Nicosia – Flowers to the Star – A photo exhibition dedicated to the last divided capital in Europe
Marcos Gittis, Germany
Katarina Attalidou, Cyprus
Arunas Baltenas, Lithunia
Review by Heidi Trautmann
It was an exceptionally warm November evening when we sauntered down Ledra Street with many people still sitting outside in cafés and… hmmm…new fast food pubs…but still, it is the murmur and occasional laughter in the air which gives such an evening the special note.
We crossed over to Markarios Street and turned left and there on the fifth block is the Laiki Bank Cultural Centre. What a lovely exhibition and convention hall up there on the third floor. Wonderful lighting and hanging possibilities!
Three artists and photographers have exhibited here and we have come to see and learn what they have to tell us with their images. There is also the text “Nicossienses” by Niki Marangou enlarged to poster size to add a literary image of the old city of Nicosia.
The exhibition was opened by the Mayor of Nicosia South, Mrs Eleni Mavrou. On behalf of the Goethe-Zentrum Mrs Ute Woermann explained the connection to Berlin, the once devided German capital, and that the exhibition is a somewhat adapted second version of the original one in Berlin “Nicosia the Wall” organised by Georgea Solomontos, Cultural Attachée at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Berlin.
Berlin and Nicosia. The cities have worked together to celebrate Berlin’s 20th anniversary of the “Mauerfall” and now they work together again to hopefully unite the two halves of the Nicosian Star.
The photo reporter Marcos Gittis from Germany, art photographer Arunas Baltenas from Lithuania and artist Katerina Attalidou from Cyprus portray the multifaceted, mysterious face of Nicosia within the walls on both sides of the demarcation line, each in their own distinct style.
With his photo reportage Marcos takes us on a tour through the everyday life of the inhabitants on both sides but concentrates also on abandoned streets and border happenings, thus illustrating the isolation, a monument of desolation, hate and absurdity.
Arunas Baltenas’ genre is the classical black and white photography with architectural motives. He himself characterizes his style as ‘social photography, even though human beings do not appear in his photographs. Beauty in decay, touching.
Katerina Attalidou, an artist who entertains a most wonderful art school for children with her husband, has combined art work with realistic photography. On her strolls through the heart of Nicosia she painted and photographed scenes which she found typical for old city life. A beautiful dreamlike interpretation.
A very esthetic photo exhibition, all photos well presented. One should consider to have photos of this kind well preserved for future generations, perhaps have collections in a photographic museum for all to see.
There is a final remark in the presentation: “Under the treacherous charm of decay, the photographers reveal the scars as well as the former beauty of this city – an urgent appeal for the restoration of unity.” I would like to give a personal answer to this remark with a twinkle in my eye: Photographers are always drawn to beauty in decay, would they go and photograph a restored Nicosia or would they go elsewhere where there again is decay?
Cultural Centre of Marfin Laiki Bank
Duration until November 24
10.00 - 13.00 & 17.00 - 19.00