By Heidi Trautmann
It could not have been a more beautiful evening for
the opening of the CVAR with the name of the Centre written in three languages
in Turkish, Greek and English to emphasize the mission the initiators, the
members of the Foundation have been following since its formation, that is ….To
promote culture, education, peaceful coexistence, understanding and cooperation
amongst the people of Cyprus and between Cyprus and its neighbours.
from Lokmaci Crossing, immediately turning to the left from Ledra Street
towards the market, along the excavations and the Power House and kept as close
to the buffer zone as possible. On the way we recognised the changes and house
renovations, the clearing up of places and creating new spaces within the old
quarter until we came to Ermou Street, a hidden street with old Ottoman houses;
coming by car around the old city, it is a stone throw away from Famagusta Gate.
exists a short film to demonstrate the renovation works done to the building
which could not have been realised without the help of many, especially in
greeted by Rita Severis and her husband Costas in the beautiful entrance hall
leading to the inner courtyard where already hundreds of guests had gathered,
the diplomatic corps, artists and writers, politicians and business men,
university people from both sides of the island. We were immediately directed
to the upper terrace from where we had a good view over the roofs of the Old
City, with the Muezzin calling at his proper time and the sun polishing the sky
spanning over the new building and its initiators.
were waiting for the ceremony to start, I would like to give a short glimpse
into the CVAR programme which I found on their website www.severis.org
Since 1999, the Foundation has organized cultural
and educational events while promoting research and scholarship in Cyprus.
In 2013, the Foundation began implementing the
Sharing History, Art, Research and Education (SHARE) initiative, a partnership
program between the Costas and Rita Severis Foundation, the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID), the Turkish Cypriot University
Women’s Association, and the NGO Support Center. The goal of SHARE is to
provide a common platform for the exploration of the island’s cultural heritage
through visual and creative arts and through this to increase the potential for
peaceful coexistence in Cyprus.
In 2014, the Foundation opened the Centre of Visual
Arts and Research (CVAR) on Ermou Street in the heart of the walled city of
Nicosia. The CVAR hosts the Costas and Rita Severis collections, which
include more than 1.500 works of art by traveling artists to Cyprus during the
18th, 19th and 20th centuries, hundreds of pieces of Cypriot memorabilia
(including from Government House), dozens of Cypriot costumes from the 18th to
the 20th centuries, and more than 5.000 books on the history, art and culture
of Cyprus and its neighbours. The CVAR also contains a research centre,
café and roof garden where it hosts workshops and seminars, screens films and
slide shows, and organizes a wide range of activities to promote understanding.
The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors.
Mr. Costas Z. Severis, President
Mrs. Rita C. Severis, Executive Director
Dr. Demetrios Michaelides, Member and Professor of
Mr. Ninos Hadjiroussos, Member and Businessman
Dr. Müge Şevketoglu, Member and Archaeologist
Ms. Gülden Plumer Küçük, Member, Businesswoman and
Member of the United Nations Committee for Missing Persons
Dr. Ayla Gürel, Member and Researcher
Mr. Symeon Matsis, Member and Former Director of
the Planning Bureau
Dr. Michael Sarris, Member and Former Minister of
The Foundation strives to include Cyprus’ diverse
perspectives in all of its work, by including members from all communities on
the island on its Board.
Our Sponsors and Supporters
Foundation is grateful for the longstanding support of its activities and
publications by a number of privately- and publicly-held companies including
the Hellenic Bank and the Shacolas Group of Companies. It is also
thankful to all of the individuals – from Cyprus and abroad – who have donated
items, memorabilia and archives to the collections.
construction and launch of the Centre of Visual Arts and Research would not
have been possible without the financial support, help and encouragement of
organizations including the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID), the EEA Norwegian Fund, the United Nations
Development Programme’s Action for Cooperation and Trust (UNDP-ACT) program,
the De Minimis program, the Nicosia Municipality and the British
Foundation is also pleased to partner with USAID, the Turkish Cypriot University
Women’s Association and the NGO Support Centre for the implementation of the
Sharing History, Art, Research and Education (SHARE) initiative.
deeply grateful to all our supporters and are always eager to hear from
organizations and individuals who share our vision and would like to partner on
speakers stood up and retold the story of the Centre and
finally HE the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades held
his inauguration speech and congratulated the Chairman and Directors of the
Costas and Rita Severis Foundation. It is thus handed over to the service of
the public and its future programme of art, culture and education. I would like to add my personal appreciation
for this work and the idea that goes with it: Working together and respecting
each other is the only basis progress can develop on.
must come again and have a closer look at all the treasures in the building
which include more than 1000 paintings left by the visitors to Cyprus starting
with the 18th century; over 5000 books of history, and archival
material waiting for budding and travelling researchers. There will be many
programmes which will be announced separately and I am surely going to follow
own Rita Severis’ book for many years and it has been a great pleasure to study
it and on this first evening in the Centre I recognised many originals in the
halls of the Centre.
will find all the details concerning opening hours, map on their website www.severis.org .