Feature – An ode to the sea
08.08.2012, 09:54 (CET)
“Great is the might of the sea”, said ancient Greek historian Thucydides. For four and a half months in Lemesos (Limassol), Cyprus’ largest coastal city, the International Sea Festival “Nautilus” 2012 will showcase events inspired by the marine world. The festival aims to shed light on Cyprus’ relations with European and other maritime powers of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, as well as exploring the influence of the sea on literature and the arts.

From fine art to photography, cinema, workshops and interactive events, lectures, conferences and even book presentations, “Nautilus” 2012 will host a wide range of activities and events at the Evagoras Lanitis Centre in Lemesos (Limassol) and in various public spaces of the city from July to mid-November.

Organised by the Evagοras and Kathleen Lanitis Foundation, in collaboration with the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture and the Limassol Municipality and falling within the framework of cultural activities during the Cyprus Presidency, the International Sea Festival began in July with outdoor photography exhibitions in the area surrounding the city’s ancient castle.

“Walking the streets of Limassol, inhabitants and visitors will discover the rhythms of a city adapted to the refreshing environment of the sea,” says festival director Catherine Louis Nikita.

Cyprus’ location, positioned at the crossroads of three continents, has meant the sea has had a significant political, economic and social impact on its history. The island has a long tradition as a maritime nation and the festival explores its role as a bridge between history and modern naval reality, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean.

"Mare Liberum", the history of the Mediterranean Sea

“Incubator of Western civilisation”

The exhibition “Méditerranée”, will take place between 8th- 29th of September 2012, will present works by artists from Cyprus and the region of the Mediterranean. Through their work, the artists explore the spirit of the “incubator of Western civilisation”, a description the Mediterranean Sea has earned due to its rich history.

In October, an exhibition entitled “Mare Liberum” will offer a journey through the history of the Mediterranean Sea from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Including a unique multimedia production adorned with images, videos, texts and narration, exploring, among others, the origins of maritime law, the ships and pirates of the Mediterranean, it will run from October 9 to November 15. The exhibition will be inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Demetris Christofias and the President of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso on October 8.

Catering for all age groups

Entrance for all events is free, with the “Nautilus” 2012 programme catering for all age groups. Between October 15 and 18, authors and scientists will come together and discuss the sea in an event entitled “Sea: Fairytales and Science”, aimed at elementary school children.  The event will touch upon the mythological aspects of the Mediterranean, the protection of the sea and the environment in general, as well as hosting presentations of children’s books. School children will also have the opportunity to learn the secrets of ancient shipbuilding, in an open-air workshop, taking place in the mornings of October 23 and 24.

Other highlights of the festival include a lecture on October 22 by the chief of the scientific expedition MED, Professor Bruno Dumontet, on the pollution caused by plastic debris in the Mediterranean Sea. Expedition MED, the “Mediterranean EnDangered” Expedition 2010-2013, is an international programme bringing together scientists, teachers, sailors, artists and associations for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea.   Professor Dumontet will explore the effect it has on fish and the protective measures being taken and will share with the audience his own sampling method used to measure levels of contamination.

"Le Commandant", Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Honouring the work of “Le Commandant”

Two weeks later, on November 5, “Nautilus 2012” will host a tribute to “Le Commandant” Jacques-Yves Cousteau, French oceanographer and explorer known for his extensive undersea investigations. The event will be attended by his son, oceanographer and marine conservationist Pierre-Yves, and will include a lecture and a discussion addressed to the scientific community, which will follow the morning’s documentary screening addressed to students.

This will be just one of a number of documentaries and films exploring various aspects of the sea that will be shown during the festival, with the documentary “Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist” on November 9 among the highlights.

For a full programme of the festival, please see related document.

Find more related photos here