Art and the Creation of National Identities in Europe : Art in Colonial Cyprus In Search of Identity Before Independence

    • Cover Photo
    • Presentation speakers
      • Christos Karypiadis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece


    From the beginning of the 20th century a local art emerges in Cyprus and the very few artists of the island, during the first half of the century, depict its people and its landscapes. They encounter and interact with the currents of modernism in Europe through their studies in London and Athens and produce artworks inspired primarily by the primitive environment and the everyday life of people living on the island. In painting they borrow the means of the European modernism to express their identity and their anxiety for their future. Studying and examining the work of Adamantios Diamantis, Tilemachos Kanthos, George Pol Gheorghiou, Christoforos Savva, Stass Paraschos and others from the dawn of the 20th century till the independence (1959), we can observe the artists’ sincere concern about defining their place in the world, their own identity. Essentially there is an often declaration of their ‘Greekness’. For instance, the artworks that refer to the revolution of 1955 against the British depict facts of the struggle with emphasis in depiction of Greek flag. But from 1900 to 1974, we see a significant number of artworks that try to give answers to questions such ‘what is Cyprus?’, ‘where do Cyprus and its people belong?’. The identity issue remains on the front of artist’s concerns.