By Heidi Trautmann
Very close to the moat in the Arabahmet Area there is the Witches’ Cauldron, the studio café of Nilgün Güney. It had been her wish for many years to have such a meeting place for the artists and at the same time for her students who she teaches on the first floor in her art studio.
The group has already had exhibitions, there was one some years ago at the studio café itself, but this time they have decided to have the exhibition of ten students plus Nilgün Güney herself at the Atatürk Cultural Centre in Nicosia which opened on 10 January 2012.
I could not be there for the opening so I do not have any photos of the group but I went two days later and took pictures of the art works.
There are ten student exhibiting next to Nilgün Güney with altogether about 80 paintings: Mektap Önem, Aydan Lisaniler, Hasan Arkan, Hasal Bayder, Pervin Önergiz, Eda Gökçe, Zeynep Uzun, Gaia Zaccagni, Deniz Tevfik, Gül Öztek; they all had a good number of paintings on display, so as a viewer you could recognise the individual artistic signature. The theme was the divided city of Nicosia, a project, Nilgün said, they have been working on for some time. Here she explains with her own words the background of the project:
“You are here” is a studio exhibition put together by Group MorMavi working at the Atelier of Nilgun Guney. The group started its learning process with the concept of “Nicosia” which led to self-questioning and various debates. Stories and tales related to the city concept, as well as historical maps and engravings of Nicosia were researched and discussed among the group members to produce experimental art works using different techniques. Various meanings of the phrase -“You are here”- were analyzed together with the meaning of the city. This analysis consisted of a broad number of themes ranging from the location of Nicosia on the map, division of the city, cultural variations, feelings and philosophical meaning of existance. Group members who just started their training worked together with more experienced members to interpret the topic based on their individual learnings and opinions with which they created paintings, photographs and graphic work.
I regarded the works from this point of view, tried to see the development of ideas, the realisation of researched facts and findings combined with the students’ own feelings. You could see the influence of Nilgün in many works, the influence of the place where they were painted in, often using symbols such as crows and wire for the presentation of distress and pidgeons and cats for signs of peace and home. Also paintings to say that life goes on, a sort of normality to hang the washing on a line; one work automatically draws your attention: a roomsize blue door painted on material, closed, with many pairs of shoes in front of it, real shoes, perhaps indicating that the art group sits behind it and discusses the whole matter. Next to it an installation of a Cypriot chair with thread wound around, I would interpret it as the chair of the Cypriot problem that after 40 years of ongoing peace talks has grown a spider net.
There are some very good interpretations and it shows that we must keep on reminding each other and the politicians what the division means to people.
The exhibition can be visited until Friday, 20 January 2012; viewing hours are government Office hours: Mon-Fri: 9 – 14.30, except Thursday until 17:00.