Feature - Maniera Cypria: Cyprus ancient history interpreted
02.08.2012, 11:09 (CET)
Nature and history have long provided inspiration for artists to celebrate and immortalize their environment, surroundings and past. This long-lasting inspiration is on display at the “Maniera Cypria” exhibition in Lemesos (Limassol) until the 12th of August, as ancient findings from the Lemesos district are paired with modern interpretations of the collective historical, mythological and hagiographical past of the area. 

The “Maniera Cypria: Lemesos, Fabula, Historia, Memoria” exhibition, which is held at the Evagoras Lanitis Centre in Lemesos (Limassol) between June 29 and August 12, is organised by the Municipality of Lemesos and the Evagoras Lanitis Centre in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and the Holy Bishopric of Lemesos under the auspices of the Cyprus EU Presidency. Ranging from sculptures, paintings and installations the exhibition explores history, myths and memories of Cyprus through ancient findings in juxtaposition with contemporary art. 

Bridging cultures

A bird made of twisted wire draws inspiration from images on pottery and bird-shaped vessels of the Cypro-Archaic and the Cypro-Geometric periods. Aphrodite, a central symbol of Cyprus, replaces Botticelli’s Venus in “The birth of Aphrodite”. A painting of a red lonely rider borrows features from clay figurines excavated in Amathus, the ancient city located about 10 kilometres East of Lemesos, and reminds of an identity long gone. The rich history of Cyprus serves as a backdrop when contemporary Cypriot artists make their interpretations of ancient findings from the wider Lemesos district.Photo of the Maniera Cypria-exhibition

“The exhibition shows cultural life in Cyprus has a continuation throughout history, but also that Cyprus is an island that plays a significant role bridging the cultures around the Mediterranean Sea” explains Dr. Maria Hadjicosti, Director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, with the permission of which the antiquities are displayed at the exhibition.

Unearthed from the Lemesos district

The archeological objects are all unearthed from the Lemesos district, from Amathus, Pyrgos, Erimi, Episkopi and Kourion.

 “It gives visitors the opportunity to see the objects of our ancient history, and to see their artistic value. I think the interesting thing is that the same ideas and the same artistic expressions reappear today. Not through imitation, but rather through the experience of a common cultural environment”, says Dr. Hadjicosti.

Phot of the Maniera Cypria-exhibitionThe ancient findings date back as early as to the Middle Chalcolithic period (3500-2800 B.C), and are displayed side by side with the modern art pieces.

“It’s the first time that we show such a large number of emblematic objects from the Antiquity and the Byzantine period until modern time under the same ‘roof’”, says Catherine Louis Nikita, Director of the Evagoras Lanitis Centre.  

“The pieces, representing the different phases of the artistic Cypriot creation have been carefully selected not only to keep a balance between their own aesthetic and historic value but also because the objects were the main references for our modern artists in his or her creation”, she says.

Linking with the past

A total of almost 30 contemporary Cypriot visual artists have contributed to the exhibition:: Angelos Makrides, Helene Black, Nicos Charalambides, Savvas Christodoulides, Andreas Chrysochos, Marianna Constanti, John Corbidge, Christos Foukaras, Theodoulos Gregoriou, Demetrakis Gerokostas, Yiota Ioannidou, Elina Ioannou, Kyriakos Kallis, Lia Lapithi, Maria Loizidou, Antonis Photo of the Maniera Cypria-exhibitionNeophytou, Εleni Nikodemou, Lefteris Olympios, Stass Paraskos, Kypros Perdios, Christoforos Savva, Renos Stefani, George Skotinos, Socrates Socratous, Lefteris Tapas, Susan Vargas and Panayiotis Vittis.

Through the use of a great diversity in subjects and materials they have provided their interpretation of Maniera Cypria.

“The exhibition is trying to bridge the past and the present of Cyprus through a dialogue between generations of Cypriot creation. It aims to develop the idea that there is a constant need for modern artists to remain linked with their past and to draw strong inspiration from it”, says Nikita.

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