By Heidi Trautmann
Where the mountains meet the sea is the title of
one of the paintings Brian Self exhibited in 2013 at the Eaved House in Nicosia.
It depicted the landscape viewed from his home high in Lapta, where he had
restored a ruin with much love and fine detail, as he was an architect. He had
come here to live in 1998 with his German wife Elke who died at the age of 69
in 2011, after 31 years of happy marriage. Both were much appreciated by the foreign
community. He co-founded The Foreign Residents (TFR), where he took care to
arrange cultural events for its members and he also organized art events and
exhibitions, one of them being my own in 2005 for which I am very grateful.
Brian was a perfectionist, an aesthetician, in
whatever he did, not only in his art and way of life but also in the articles
he wrote for local newspapers which he finally published in his book ‘Untidy
He had a philosophy of his own which he put into words
with his short introduction to his last exhibition:
“The world is our scenery. Seeing means giving shape
and form to everything our eyes take in as they play with the world. And
because everything my eyes take in is in me, the symbolic, suggestive idols of
the world can become icons. In the simplest terms art is the same as life;
expression, making connections, always gravitation towards meaning.”
He was continuing a theme which seemed to hold his
attention: landscapes and still lives and – with his sensitive architect’s mind
– their transformation into basic forms and spaces. Proper composition, balance
of forms and colours, was an imperative for Brian. Vibrant colours, overlaying
each other, each transparent to show the life underneath. One has the
impression of strong feelings reigned in by meticulous discipline. I loved the
exhibition which represented his ideas so well.
The last exhibition was a key moment for him as he encountered
someone there, a dear friend of mine, Ms. Léonie Brittain, with whom he formed
a new partnership. All their friends were very happy for them and we are sorry
that it came to such a sudden end. Our sympathies are with Léonie who has taken
care to inform the family members in different parts of the world. But what
stays with us are his interpretations of Cyprus which he loved so much, the
island we have also come to love where we have made our home.
The funeral is planned to be on Friday which needs to
be reconfirmed. You will find the details on my website www.heiditrautmann.com under Cyprus Art News.