Message from Katerina
I was born and raised in a divided city. I have spent years trying to imagine, to understand my surroundings. I kept on; I keep on contemplating the beauty and the decadence of the city. At times I would close my eyes and allow my thoughts to stroll around the Venetian walls, redefining the cycle which has been interrupted by the separation line.
In 2003 with the unexpected opening of one of the barricades I started a strolling project. Driven by a deeper need of understanding the space where I come from, I would stroll and make drawings using inks, aquarelles and pencils. At the same time I took photographs. Using the techniques of collage and photomontage I combined all of the material gathered, in a work entitled “A Stroll in The City, Nicosia, As Much As History Allows.” It was presented as an installation in the exhibition “Noise Crossings” which took place in the old city of Nicosia.
In 2005, after being invited to produce a work for the “Leaps Of Faith” project, I decided to go about meeting the people living inside the walls. This time I set off with a portable tape recorder. I would ask the people I encountered to talk to me about their relationship to the city, the way they perceive the changes, about their feelings towards the opening of the barricade. The stories I heard were similar on both sides of the divide. Descriptions of a time when the heart of the city was the centre of the life of Nicosia, when the deserted workshops were full of life, sound and movement. Hope and fear towards the reunification, sadness and disappointment for a situation that seems beyond the human reach.
During my strolls I would also take photos. At night, back in my studio transcribing the interviews, I would also look at the photos taken during the day. Using techniques such as monotype and printing in layers I was trying to give an image to the sensation I had been left with by my stroll and the encounters of the day. I was trying to render the memory, the dust, and the beauty. This is how the series of images that are exhibited here were created.
It is perhaps worth to say that at the “Leaps Of Faith” project I ended up showing the portraits of the immigrants of the two sides of the city. The title of the installation was “Happy is The One Who can call himself Alive”. It was an alteration of the statement written at the Ayios Dometios checkpoint “Happy is the one who can call himself a Turk”. The portraits were shown on the wall of a shop in the old city. In the middle of the space a heart made of pink plastic garbage bags. The heart was being inflated and deflated by a low tech mechanism, it was pulsing.
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