Contemporary Art Today and Yesterday, 10th February


Never Able to Take All In

Saint Neophytos Monastery, Paphos Cyprus by Vasilis Zenetzis

The world of art seems to be concentrating on today’s art but without the yesterday and the day before everything would have been incomprehensible and meaningless.

Every now and then we all have to go back to the source, the roots of our being here on this planet, on this earth and to a country and home we belong to for sure. That I did with NO regret last week and the result was indeed amazing, fantastic and beyond my wildest expectations. Mind you, the great winter weather of Cyprus must have played a role but I reason further and I say, it mattered not that much even though it helped.

I grew up in a small Greek village in Cyprus that does not belong to its old Greek inhabitants any more but Turkish Cypriots and Anatolians brought in willingly or unwillingly by Turkey. The results is that my home is demolished, my birthplace is gone, the village is No more what it was and our Church stands without a Bell, a priest and icons, which were stolen on the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974. Laments and cries of despair change nothing but actions of hope and Human desire replace the myriad rivers of tears shed during those days. Even the animals cried according to my uncle, who is now 93 years old.

Crying, both of us, he said: “I closed the gate and I will not forget the eyes of the cows, their cries of despair and sadness as I left them behind hoping the hopeless.; to return.”

Thus my return home began with what I believe in and look up to for assistance all the time. The Holy, the Religious, The Monasteries of Cyprus and my childhood, my adulthood and my old age. It might sound and read funny for me to start this important entry the way I have done but..

The Monasteries offer me the architecture of 1000 years ago. The icons, these Holy pieces of devotion teach me the art of painting from the heart, the art of inspiring and motivating one to higher achievements. This is the art I look up to and pray to help me in my daily endeavours. Icons of hundreds of years do touch my heart and mind and bring me to the art of today, which I am to discuss further down and in another entry tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

Inspiration is what distinguishes the art of many artists and the best Icons of Christianity in the East were painted by near saints in isolation on mountains and in remote Monasteries, where they stayed ever since, provided they escaped the menace of invasions, other religions or fanatics. Yes, the old icons were the beginning of my art education but I was so young and so ignorant to know that. Finally, I cracked it all and now I know where it all has started. The small village, the unimpressive but loving Church of my village full with icons in front of which I prayed at for years. Art penetrated my being then in the Church through its icons and then at all the Monasteries that my father took me to like Kykkos and Saint Andreas, Saint Neophytos and Maheras. My art education was extensive but only now I have found out why I am such a crazy art lover!!

Be back to discuss Contemporary art tomorrow!!

My new entry will come at about 9.00pm tonight and after Christies Contemporary Evening Sale. Please be warned that my views on Contemporary Art are solely mine and reflect my poor opinion and nobody else’s.

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