As a volunteer on the island of Lesvos in Greece, Melissa Hekkers was re-establishing her ideologies of volunteer work with the refugees fleeing from Syria. “I’m not a volunteer, I’m Human” comes from compassion, empathy and the pure essence of reciprocity.
‘My Nicosia Mandala; not just a colouring book!’
It’s been almost five months since Bashar Massri was reunited with his wife and four children. Bashar fled his war-torn home in Syria two years ago, opting to take the risky journey through Turkey and into the Mediterranean in the hope of landing safely in Italy.
Leaving for Brussels just three days after the terrorist attack of March 22 was slightly too soon for my personal judgement, yet perhaps not soon enough for my conscience.
Six bare walls in the centre of Nicosia have undergone a complete transformation over the past two weeks, as part of an initiative instigated by the Research, Studies and Publications Services (RSPS) of the Cyprus House of Representatives.
Gilad Atzmon should be no stranger to the island’s music scene. He’s been coming to share his musical whims with us for some years now, although not many will be familiar with his entire multi-faceted persona.
I walked out from the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre (NiMAC) with Yiannis Toumazis’ words ringing in my ears.
We’re ridiculously stuck in between the refugee crisis and Turkey’s accession chapters to enter the European Union.
So instead of getting its hands dirty, the EU has decided to deal with the refugee crisis by sending out a message. A message to Syrians running away from their war-torn country.
Somewhere amongst the overwhelming amount of refugees who have entered Europe, are a number of them who are accompanied by an ‘imaginary friend’, created during a workshop with local fine artist, Meletios Meletiou, on the Greek island of Lesvos at the beginning of the year, when Meletiou first visited the location.
The talents of Cypriot director and writer Myrsini Aristidou were celebrated last week, when she was awarded the Special Prize of the Generation Kplus for the best short film at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival.
The words of a Syrian refugee in the Greek press had me rummaging for words to respond. Promptly. Before it’s too late.
At some point in my childhood, my uncle ironically put forward that Cyprus, our little Mediterranean island was to potentially sink under the burdening weight of concrete.
One of the characteristics of living in the capital is its proximity to the Green Line.
In conversation with one of the island’s most promising young poets, Marilena Zackheos reveals the inspiration behind her poetry book to be launched in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Naim stood proud on the banks of the Mytilini Marina.
The launch of a bilingual dictionary of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot dialect a couple of weeks back argued the common denominators of both communities and prosperously indicated the wish of many of us, for a united island.
For years, Nicos Philipou has been preoccupied with the Cypriot landscape. Along with social and private spaces as he would depict.
Much like thousands of volunteers before her, 30-year-old Limassolian Elena Moustaka set off for Lesvos at the beginning of November; a decision instigated by her bewilderment with media coverage of the influx of refugees on the island.
The Moria Refugee camp off the shores of Lesvos is an unfamiliar place, although to many of us, it may have become more familiar since the increased influx of refugees began to make their way to the shores of Greece at the beginning of the summer.
“Is Germany full?” an Afghan refugee asked me as he waited for registration on the hills of the Moria Refugee camp in Lesvos.
The Cyprus premier of Gabriele Del Grande’s documentary, ‘On the Bride’s side’ tomorrow evening, highlights the island’s proximity to the ever-increasing refugee problem, and in the director’s words calls on all of us to “show solidarity with people coming from the other shore of the sea overturned by war”.
Working towards promoting development while improving the climate of reconciliation in the wider Famagusta region, the Renewal Project has singled out the culinary aspect of the region in recognition of the prominent role food takes in shaping our social interactions.
Every time I look back at my days spent in Lesvos a deep sorrow warps me and I can’t seem to let it go. Like a bear in a cage I roam around the corners of my life and I can’t seem to find the direction to rationalise my frustration towards the sour turn the refugee situation has taken.
Moored at the Latchi Marina in the Paphos region, the Blue Phoenix yacht is geared up to provide a unique, tailor-made family experience to passengers attracted to explore the Mediterranean and its engulfing shores and cultures.
Belua took to the stage for the first time a year ago, a momentum which eventually led to the release of their first single at the beginning of the month. The song, ‘Change’ is just one of the tunes that audiences will have the opportunity to hear live at the Fengaros Festival’s village stage on Friday evening.
The research project ‘Songs of My Neighbours’ came to an end last month; the collaborative initiative aspired to facilitate dialogue and social justice among communities living in conflict zones through the arts and theatre.
Travel blog USA part 4
Travel blog in USA part 3
Travel blog in USA part 2
USA travel blog part 1
The events in Charleston, South Carolina, where a 21-year-old shot nine African Americans in one of the town’s most historic black churches have shaken my comfort as I travel towards the state of California, just below.
Rumour has it that our world’s industrialised countries have perhaps not been under so much pressure to take action on confronting the ever growing dilemma of refugees as they are today.
I’ll be honest: I don’t know what to write about. As a journalist, this seems as such a paradox – there’s so much to write about. I recall one of my lecturers in uni telling us that as a journalist you should be able to turn ANYTHING into a story.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the death of Cyprus Weekly columnist George Lanitis’, I find myself flipping through the newspaper’s archives to discover more about his life.
There comes a time when things fall right into place: not coincidently but because all the strings you’ve pulled have come together and tied into a knot, to create the foundations for your aspirations to materialise.
Two innovative products are currently being introduced into the local beekeeping market by Arkadiki Melissokomia. The Greek company has been importing products to support beekeepers on the island since 2012.
As we begin to notice the blossoming of almond trees on the island’s higher plains, wisterias are taking form on the sea fronts, and the traditional sight of flourishing olive groves seem to be taking their course too.
As I sat out in the fields of Kornos on April Fool’s Day, not to refer to its national symbolism, I was put on the spot when asked where my national or historical pride laid with regards to the EOKA struggle that began against the British military and civilian installations on the island, on the very same day in 1955.
Envisioning a group of cycling lovers roam through the 9,251km2 circumference of the island in the name of physically moving across barriers, I reached out to Andreas Michaelides who now lives some 3,000 kilometres away.
I was hoping to see the Turkish flag on the Pendadaktilos Mountains disappear under the snow just for a bit. But that didn’t happen.
Nicholas Netien moved to the buffer zone with his wife and three-year-old son in 2013, having been hired to revive four hectares of farmland through permaculture practices in an area that has been largely untouched since the 1974 war.
“If you could send a postcard to the ‘other side’, what would you write?”
It may be hard or perhaps impossible to envision the future factually, yet it may not be as difficult to project an outcome
A ‘coffee portrait’ of Hugh Laurie (known to most for his role as Dr House in American television medical drama ‘House’) went viral last week, just as Maria A. Aristidou was setting up for her first solo show in Limassol.
In essence, there is no valid barometer that can be used to define any limit to freedom of expression. Think about it: is there really such a thing as a moral imagination?
Pain is common. War and post war situations are common and this somehow unites people. I believe art is the best way to find what is common and human; a way in which you can find a humanistic approach without any political identities such as nationalism, or without any religious identities, without any identity that is capable of separating people.
And then there was this feeling of liberty; that yes, working across the divide is nowadays a reality anyone can choose to embrace.
Jean Plantureux’s invitation to present an exhibition of his work in the capital a week after the brutal attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s Satirical Magazine consequently defended freedom of expression of artists but also highlighted the ‘colossal educational battle’ that is now imperative in order to better understand image and withstand the ‘beginning of a war against fundamentalists’.
Can other people’s memories become our own?
The education of any further generation without art in their curriculum is somewhat reducing a whole educational, philosophical, practice, and encouraging an inward looking approach to a European world which is traditionallly differentiated, country by country, by its cultural and artistic differences.
I’ve gotten used to the Chinese signs in Paphos advertising real estate opportunities — but that’s business related. Why would the suburbs of Akaki welcome people in Russian? Was it another trick to entice foreign interest?
On Sundays, he would secretly leave the back door open, and for those of us who were aware of this, we would leisurely have fresh produce when everything else around us was closed. I’ve lost count of how many times he saved me from missing that one item to perfect my culinary whims.
Beyond their sense of warmth, I contemplated their freedom of being, that ‘opposition’ to hanging out in the centre of town on the cold marble of Phaneromeni Square.
Meeting Maria Stathi on the occasion of the opening of her new gallery next Friday, there’s no doubt that her path has deemed it the right time to launch a new approach to Nicosia’s art scene
The EU funded bi-communal “Nicosia Master Plan” has taken leaps revamping the commercial hub of the town once threatened by the first inter-communal riots in 1956. Yet the vision of the newly founded CVAR museum is perhaps the additional drive needed to lift the character of a street which began to see its shops, peoples and stories trapped in the buffer zone since 1963.
Sitting amongst the works of art of 15 long term inmates which adorned the walls of the theatre hall of the closed off section of the central prisons I, for a split second, forgot where I was.
Adapted from computer games, real-life takagism, more commonly known as real-room escaping games, is gaining popularity in major cities in Japan where the concept originated, yet it is also gaining momentum in Europe, where gamers move from the mouse-to-screen gaming zone, and utilise their addiction to realistic situations.
side all the sentiments we may have with regard to the tragic incident, I feel we owe Charlie Hebdo Magazine and the 12 people who died on Wednesday morning a thank you, to say the least. A thank you for stirring matters which must be addressed. Without violence. But with freedom of speach.
“Nothing here is here for a reason; it’s entirely up to you to make what you want of it – and if you have any questions we’ll just make up some convenient answers,” chuckled Julian, as he took me on a tour of the premises, where people were invited to spend their last day of 2014
We’ll always be the ones with double standards, the ones with a wider perspective, the ones who accommodate themselves to foreign bedrooms only to get a grasp of a nuclear family.
Capturing Aphrodite’s legacy on film
Almost a year ago, Katsari and Veronica Aloneftou came together on a journey that has led them to tell stories across the island, in museums, festivals, bookshops, schools, everywhere.
“If there are people who are winning prizes who are from Africa or the Caribbean or India, I think that it’s about time that Cypriot writers also win one of the major awards of the world arena because we have writers who are that good”
Children’s Book, 2014
Children’s book, 2007
Seashores are one of the clearest manifestations of what is generally considered to constitute “the commons” — a place where access is free and all has derive the same pleasure, irrespective of the size of their pay cheque. Unfortunately, in real life this is not always the case.
Even though gravity may not allow our little rock to sink any time soon, I cant seem to dismiss the image of Caretta-Caretta turtles trying to approach the sight of a coastline made of obstructive facades, reclaimed land and a man-made nature.
Just over a month past the deadline for artistic proposals, Pafos 2017 organisation is steadily working on as it moves to turn the vision of one of the nominated cities of the Melina Mercouri Award into reality.
Photographers turn to postcard art to highlight the secret beauties of Cyprus
Manifested as a food market, the idea behind Andreas Charalambous’ and Takis Pyrishis’ originally stemmed from their own experience as food lovers within the exemplary food markets of London.
Language Transfer, is a project which offers free downloadable language courses with a methodology that explores the pluralism in our languages and teaches practical speaking in no time
Fly-by-night, I tickle the child in me, to surrender, to burst, to play, engage, with innocence, with bounce, with allure, to dare, all the while…being prude.
“How does Cyprus support artists as they grow older?”
Humanity has gone insane. And I have lost the words of being honest.
Turning food into an ecological and social statement
To make it clearer, you’re standing in front of the opened shutters of one of the numerous carpentry shops on the alley. There’s lots of people surrounding you but like you, they’re all looking towards the shop.
Local fine artist Tatiana Ferahian installs her aquatic installation in Lille, France; a playful interaction with aspects of life, creativity, reflection, recycling, transformation and adaptation.
No musician will be competing, and everyone will be revealing a part of themselves.
It must be one of the only bays in Paphos which you can see from one end to the other without being obstructed by the never-ending hotels, apartments, restaurants.
Agreed. Surprises ring alarm bells, whether in the negative or positive. I assume that what you do about these surprises is indicative of how the course of your daily trot is defined.
You never imagined,
a flight so harsh.
Yet it isn’t, or is it?
your choice made it real,
there’s no need to heal.
“Do we have any culture in Cyprus?” I ask myself again. Perhaps it’s the ‘But’ that has, on both occasions, managed to head the question that rubs me the wrong way. “Any?” What do you mean “Any”?
Collaboration with astraki* in the Xenonas section of Politis Newspaper
Collaboration with astraki* in the Xenonas section of Politis Newspaper
Melissa Hekkers discovers the natural beauties of a very special part of France.
In search of adventure, Constantine James Savvides found his calling and a new direction in life following a chance meeting when writing a paper on Somali piracy in Africa.
As a child Thomas Sagory would fly kites in the skies of Brittany in the west of France, and as an adult, his remote controlled kite has flown mostly in the Middle East, a journey that has combined his profession as an archaeologist with the art of kite flying, as a kite aerial photographer.
Cypriot War photographer, Achilleas Zavallis, talks about his experiences on the Syrian front.
Christina Loucas keeps traditions of Cypriot cuisine alive
Monsieur Doumani’s debut album of traditional folk inspired music will be released next week and distributed world-wide.
Dimitris Kakavoulis Quartet’s new album pulls together some of the island’s top jazz talent
Lefteris Moumtzis’ soulful music take you places
A short film by Stella Georgiou documents conversations between two artists
Young Cypriot authors explore literary inspiration post 1974
Return of masterpiece sends message of hope to crisis-hit island
Seven artists unite to celebrate December 21; a date widely communicated through mythology and in literature of fantasy and science ﬁction as the ‘the end of the world’
Annual local festival based on prototypes of European Community Festivals continues to thrive
Cypriot artist Anna Fotiadou joined eight other artists in Germany for an interactive workshop to create an exhibition that will take place in Marl, Germany.
Belgian town in process of being knocked down for 15 years becomes a living street art gallery
Perhaps the dullest inhabitant of the Industrial Unit was Mr. Concrete, whose job was to support and surround it. Burdened by millions of footsteps and his own heavy weight, Mr. Concrete, or ‘Tsimento’ as he was known to his friends, had become quite dreary.
Children’s book targeted to Children age 7 to 10 available in both English and Greek.
Free-Verse Poetry Book, 2012
But what happens when you come across a photo of your sexy friend in uniform holding a gun in his hand; Smiling?
If a pâtissier was to refer to one of his culinary delights as a chocolate decadence for instance, there’s a guilty pleasure to be embraced there, and that’s the point.
Local press interviews and profiles of Melissa Hekkers
While our country, and the world, is going through a period of crisis, our festival, against all odds, is growing and expanding as an institution consistently supporting the art of animation.”
Yet this delusion exposed me to another game; a male’s passport to infringe the female gaze. For as tempered as I had been, naivety seldom left my veins.
The sound of a sliding door awakens me. The sound of a toothbrush frantically rubbing someone’s teeth propels the urge in me to move from where I am. Disguise the sounds and re-create them all together.