Mirrored Reflections- Memories of Tampered Identities

Page 1


Hayal Gezer MEMO Lenia Georgiou Nurtane Karagil Stephanie Lemesianou Zoe Polycarpou



ART FOR REMEMBRANCE Currently, we are witnessing a historic moment in Europe, where the influx of refugees and asylum seekers has created a rise in diversity and pushed for new meanings to define ‘citizenship’. Through a series of art actions that use urban space, heritage, and history of the place as a source of inquiry, participants come together in creative ‘think-tanks’ to investigate contemporary notions of ‘citizenship’ in our society, while looking at their common past. The program aims to create creative pop-up spaces focused on discussing contemporary interpretations of European Identity through utilizing a set of artistic approaches. It involves 10 countries (Italy, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Greece, Poland, Germany, Cyprus, Latvia, Bulgaria). The local actions around 13 cities in Europe target social inclusion. Through these activities youth from a range of diverse backgrounds meet to exchange dialogue, referencing the historical heritage and the local social and cultural memory of each city involved, in order to investigate forms of intolerance, drawing the lessons for today starting from the civic participation under totalitarian regimes.


Visual Voices is a non-profit organization supporting youth artists from communities affected by violent conflict. We promote the creation of contemporary visual art that reflects the desire for positive social change and build the space for these ideas to be shared. Contemporary visual art is a valuable peacebuilding tool. As an engaging medium that allows for non-verbal communication, it draws out strong emotional responses and often creates deeper feelings of empathy and understanding. We believe that our primary target group, youth artists from communities affected by violent conflict, have incredible potential to promote positive social change. By positively addressing key community challenges and their own lived experiences of conflict within their art, artists stimulate dialogue and peace-oriented social narratives. Reaching new audiences, Visual Voices supports young artists to share their work through conferences, presentations, campaigns, and exhibitions. It is in these visual voices that we see the beginning of global narratives for peace. The impacts of our initiatives. In doing so, we hope to better the understanding of and appreciation for arts-based peacebuilding practices by providing opportunities to research impact at the community level.

CURATOR'S MESSAGE In a conflict-affected society, relationships between communities become strained through nationalistic symbols and narratives. A nationalist identity is established, and the politics of fear and hatred are forced. From a young age, we learn to never forget, to carry stories that divide us. There is a necessity for a powerful tool to eliminate this perception and secure free expression and peace advocacy. Visual arts can be the bridge that constructs physical spaces where diverse stories and cultures can be validated and shared. It has a unique and crucial role to transform relationships and nurture compassion and empathy. The exhibition “Mirrored Reflections, Memories of Tampered Identities’’ creates a dialogue between personal memories and identity. As carriers of previous generations with a common past and a common future, integrating different perspectives into the prevailing social narrative is essential for a positive change. The voice of the six emerging artists can be perceived as an activistic social debate challenging mainstream politics. It is a search for defining identity and creating a passage


The group exhibition 'Mirrored Reflections- Memories of Tampered Identities' presents the works of six Cypriot artists who reflect on the themes of nationalist media, conflict narratives, and the crisis of democracy. Artists from across the island meet here to draw a new trail together, with their hands that have different stories, with their own genesis, with their own family narratives- to a peacewise and unforgotten. Linked by a sense of new perspectives and long-lived togetherness. The works speak in stark contrast to the common narratives found in today’s media, that extend to the common beliefs of the people. The works are the personal journeys of going beyond what is told, entering the mirrored universal. The group exhibition will present the artwork of the following artists: Nurtane Karagil, Stephanie Lemesianou, Hayal Gezer, Memo, Lenia Georgiou, and Zoe Polycarpou. Curation. Elia Neophytou The exhibition is part of the Europe for Citizens' project “Art for Remembrance” that takes place in different cities across Europe and explores the sensitive theme of remembrance in creative ways, allowing local artists to showcase their work and to offer plural narratives. Have a good journey, exploring the journey of another that we hope becomes your own.


Hayal Gezer Hayal is an interdisciplinary artist and a yoga teacher who is currently residing in the north of Cyprus. Her parents, not wanting to raise their family in a broken land, migrated to Canada where she was born. At the beginning of the '90s, they decided to uproot back to Cyprus and settled in Nicosia. Once she finished her BA Hons. Arts and Media in UCA, she pursued her interest in film making by doing an MA in Digital Media and Film in EMU. She believes that art has the power over transcending and exposing injustices and issues that have been normalised by mainstream media. She has been participating in various art exhibitions on both sides of Cyprus since she moved back from the UK. Her works dwell on identity, sense of belonging, the relationship between the body and space, and open communication. Currently, she works as a freelance art director, videographer and photographer. She also worked as a communications specialist to increase the visibility of NGOs, organising events, working with the press, social media management and general representation of NGOs. She had the opportunity to shoot a mini-documentary for Refugee Rights Association which screened in three different events. She has experience in art direction and production of various short films and documentaries focusing on social and political issues. In 2018 she worked as an art director in the shortfilm Hostess. The film revolves around the toxicity of brothel culture in the youth of north Cyprus. In 2019 she worked as a production assistant in "Divided Cities" Nicosia episode of the documentary series by the Guardian. Apart from her work in film production and NGOs, she is a certified Hatha yoga teacher. She feels that yoga is a wholesome discipline that is in line with her values and beliefs. She organised several workshops where she combines storytelling techniques with mindful movement methodologies to accommodate safe space for open communication. AA Meetings (Artists Anonymous) held in NiMAC, 2017 and Howling Workshop held in Buffer zone during Respublika festival, 2017, were results of her effort in combining both of her studies into an applicable method. Despite her eclectic work experience, Hayal always aims to contribute to the betterment of the community.

Cities are not made of roads and buildings, but of experiences lived, of an intricate network of human connection weaved, and of shared memories. Cities are the embodiment of their inhabitants and are organic structures that are ever-changing, reforming and collapsing. Λευκωσία/Lefkoşa has been inhabited since the bronze age but gained importance during Roman and Byzantine times with the rise of Christianity in the region. During Byzantine times it was established as the capital of the island and has been the capital since then. The walls were built by Lusignans, after taking over from Byzantines and remain mostly in-tact. Throughout the history of Cyprus, Λευκωσία/Lefkoşa has been a contested city. Since the separation to this day, it remains divided between the Republic of Cyprus and defacto state Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Due to UN-controlled Buffer Zone, some parts of the city are inaccessible to the public, like locked rooms of a house, remains still, decaying. It is also a city that challenges mobility. The experience of walking is directly affected by the strong military presence and the memorabilia of violent conflicts. Sudden halts in the middle of a street, stairs to nowhere, and houses once home only partially remains in either state. A flânerie approach to wandering and letting the city guide itself would have heart-breaking consequences as they would always end up at a dead-end street. 45o is an intimate analogue photography project where the city of Λευκωσία/Lefkoşa is being observed and felt through different peoples experiences coming from different generations and backgrounds. I took each photograph at a specific location that holds importance to the person as they shared an intimate detail. 45o is psycho-geographical mapping of a wounded city where we are re-tracing a memory, a feeling or an incident. Double exposure and other kinds of more experimental techniques are applied to indicate a sentimental relationship between the location and the person and to create the ephemeral nature of remembrance. It is more of romantic documentation rather than factual, of Λευκωσία/Lefkoşa on both sides. By allowing the people of Λευκωσία/Lefkoşa guiding us, we get to listen to the untold stories of ordinary streets, squares, alleyways and buildings and create an alternative scope of tales and personal histories from the life point of view. There is still life, happening in the street.

45o 2020 Audio recordings, analogue photographs, double exposure, prints on photographic paper

Nurtane Karagil I live and work in Famagusta, Cyprus. The peculiar situation of the country itself gives me endless opportunities to create. Other than fitting into the political and statistical categories, I experience being a minority in the way I perceive and imagine the world. This challenged me to become much more visible in my community as an activist and a productive citizen. Having actively worked in youth organizations, multi- cultural projects and open spaces, I was also involved in various collectives and had participated in multiple collaborative projects. Being in this island shaped my point of view and changed my perception of producing art work. It has become a medium for me to address and deconstruct inequalities, patriarchal administrations, alienating and destructive environmental settings, meaningless investigations without results, limitations, self-centered power politics etc. The current sense of uncertainty on global scale has been the reality of Cyprus for many decades. This has resulted with an inability to dream of a future and an excessive weight on a patriarchal and militaristic past. Through my work I utilise the power of memory, dreams and surreal fantasies, I create another game for myself from the situations as a playground for thoughts and feelings. These are random attempts to create another reality that combines my childhood memories and chaotic everyday life in Cyprus.

This is my home where my father has trees, and my friends buried their dreams. It is such a place that the habitat itself is physically displaced by a giant flag. Even finding the motivation to create something becomes an art in itself in these conditions of purgatory. My creative willingness comes from the need to show that I am here and real. In my artistic practices I choose to place myself where I feel I belong at the time of the happening and sometimes I expect to be placed in a space where other people render suitable for me. Through this I am able to experience my own space in this complex web of realities. This can be a city or a story, maybe a specific location or an event. Experiencing this situation opens up a process that I could start to react. Reactions that are playful, because I only through playfulness I think we can overcome the constraints of history. Such playfulness with child-like works enables me to trigger the viewer, feel the flow and create clear messages. Acting in a childish way accelerates the process and more importantly, it generates trust. To facilitate the instincts of the viewer instincts, I often touch a spot that is familiar to them and which carries a value for them. This makes it easier to talk about things that are not right but still affect us generally. It lifts the boundaries and helps us to process the situations. In the end of the process, both I and the audience, or we as “the public” end up in the same situation we had begun with but this time with the feeling of having shared it.

Questionnaire – for all human beings on the earth 2020 Cold lamination and application on wood

Stephanie Lemesianou Stephanie Lemesianou is a multimedia storyteller born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus, known as the last divided capital of the world. Experienced in communications, journalism and film production, she strives to share what is true, honorable and human through real stories that transcend any cultural, political and physical barriers. She graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Film and Television and has accumulated film credits in a number of short film productions as a director, producer and assistant director. Over the years, she has also gained work experience in talent management, social media management and public relations. At the moment, she works for the Directors Guild of Cyprus and supports other organizations with their social impact mission. Stephanie hopes to continue her journey in artistic activism and to investigate through different mediums how the personal story can be universal.

Embedded in the media framework of Cyprus are conflict-supporting narratives of separation between Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities. Using framing language, such narratives tend to be biased, simplistic, divisionary and distorting. The notion of “us and them” is continuously imparted to society members, whereas the idea of “us” as a whole is an understated, almost forgotten narrative. Seemingly inclusive phrases often have an overtone of separation as opposed to togetherness. The transformation of divisional narratives to peacebuilding ones is a complex and non-linear process. This piece is the product of investigation, introspection, and rectification. Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot children ages 6-10 were asked to draw themselves and a child from the other side with no mention of the conflict. Lemesianou often thinks about migration, poverty and displacement- conditions that are deeply embedded in her family history and were inflicted upon the childhood and early youth of her relatives. Storytelling has been a way for her to process the realities that shaped the people around her but also to appreciate their courage and resilience. Her work comes from a place of wanting to reveal human stories of perseverance in spite of adversity. As a child, she was always hyper aware of the feelings of the adults around her, which is why she often creates visual stories that reflect the observations and experiences of children. In her practice, she uses the tools of black and white documentary photography, street photography, mixed media, text and narrative filmmaking. The streets, neighbourshoods and nuances of daily life are all party of her visual language. Documented or fictitious, her work is characterized by an intimate investigation of how the microcosm of a single moment, behaviour or relationship can allude to larger questions in our world. It feels important during these times to not lose sight of the small, personal stories that appeal to our endangered humanity.

Them and Us and Them 2020 Newspaper, Mixed Media (Translation from Left to Right: The Greek-Cypriots and Us | Us and the TurkishCypriots)

Zoe Polycarpou My current art practice uses many different mediums to create narratives inspired by my personal experiences and observations. By investigating how artwork can be experienced differently on an individual and group level, I consider everyday themes such as the way people interact with spaces and the objects around them, in order to explore the possibilities and boundaries of storytelling. Drawing upon my fine art background and lifelong interest in graphic novels, I like blurring the lines of artistic disciplines. I tend to combine traditional processes, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, writing and photography to create art pieces that can stand alone or alongside other works. I experiment with placing different artworks together in installations to see how they interact and transform in the presence of each other, adding nuance to overarching themes or together conveying a different meaning. Often incorporating text and visuals, my work attempts to construct narratives in a way that is engaging and relatable.

A collection of photographs taken over the span of 2 days and 630km, circumventing the political border of Cyprus to instead explore its natural border - the coastline. Arranged in a concertina reminiscent of the Venetian walls surrounding old Nicosia, the outer photographs were taken looking out towards the sea, and the inner photographs were taken looking in, towards the land. Together the photographs form the outline of Cyprus and are an attempt to represent the island as a whole, showing a perspective that defies the differences and boundaries within.

Coastline, Unbroken 2020 (48) 35mm Film prints, Collection of Photographs, Metal

MEMO I was born in 1996 in the city of Famagusta. I spent part of my life in the Karpas area, then I moved to the divided capital city of Nicosia and took my fine arts major flute education in high school. Then I met with visual arts when I got my plastic arts education, at the American University of Cyprus and I had the opportunity to work in many different galleries and artists. I decided to follow a path in the arts because the language of art gives me comfort and freedom. While creating a work of art, I am not being dependent on anyone and knowing its eternity makes swimming in this sea of eternity even more attractive. In general, the type of art that I do is not attached to a particular medium, as I have only recently turned to the digital art sphere. Besides, I care that the artworks I create are interactive so that I can directly connect with the audience and transfer my experiences to them especially if the mediums I work with are; performance-installation or even digital art. Usually, I focus my work around activist and political aspects and I try to reflect on hegemonic masculinity and marginality by observing the patterns of gender roles in society. I think there is a small segment that my art has influenced, and I hope that, as the literacy of art writers increases, it will reach more people and in particular those who are painfully experiencing the effects of gender roles, or any individual for that matter, especially in our society. I hope my art can be educational or of help for anyone that comes across it. As for now I continue my life in the divided capital city of Nicosia with a great confusion of identity and origin.

When I was younger, I would always look at these albums with my grandmother and imagine those beautiful days. There were gaps in between, confusion, disagreements, and no empathy. Now, as a third generation person (since the conflict in 1974), I am collecting memories to be photographed by living outside my belonging. The fact that Cyprus is divided into two means that the memories are divided into two. When we remove the concept of the two sides and use regions, perhaps our other attitudes and other concepts will decrease. I want to create for my future, just like my grandmother did, there are things about Cyprus (our home) that I want to leave for the future, generations. Let's wash what we have taken from the past as new generations, synthesize the areas we live in, and create photo albums together without borders, without gender, religion, language, origin distinctions ....... let us be.

3RD Generation Album 2019 Readymade Installation

Lenia Georgiou Lenia's work is mostly concerned with issues of displacement, relocation, and the basic human need of shelter. She is also interested in themes like the redefinition of borders, in social issues and in the norms and elements that define an individual's identity. Her works often have a nomadic function or a participatory/collaborative art-making. Lenia Georgiou is a Cypriot interdisciplinary Visual Artist and Art Therapist, born on 30/4/1990 in Adelaide (South Africa). She is a holder of a BA (Hons) Fine Arts from Kingston University of London (2012) and a two year specialization masters in Art Therapy from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan (2015). During her masters she has worked with people with mental disorders, visually impaired, prisoners, immigrant women, as well as with asylum seekers and political refugees with whom Lenia has conducted her project "Poxias". "Poxias" has won the ''Premio Speciale Piccini Group'' within the context of ''Talent Prize'' and was been exhibited at the Macro Μuseum in Rome in 2016 and it is still being exhibited around the globe. Lenia has exhibited in countries such as Italy, North Macedonia, Cyprus and Greece. She has been also cultivating her passion for dancing and performance art — for her the use of the body is fundamental in her practice and in her life. Lenia currently lives and works on planet Earth.

Fief *an estate of land, especially one held on condition of feudal service; a fee. *φέουδo, εκτάσεις γης που απαιτούσαν ως αντάλλαγμα πίστη, υποταγή και παροχή ορισμένων υπηρεσιών. *özellikle feodal hizmet koşuluyla elde tutulan bir toprak mülkü; bir ücret. During the time of the Venetian occupation in Cyprus, the Rochas bastion belonged to Eugenio Singlitico that owned many villages as a fief. The Roccas bastion is the westernmost of the Venetian walls of the old city of Nicosia. For thirty years and to this day, it was the only place on the island where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could/can meet, see each other, talk to each other and above all, interact with each other, without having to cross borders. In fact, at this very point, the buffer zone does not exist: the bastion, simply bordered by a fence. Since the Venetian rule, not much has changed regarding Cypriot land. Georgiou, strongly believes that it is through the power of human relationships, connection, and togetherness that we can eliminate any kind of wall, both physical and mental. Georgiou sent out an open call to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots inviting people from both sides of the divide to meet for the first time and perform for Fief. Instructions of the idea of the performance were given on the spot. This action took place simultaneously in Yiğitler Burcu Parkı and on the sidewalk of Markou Drakou Street respectively. Having the metal fence and the wall separating them, the participants were asked to move in the designated areas and freely place themselves in the space. Some people from the groups would deter them by changing their position and their posture. The people that interfered with others peoples' moves were interchanging between themselves, acting as a metaphor of the external third-party interventions that we often like to believe are the ones influencing the dialogue between the two communities. But is it really ‘the others’ that are influencing the dialogue?

Fief 2020 Simultaneous performance in the north and the south of the divide with Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, Yiğitler Burcu Parkı / Markou Drakou, Nicosia,Cyprus, Total duration of the performance: 40' Video duration: 11'35" and 7'34"


"Contemporary interpretations of European Identity and the local social and cultural memory of Cyprus"


Natalia Kouhartsiouk

Dr. Kyriacos Pachoulides

Dr. Esra Plumer Bardak Andreas Charalambous

Ioanna Neophytou

Natalia Kouhartsiouk Natalia joined the NGO Support Centre team in April 2020 as Centre & Project Manager. She studied Classical Studies (BA), Applied Theatre (MA) and Cultural Policy and Development (MA). She has many years of experience as an active member of civil society, in Cyprus and abroad, and has been involved in the implementation of a number of projects developed around topics such as arts and cultural heritage, adult education and capacity building, human rights education, peace education, intercultural dialogue, civic engagement and active participation.

Dr. Kyriakos Pachoulides Founding member of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, he has been serving the organization since 2003 as a member of its Governing Board. He has studied pedagogical studies and psychology and holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology with research on the interconnection of Social Representations with Social Identities, specifically the national identities. He is a primary school headmaster and for more than a decade, he seconded to the Office of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Cyprus. Dr. Pachoulides combines successfully his educational background, his professional experiences, and social activism, contributing for many years to the development of an inter-communal peace movement in Cyprus through his work with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research and the Home for Cooperation. A passionate peace and human rights supporter Dr. Pachoulides has dedicated his life to the promotion of long-term and sustainable peace in Cyprus and the establishment of a culture of cooperation and trust among the two main communities constitutionally established on the island.

Dr. Esra Plumer Bardak Esra Plümer-Bardak is an art historian, researcher and active member of non-profit associations. She earned her PhD in Art History at the University of Nottingham in 2012 and has lectured at several institutions on Modern and Contemporary Art.

Andreas Charalambous Andreas Charalambous, is a political activist and an entrepreneurial spirit, with studies in Communications & Mass Media and Political Science and International Relations. He has been traveling, observing, discussing, reading, thinking and revising his thoughts for half his young life and he will continue to do so indefinitely. He is also owned by a cat who doesn't wish to make her name public.

Ioanna Neophytou

She is a multidisciplinary artist, director and researcher, based in Athens. She currently works as an art professor in Greece. She is currently a PhD candidate in the AixMarseille Université in France, conducting a research under the title ‘The images of war and the war of images: contemporary art and documentary in the necropolitics era.’ Her artistic practice and her research focus on conflicts and their meta-narrations, on the importance of images as a tool for history narration and as an object of instrumentalization in the conflict. With a long-standing interest in concepts such as geopolitics, ideology, historiography, national identity and contemporary wars, her artistic practice has resulted throughout the years in multiple forms such as documentaries and short films, video installations, performances and sculptures.


EVOHK is an artist-run space constantly shifting form and function to support an open framework for experimentation, collaboration and dialogue between artists and initiatives across a broad spectrum of disciplines. We facilitate and produce contemporary art exhibitions, music and theatre performances, screenings, workshops, meetings, residency programs, poetry nights, pop-up shows etc. Acting within an international network of artists, we seek to increase access to contemporary and traditional art practices, explore new ways of engaging in creativity through interdisciplinary education, inspire and raise meaningful interactions in between cultural and social contexts in Cyprus and beyond.

This action is the result of a partnership with Iodeposito and is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union. The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.