Hambis Print Museum
Glyn Hughes attended the opening of the first Print Museum set up by renowned Cypriot artist Hambis last weekend. The museum
exhibits more than 150 prints from the 17th century to the present from Cyprus and abroad and traces the history of printing
through the years. The museum, the result of many years of hard work by Hambis, was sponsored by the Hellenic Bank. The Cyprus
Tourism Organisation also contributed to its establishment.
We were asked to be at the main Hellenic Bank, Limassol Avenue on Saturday afternoon and were met by Jenny of the Bank,
who was wearing a fabulous dress which surely was hand printed.
The atrium of the lavish building that afternoon contained a grand piano as if plonked in the centre for secret sonatas
when the bank was empty and silent.
A bus turned up and a group of us were whisked off to Limassol where, later, on the road to Paphos we turned left and after
passing two villages found ourselves in the square at Plataniskia. Here, also, was an upright piano and taped music was playing
something that could have been by Stan Getz.
Crowds thronged the tiny makeshift open-air amphitheatre backed by boulders which strangely resembled Stonehenge on holiday.
A lady then started to accompany a little girl of about nine years old who with apparent ease went straight into a brilliant
performance of what could have been Vivaldi. The whole village stopped to listen.
Then pensively waiting for the next item on the programme the huge crowd both inside and outside the amphitheatre sensed
something was going to happen. It did.
A huge be-flagged car rolled up and the President Demetris Christofias and his wife walked towards the makeshift amphitheatre.
Excitement was so strong that it took quite a long time for the guests to assemble into the very small amphitheatre.
We would now hear speeches from Hambis Tsangaris, other dignitaries and the President himself.
There was much humour around. A mass cultural get together, with everyone appearing to know each other; from times past
and present. Ladies brought in framed prints for gifts.
Then doors were opened in the surrounding buildings which contained the museum. Inside were the highest possible standard
of works. Great.
New arts organisation
A new arts organisation, the Daitumn Foundation, is in the midst of its first design exhibition.
Entitled ‘Farewell Industrial Dogma,’ the exhibition is made up of a collection of handmade contemporary design
pieces created by young designers from different cultural backgrounds.
It is on at the Evagoras Lanitis Centre in Limassol until September 10.
According to the organsers: "The exhibition presents 20 innovative pieces and has two focus points: primarily it presents
the enticing impact that different cultural backgrounds have in the world of design and secondly, it introduces a new mode
in creating and viewing a design piece."
The collection is representative of the Daitumn philosophy "which supports the fusion of art and design. A design piece
no longer needs to be completely created by a machine that produces mundane products in bulk. A design piece can be functional,
unique and viewed as a piece of art."
The Daitumn creative team is made up of Alexis Themistocleous, Andreas Georgiou, Stephanie Lambrou, Anastazia Anastassiou,
Tereza Lanitis and Stavros Sinapalos.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Waiting for Ermioni
You will have to wait until October 15 to see the work of another of our very best painters.
Ermioni has commented that her new work was the product of restless search through four difficult years in her life having
lost both her parents.
In this work she explores the possibilities of red, by using it as the base of her paintings.
"I also continue to try to paint outside the canvas by extending parts of the painting, but instead of using plexi glass
like I did before, now I use wood which I carve, or paint on."
"The Tales of Hoffman”, Silks Gallery, Limassol, September 5 at 20:00 with an after-party at Brio Cafe. On until
September 30. What surprises Dora will have for us.
Excellent news too for top standard works is that "Where do we go from here" has returned to the Nicosia Municipal Art
This exhibition of the collection of Nicos Chr. Pattichis has been extended until September 28. Spend the whole day there.
Famed artist creates HOPE image decades after LOVE
The Maine artist who brought LOVE to the world is doing the same with HOPE.
Robert Indiana decades ago created the pop icon LOVE, known worldwide with its letters stacked two to a line, the letter
"o" tilted on its side. Now he has created a similar image with HOPE, with proceeds going to Democrat Barack Obama's presidential
A stainless steel sculpture of the image was unveiled this week outside the Pepsi Centre at the Democratic National Convention
in Denver. The campaign is selling T-shirts, pins, bumper stickers and other items adorned with HOPE.
Indiana would like to see his latest work become a symbol of newfound hope for Americans, and thinks an Obama presidency
could bring just that.
"There might be a chance we survive eight years of Bush, I don't know. That's where the hope comes in," he said in a telephone
interview from his home on Vinalhaven, an island off the Maine coast.
An Obama campaign spokeswoman said Indiana's creation fits in well with Obama's vision.
"Barack Obama's message of hope has inspired Americans all across the country, and we couldn't imagine a more fitting place
for Robert Indiana to unveil his HOPE sculpture than at the convergence of this movement for change in Denver," said spokeswoman
The McCain campaign had no comment on the Obama campaign's use of the image.
Indiana, 79, is a pop artist whose work often features simple, iconic images using short words and numbers. His best-known
work is LOVE, which he designed for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964.
Few pop images are more widely known than LOVE, which has appeared worldwide in sculptures, prints and paintings. The US
Postal Service featured it on a stamp in 1973, selling 333 million of them, Indiana said.
Indiana said he has been fooling around with the word "hope" for a number of years. But it was not until Obama came along
- with his message of hope and his book "The Audacity of Hope" - that Indiana turned it into a work of art.
"It's really a brother to LOVE, or a sister or a very close family member," he said.
Singapore eases censorship of arts
A comedy pokes fun at the military. A drama depicts a local stripper from the 1950s. A satire portrays an ethnic Malay
Muslim general who becomes a dictator.
The biennial Singapore Theatre Festival showcased how artists here are taking advantage of relaxed government censorship
to explore once-taboo subjects - even, to some degree, the highly charged issues of race, religion and politics.
"There's a huge difference in what's allowed now compared to five years ago," said Gaurav Kripalani, who has helped stage
"Rent," "Death of a Salesman" and "Avenue Q" as artistic director of the Singapore Repertory Theare.
There are limits. The government banned a 2006 play for "portraying Muslims in a negative light," along with documentaries
about opposition political figures and even a couple Janet Jackson CDs for racy lyrics. Still, the notoriously straight-laced
Southeast Asian city-state is finally letting its hair down, a few strands at a time.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced that the government would lift a ban on films with political themes,
while maintaining one on political commercials and what he called "partisan stuff."
The ban was lifted in part because of widespread Internet use, which has undermined government censorship efforts.
"I don't think an outright ban is still sensible because this is how people communicate on the Web in daily life," Lee
"So we've got to allow political videos, with some safeguards."
Another reason for loosening up is economic: Faced with a shortage of skilled workers and an aging population, the government
is trying to attract qualified foreigners to live here. It also wants to keep locals, who are becoming more sophisticated,
from migrating abroad.
So Singapore, which still suffers from a reputation as a quirky place that canes vandals and bans chewing gum, is trying
to become more hip. Making the city of 4.6 million people an "arts and theater hub" is part of that drive.
Singapore also will host the first nighttime Formula One race next month and unveil a casino resort next year. The government
has poured money into theater, music and dance during the last decade. The number of theatre goers has almost doubled since
2000, while registered theater companies grew to 73 last year from 18 in 1997, according to the government's National Arts
Artists applaud the government for establishing the Media Development Authority in 2003, which put in place a ratings system
that can prohibit Singaporeans below the age of 16, 18 or 21 from attending certain performances.
"Now there's a buffer between the police and the artists," said Alvin Tan, who has directed plays about capital punishment,
paedophilia and marijuana use. "Before the MDA came about, it was more high-handed. We would just get a letter that would
say, 'Take this line out, take this paragraph out.' Now we can negotiate."
The authority requires playwrights to submit scripts for approval and bans plays that threaten the "stability and harmony"
of the city, where Malays and ethnic Chinese clashed in riots in the 1960s.
"Race and religion remain powerful and emotional subjects, especially in our multiracial society," said Amy Chua, the Media
Development Authority's director of media content. "Such issues should continue to be dealt with and presented sensitively."
To avoid the censor's wrath, playwrights often use satire or metaphor to discuss sensitive topics such as the PAP, short
for the People's Action Party, which has ruled since independence in 1965.
One play at this year's festival, which wrapped up a week ago, depicted Stamford Raffles, who founded Singapore as a British
trading port in 1819, as a debt-ridden and often irresponsible dreamer, a far cry from the noble, visionary hero in history
"I wanted to expose the founding myth as a myth," said Ng Yi-Sheng, who wrote the play. "It's a way of attacking some of
the myths of today. The PAP very much rules as a neocolonial government, placing order and morality aboveporeans doubt the
greater freedom given theater will spill over into other media, such as television, radio and print.
"Theatre only challenges the mindsets of a limited, middle-class audience," said Stefanie Chan, a 20-year-old university
student. "Censorship is stricter in mass media."
The government did lift a ban on the "Sex and the City" TV programme in 2004. Cosmopolitan and the men's magazine FHM are
OK; Playboy and Penthouse are not.
"The government still doesn't believe the people are mature enough to give completely uncensored views," Ng said.
"But I think Singapore has reached a stage that it does not need limitations."
Discussions about censorship often come back to the relative "maturity" of Singapore, with the society sometimes talked
about as if it's a teenager about to leave home. "Over the past years, performance guidelines have changed in tandem with
community needs and expectations," Chua of the Media Development Authority said.
"As our society matures, we can accommodate more debates and exploration of issues." Since independence, Singapore, a tiny
island with almost no natural resources, has grown into a developed nation.
Gross domestic product per capita rose to $35,163 last year from $512 in 1965.
The general population thinks two things, said Chua Beng Huat, a sociology professor at National University of Singapore:
The government has done a good job economically, but there needs to be more public discussion about everything.
"You cannot have a society that has been economically progressing for 50 years and not expect it to become much more complex,
educated and demanding," Chua said.
The long ruling People's Action Party, with an eye toward the next election, recognises this shift.
"They know what public opinion is, and they know what the cost would be if they continue to be stubborn," Chua said."They're
in the business of staying in power."