Culture, as a fundamental element of each member state’s character, has contributed to the formulation of a European identity. At the crossroads of three continents and the eastern most bastion of European culture in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has been a melting pot of several civilizations and its history is one of cultural amalgamation. The island’s history, therefore, will hold a dominant position in the cultural calendar of the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council.
Exhibitions by the Cyprus Antiquities Department
To highlight the island’s rich historical past and cultural heritage, the Antiquities Department of Cyprus (responsible for the archaeological sites and the museums of the island) is organising four exhibitions abroad. In addition, an exhibition was officially opened in Nicosia on the 18th of May, on the occasion of the World Museums Day.
These exhibitions will showcase different aspects of Cypriot history, from the prehistoric ages to more recent years. The exhibits will not originate from Cyprus alone, but from other European museums as well. Additionally, some Cypriot embassies (Australia, Egypt) will be organising their own exhibitions during the Presidency.
“Ancient Cyprus: Cultures in Dialogue”
Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 30/10/2012-17/02/2013
This exhibition will focus on the ancient culture of Cyprus from the Neolithic period to the end of the Roman period. The exhibition will feature unique items recovered from excavations and will include items covering themes such as: the geology and resources of the island such as trade and contact with other cultures, the daily life – with special emphasis to metallurgy, the sea, the people of the island, and even their physical characteristics or how they were represented from an artistic perspective, their housing and urbanisation, writing etc. It will include 200 objects from the museums of Cyprus as well as objects from Belgian Museums, the British Museum and the Ashmolean, Oxford. There will also be interactive education material and short films covering some of the thematic areas mentioned above.
Louvre Museum, Paris, 26/10/2012-28/01/2013
This exhibition at the Louvre on “Medieval Cyprus” will showcase important objects originating from the island’s Early Christian period until the end of the Venetian period from a large number of both Cypriot and French museums. Showcasing the vast range of historical events during the period in question will be different objects related to architecture and religion, for example religious icons and other items of worship from the different periods, with emphasis on the different styles and influences.
“Aphrodite, Goddess of the Mediterranean”
Palazzo Quirinale, Rome, 17/10/2012-07/01/2013
The worship of Aphrodite is the subject of the exhibition to be held at Palazzo Quirinale, Rome titled: “Aphrodite, Goddess of the Mediterranean”. This has traditionally been a popular subject due to the mythological link between Cyprus and Aphrodite. The worship of the goddess, either as the patron of fertility (pregnant/nursing mother etc.) or later as the goddess of beauty and of love, resulting from Greek influences, constituted an important element of Cypriot culture. The exhibition will include 70 well-known objects from Cypriot museums which will exhibit the development of the cult of Aphrodite as well as the influences from both the West and East from prehistory to the Roman period.
“City of Gold: The Archaeology of Polis Chrysochous”
Princeton, New Jersey, 20/10/2012-20/01/2013
The exhibition organised at Princeton University, entitled “City of Gold: The Archaeology of Polis Chrysochous, Cyprus” will focus on the current excavations of the University at the Ancient Kingdom of Marion Arsinoe, where Polis Chrysochous is located today on the western coast of the island. The exhibition will also host findings of previous excavations conducted by the Antiquities Department and the Swedish mission.
“anThrOPOS: Faces of the people of Cyprus from Prehistory to the 20th century”
Archaeological Museum, Nicosia, 18/05/2012-18/01/2013
An exhibition titled: “anThrOPOS: Faces of the people of Cyprus from Prehistory to the 20th century” will be organised in the Museum Exhibition Hall at the Cyprus Museum to celebrate International Museum Day, the European Night of Museums, and the occasion of Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council. The main part of the exhibition will focus on the representation of the human face as it is depicted from the Neolithic (7th millennium BC) to Roman times. Ancient objects ranging from the highly schematic stone faces of Choirokoitia (one of the most ancient settlements discovered in Cyprus) to portrait-like, more austere Roman marble faces, will highlight Cyprus’ extensive and varied repertoire of face depiction. One of the exhibition’s objectives is to communicate to visitors the expression of personal identity in the past but also to present a more personal and soulful face of archaeology. Apart from antiquities, the exhibition will also include a selection of photographic portraits (1933-1956) taken by the late Porphyrios Dikaios, Director of the Department of Antiquities (1960-1963). A large selection of his photographs, kept at the Department of Antiquities’ Photographic Archive (mainly portraits and scenes from every-day life in Cyprus during 1933-1956), will also be published in an album which will be available at the exhibition opening. Finally, the exhibition will also host a multimedia presentation, inspired by the objects exhibited.
Read more about the exhibitions and all other cultural activities taking place during the Cyprus EU Presidency via this link.