Depiction of contrasts
Lawyer, palaeontologist and author turns
to art to portray
By Demetra Molyva
The many years of agonised waiting by Cypriot women - mainly the mothers of those missing since the Turkish invasion in
1974 - are the theme of a collection of paintings by veteran lawyer, palaeontologist and author George Kriton Tornaritis.
The opening of Ledra Street on April 3, which was seen as a symbol of hope for the island’s reunification and peaceful
consistence between its two communities, led Tornaritis to give a first taste of his collection of paintings in the Greek
and international press.
The paintings are a continuation of an exhibition the artist put on in now occupied Famagusta in 1967 and will be published
in an album. They will also be exhibited in Nicosia, Athens and London.
Tornaritis’s paintings are depictions of contrasts revealing the negative effects of the Turkish invasion in 1974
and the pain it brought to the island.
The artist’s play of bright colours of Cypriot nature- including the occupied Pentadaktylos mountain range as the
backdrop - emphasises the hopes of the people of Cyprus for a solution, and to determine the fate of their missing loved ones.
"Symbolic expressionism renders the agony of the long years of waiting and the hope for return much better than words,"
"It is evident in my work that the people of Cyprus, including women, are waiting to return to their homelands, to find
their loved ones, for a solution, for peace, " Tornaritis told The Cyprus Weekly.
His paintings, oil on canvas, portray women – mothers, daughters, sisters, waiting with patience and full of hope.
They symbolise the hope of the whole of the people of Cyprus, for a solution and for peace on the island.
Tornaritis’s use of nuances of vibrant red, orange, green and amber against the gloom of the black-clad women depicts
the contrast of emotions of the people of Cyprus, since the invasion.
"My paintings express the pain of all Cypriots and are a record of the colours of Cyprus as I see them.
“Because in Cyprus, the prevalent colour is ochre and gold, the colour of wheat. I try to portray the sorrow of the
people and the situation they found themselves in."
Tornaritis wrote several books including My Boat, Mediterranean Sea Shells, My Cats and
Shells and Art: The Ornaments of Aphrodite.
He co-founded the marine life museum "Thalassa" in Ayia Napa and is a collector of shells and fossils from around the island
He is the son of the island’s first Attorney General, Kriton Tornaritis.
Maria Tourou was born in Famagusta and studied Art in London, Italy and the U.S.A. She taught Art at high schools in Cyprus,
Colombia, South America, Art Centres in Washington DC (where she was art director and assistant director) and the Smithsonian
Her Apocalypse show opens tonight at 8pm.
She has lived and exhibited her work extensively in various countries in Europe, Mexico, Central and South America. She
lived in Columbia for five years and 16 years in the US.
She now lives in the village of Pano. Lefkara.
Her work belongs to several collections around the world including Nobel Prizewinner for Medicine for his work on D.N.A.,
Sir Francis Crick, Oppenheimer, Bernstein, Kirkland and others.
Renowned for her colour, Maria has in the past used pastels to great advantage with her fluid figures floating on the canvas,
her paintings being exceptional as well.
Because of her travels to Mexico and Central and South America it is easy to assume that her colour sense derives from
that part of the world; however Maria has always had this open, highly contemporary approach to colour which is deceptive
as well, for her pinks and oranges can give menace as well as joy.
Her paintings are superbly free of academic and classical gesture. It’s just that her travels have given her that
Aesthetic sensibility and imagination float into the realms where the unconscious when brought out into light, produce
Maria Tourou is a brilliant colourist whose often startling imagery fuses with the pigment as if form and colour, imagination
and technique were all one.
Maria comments: "It so happens that there is a revival this spring of the Colour Field Painters with shows all over D.C.,
at museums and galleries.” Some of them are Kenneth Noland – Morris Louis – Thomas Downing – Mark
Rothko – Leon Berkowitz and Gene Davis. The last two taught at the Corcoran School of Art where Maria had attended.
Maria’s exhibition continues until June 7.
Alexander Bacht Safarov
This work is full of energy and wonderful realism with aspects of humour. He has titled his show "Cyprus Traditional Games."
I have just seen them in his studio. Excellent.
Alexander- Bacht Safarov although born in Moscow, followed his destiny that brought him to the island of the Goddess Aphrodite,
his artist’s soul responding to the call of love and duty.
His father was also an artist and the young Alexander was inspired by his father’s work, this magical world of shape
and colour that brought everything to life.
From the age of 4 he would be in his father’s studio, using the paints and enjoying the creative environment.
His father would take him to the theatre where he created the scenery and costumes for the ballets and operas. At 5 years
old he participated in a children’s exhibition and received his first award.
At the age of 7 he began his formal training at art school daily tuition to the age of 15. He then went to the Art College
of Tajikstan for four years where he was taught painting, sculpture, drawing, architectural drawing and history of art, getting
his BA in Fine Art.
In 1985 he went to Moscow’s Surikov Fine Art Academy graduating six years later with a Master in Fine Art. He then
did a two-year specialisation course to qualify as a lecturer in Fine Art.
It was at the academy that he met his Cypriot wife and in 1994 they came to settle in Cyprus. They have three children.
Alexander considers Cyprus his second home and speaks Greek fluently; in fact his exhibition has a Cypriot theme.
He was inspired for his "traditional Cypriot Games" by observing the people celebrating on national holidays.
Watch the adults playing like children, seeing them being liberated through these games and he wanted to capture this dynamic,
this passion and energy of life in his painting and through that to share it with others.
It also touched him personally, reminding him of games he played as a boy in his own country and bringing home the fact
that, indeed, the world is round and wherever you go things and people are much the same.
How wonderful it would be if people were not so serious, lightened up, smiled more. Played more.
He sincerely hopes that through his work people will remember the old games, perhaps be touched with nostalgia and be more
like children once again, to play together, laugh together and live together.
This will be his fourth solo show in Cyprus. His work has been extensively shown abroad: U.S.A., Japan, Moscow and Europe
and works of his can be found in museum collections e.g. Dushanbe Art Museum, Tajikistan and in private collections around
Alexander’s exhibition opens tonight at 7.50pm and continues until June 23.
Into The Light
Eleni Volou at Gloria Gallery
Eleni was born in Nicosia in 1972 and lives and works in Limassol.
She studied painting at School of Fine Arts of Aristotelion Univesity of Thessaloniki under Professor Vangelis Dimitreas
(1990-1992) and at Athens School of Fine Arts under professor Chronis Botsoglou from where she graduated in 1995.
In 1996 she participated in the European student exchange programme "Erasmus" on a four-month course at the School of fine
Arts of Valencia in Spain (Facultad de Bellas Artes de Sant Carles).
It opens on May 28 at 8pm and continues until June 11.
Pantheon Gallery is still hosting those five amazing (so often unsung) artists - Chrysis Pantelides, Agatha Hadjouli, Adonis
Miyiaki, Pani Vasiliou and Pico de Mirandola in an exceptionally "UP TO THE MINUTE EXHIBITION" curated by Charalambos and
Vasso Sergiou who also have two brilliant works of their very own tucked away (broodingly) at the Power House’s "Where
Do We Go From Here", that super takeover of The Municipal Art Gallery by collector Nicos Chr. Pattichis of Phileleftheros
newspaper which has knocked the art establishment sideways.
Pantheon show until June 4.
Power House show (Where Do We Go From Here) until July 31t.
The LatestJolanta Kalopsidiotou is on at Kyklos Gallery, Paphos until May 31.
Achilleas Christou is at Opus 39 Gallery.
Garth Frost is at Gallery Kypriaki Gonia until May 30.
Check Coming Events please.
Where Do We Go From Here
The Pattichis Collection
at the Power House
Things will never be the same again.
The Power House Show of the Pattichis Collection gives us hope.
More on this later when I have digested it.