wooden chair you have to become one.
Now, imagine that as a writer or an artist you are all by yourself in your
studio and to create a personality with all its characteristics you become a true
creator and you will somehow breathe life into the slowly developing creature.
A narrow tightrope walk between here and there, madness and reality.
We have fantastic stories in the literature world,
Pygmalion by Ovid, as mentioned above, My Fair Lady by B. Shaw, developed on
the basis of this legend, or stories in which a lonely poet sits in his cold
room and the girl of his dreams steps out from between the pages he is just
filling; close to Pygmalion is Narcissus who falls in love with his own image
on the basis of which Dorian Gray was developed. And many more figures that
were created to meet the imaginations of such creators, but not only beauty was
given birth to, but creatures such as Frankenstein or Mandrake became part of
the homunculus philosophy, as we have met in films many films of last century;
even our well known author of ‘Bitter Lemons’ Lawrence Durell has created one
There is the wide world of fantasy for children, a
lovely example is ‘Alice in Wonderland’,
‘Pinocchio’, or for example ‘Gulliver’s
travels’, and the many animations
such as ‘Jungle Book’, ‘Bee Maya’ and the immense Walt Disney World. However, the mystic world most children
create for themselves is unmatched, it suffices that they lie down on their
stomach and watch the march of ants that sets off a big space of wonder world
that is closed for the adults. This is
especially valid for lonely kids, their world becomes populated with the most
weird creatures and events they invent along with them.
A very special
kind of phantasy world creators are old handicapped people that are left alone
by themselves and in order to fill the empty space that life has left them in,
they invent all kind of situations and individuals they can talk to. What a
It is the time
in-between, the generation in-between that is pitiable, when we have to leave
childhood behind and enter adulthood and with it the world of ambitiousness and
fights for position and profit to fill our world with symbols, dead symbols.
However, if you
have a painting in your house you especially love and you would love to get to
know the world behind it a little better, you can one day just enter it, that
works, under one condition, that you take off your shoes with the dust of this
world in front of it. Perhaps we meet some day.