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Term start: Monday 19th September

Shop 1 Renou Street Paphos  8046

 

 

 


Press Coverage

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We have generated a lot of press coverage over the years, here is a small selection: 

 

Take five artists
By Jill Campbell Mackay

 

FRANCIS Bacon used to say that “no artist in their lifetime can possibly know whether or not they are any good”. “Only time,” he said, “can eliminate the twin perils that beset every creative person – the first is Theory, by which most people enter a painting, and the second is fashion – what an audience feels it should or should not be stirred by.”

This period of artistic evolution as far as the consumer is concerned takes between 70 and 100 years, by which time the artist is usually dead and buried.

The theory goes that most artists just have to live and accept the fact they will be unloved, unappreciated and almost invisible, living within the curious void of not knowing if there will ever be any public acceptance of their work.

If on top of that you’re a woman you have to cope with the additional burden, that until recently it was considered altogether unbecoming for a woman to become an artist. That negative theory kept going for most of the 19th and a large part of the 20th century. Today, visitors to major galleries can of course view some compelling work by women, but the numbers even now are miniscule compared to the volume of dominant male canvases. The Tate Gallery in London, for example, owns work by 316 women and over 2,600 by men.

Things of course have moved on apace, or have they? When I spoke to Nic Costa, owner of the Tekni arts gallery in Paphos, there was one eerie remembrance of the bad old days. Nic explained what happened only two years ago, when he organised a life class and the nude model was a male. “I had men phoning up telling me that this was totally unacceptable, that their wives, sisters, cousins, should not have been exposed to this sort of thing.
“To me this outdated mode of thinking made me realise that we haven’t yet reached that point here where liberal thinking and action are something to be encouraged.”

Despite this reaction, Nic who was trained in fine art at the Royal College in London, has continued his art, sculpture and photography workshops and as a fan of the nude himself, he has encouraged his students always to learn the basic, which has to be life drawing. Five women who have benefited from the creative time they have spent at Tekni will jointly launch themselves onto the commercial world this week, with an all-women exhibition. This, one hopes, will help alter the long held perception that women are somehow inferior to men when it comes to painting.
The women range in age from 18-45 and each has a unique approach to their work.

Stephanie Karghoti is the youngest in the group, and she has created some impressive high impact graphic collages.

Fiona Fraser offers us a lovely gentle Rackhamesque set of imagery with delicate paintings illustrating her children as characters from the world of fantasy.

Mary-Lynne Stadler delivers a brilliant colour and composition power punch with her large and highly evocative canvases; one senses in her work that she has only just scratched the surface of her brimming talent bank.

Ulla Drysdale shows on her canvases an innate sense of dazzling colour and balance. Her ‘Target’ pictures all work through the themes of fertility and the fact that the circle is indeed the symbol of infinity.

Kelly Norman obviously adores organic shapes and natural textures and here she takes her series of landscapes onto another highly creative level, one that focuses on the beauty that the inherent natural world always offers us.

One can hope that this all-female show will go some way to refuting the long-held prejudices and commercial imbalance that has existed for women artists. We need to reward these women by getting to know and appreciate their own individual style. After all, they do deserve a place both in our galleries and as living art on our living room wall. They are, after all, half of the art history of the future

Tekni Arts Gallery: Tel 26-933 356, 99-958078
Email: info@tekniart.net. The exhibition opens on June 4 at 7.30pm and will run until Saturday, June 11h. Opening hours will be from 10am-6pm daily.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2007

 

 

Lifestyle by Jill Campbell Mackay

 

Published April 30th 2006

Naked ambition

Drawing the body is one of the hardest of all art forms. But what’s it like attending a class with a nude model in front of you? Jean Cocteau was known for coating his in rancid butter. Picasso gave an extra eye where her naval was situated, Degas made them sit in a cold bath for three hours and Salvador Dali nearly killed his when a pet Python tried to strangle his model as it lay draped around her naked shoulders.

So, for the role of a nude model other than to be compliant and sweetly mute, a person needs also to have enormous reserves of stamina along with a jolly good sense of the ridiculous. It also helps if they are blessed with a level of total inner confidence that comes from forever being looked at, but not looked into. And, from personal experience, she/he must also posses a well honed sense of humour. That’s in case the model should suddenly catch sight of your witless reproduction and clout you around the head with her rucksack, which, in my case would have been quite justified, as I had successfully transformed her into what looked like a drug induced reproduction of the anorexic cartoon character Olive Oil.

Tekni Art in Paphos offers properly-run life classes, where Nic Costa has, single handedly, created a quite marvellous haven for artists - be they rank amateurs or practising professionals all are welcome to come along and participate in what is a highly-respected, centuries-old artistic tradition, something Nic believes is a vital discipline for any aspiring artist.

“I feel strongly that figure drawing is the cornerstone of all art training, if you can draw competently from life models, then you can go on with confidence to abstract and develop your own personal style, but, the basics have to be learnt first. The human body offers every possible challenge an artist requires, line, tone, perspective and composition,” he said.

Nic also believes it’s one of the most therapeutic ways of spending an evening. “We all seem to be losing the confidence to actually see things. I firmly believe that everyone possesses an innate artistic ability but, over the years, we lose the confidence to express it, either fearing ridicule or lacking the patience necessary to keep trying to draw, when in fact it’s only through drawing that one is really allowed to see one’s own thoughts.”

How, I ask, do people first react when they walk into a class to find a rather beautiful young woman lounging before them clad solely in her birthday suit?

“Its only a question of a few minutes of awkwardness at seeing nudity before the focus becomes centred on the problem of actually drawing the body, then, it’s no longer a naked body, but a collection of lines and values, which soon takes over and the awkwardness disappears. You have to also remember drawing from life is quite extraordinarily difficult at the beginning, with the first big obstacle to surmount is the sheer blankness of the paper in front of you and, the keen, almost tangible sense that you could create anything, brilliantly or woefully, but you can create, it’s there in front of you waiting. That’s sometimes hard for students to understand, the sheer potential that’s in them. Sometimes they are blinkered by trying too hard to create what they think they should be creating, and that’s about the only time I will talk them into trying a different way of looking at the model.

“In this respect, I see myself primarily as an enabler, getting them to think ‘out of the box’ so to speak, which ends up as a great joy and hopefully an understanding that it’s not all about manual training, it’s also about playing tricks with the mind.”


Pien Perree has been a life model from the age of 12 when she first sat for her mother who was a professional painter. She is now a master of her craft, which is a lot more difficult than it looks.
When as a student at university in Holland she needed extra money for her studies she would sit for artists. Did she find the posing difficult in any way? “No not really, I am well used to it, and there’s always the satisfaction of knowing that you are indeed contributing to the artists and I do enjoy it, although there are times when I am a bit bored but not often as I can go into my own thoughts without losing the pose”.

Liz Ingham has been going to the class for two years and said: “Drawing the female nude is both frustrating and satisfying, the latter only if you get it right, the rest of the time I tear my hair out with frustration that I just haven’t managed to get the pose right but I love coming here and enjoy tremendously the opportunity to work from a life model.”

Dennis Burroughs a retired architect enjoys the different type of discipline needed to create the female form on paper as opposed to an architect’s structural drawings of buildings etc, which can have little or no sense of freedom about them on paper. “I like very much the fact the class is very friendly and there are no prima donnas and no sense of ‘who’s better than me’ sort of thing, here, its not a competition, its an evening of trying in your own way to create your own thing and that’s why I enjoy it so much.”

Olga Khrebtova is only 16 years old yet she already shows a distinct talent for life drawing, something she says she loves doing. “I want to go to art school so I try and work as hard as I can to improve; I also feel this is good for my spirit.”

Marina Charalambous, 17, is another success story that reflects the nurturing talents of Tekni, for she has recently been awarded a coveted place at Surrey Art School. “I have been coming here for some time enjoying the process of learning and developing my talent, but life classes do present the ultimate challenge to an artist and that’s why its so satisfying to keep testing and moving beyond your boundaries when you are in class.”

I left clutching my rolled up copy of our lovely model whom I had talentlessly transmogrified into a ghastly parody of a cartoon character. Pien didn’t seem to mind in the slightest but, after she had put on her clothes on and picked up her rucksack I did however instinctively duck.

Nic Costa, Tekni Art Tel 26 933356 or 99 958078. Email info@tekniart.net, www.tekniart.net

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2007

By Zoe ChristodoulidesPublished on May 26, 2007

 

 

I’D HEARD that they fight discrimination with facts, humour and hilarious visuals. I’d even been told that they compare themselves to anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman. I really couldn’t wait to see what the Guerrilla Girls would be getting up to at Intercollege, where they appeared on Thursday evening.

Thanks to Arteri magazine (produced by AccessArts) and Tekniart, this was a unique chance for us here in Cyprus to get taste of what feminist activism is all about. After all, our island is one that has been placed on Amnesty International’s watch list due to the inadequate measures taken when it comes to dealing with domestic violence. 
We desperately need more feminist groups to start taking action, and we also need the authorities to start implementing measures that speak up for women and place them on an equal standing with men.

The point is, sometimes you can only catch the attention of those around you by doing something rather outrageous – and this is where the Guerrilla Girls deserve a gold medal. In the mid 1980s, they were so fed up of the low numbers of women in the art world that they took to the streets of New York in the middle of the night with gorilla masks. By the morning, the city was covered with eye-catching posters that aimed to shock and provoke, with statements that revealed the tremendous inequalities in the art world.

Over time, the group has appeared at over 90 universities and museums globally, with work published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Bitch, Mother Jones and Art Forum. The girls are now part of Amnesty International’s ‘Stop Violence against Women’ Campaign in the UK, and are also brainstorming with Greenpeace.
Here in Cyprus, it was two of the founding Guerrilla Girls that jetted in to give the crowds a treat. Upon entering the auditorium in true Guerrilla style, they offered the audience bananas as they teased and cajoled, claiming that they were “magic bananas” that would turn everyone into feminists.

Taking to the stage, they made sure they let the audience know that they “stand for the conscience of the art world”, and after a short introduction they began to get down to the ‘real and raw’ issues that they deal with.

Explaining the way in which they’ve reinvented the ‘f-word’ (feminism) for the 21st century, they told the audience: “We believe feminism is a way of looking at the world and are infuriated by the way it has been demonised by the media for so long.” 
Starting off their campaign years ago with critiques against the art world, the Guerrillas have made statements that simply couldn’t be ignored: “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?”, one poster read that displayed a naked woman who looked liked she belonged in a gold framed oil painting. “Less than 3% of the artists in the Modern Art section are women,” the caption goes on to state, “while 84% of the nudes are female”.

Going on to talk about the dismally low number of women in the film industry, the girls told the crowds amusing tales, joking and laughing about some comments they have received through letters from men angered by their criticisms. Always ready to take part in a bit of Guerrilla warfare, the ladies decided to take to the Oscars a few years ago with a enormous poster that would literally stop everyone in their tracks. 
Displaying the ‘anatomically correct Oscar’, the poster read: “He’s white and male, just like the guys who win.” Beneath this bold statement, further captions read: “best director has never been awarded to a woman”, “only 3% of the acting awards are given to people of colour,” and “94% of writing awards have gone to men.”
Taking on the names of dead women artists the girls have chosen to conceal their identities for a number of reasons.

For starters, it’s a lot easier for the women to be able to function as working artists without the label of ‘feminist liberator’ hanging over their work – which is the very sort of tokenism they’re fighting against. They also want to make sure that the focus isn’t specifically on them as individuals, but instead, on the issues that they deal with. 
But more than that, they realised that it was only by using humour and shock tactics, that they could get their messages across.

To be honest, I wish the Guerrillas dug into this issue a little deeper. Why is it that people only paid attention to them back in the 80s because they wore hilarious masks? What does this say about the art world as a whole? And what does this mean for other ordinary women who want to make a difference (sans mask and hilarities)?

As they opened up the discussion to include questions from the audience, one man asked, “have you seen any positive changes in the past twenty odd years that you have been fighting discrimination?”

The answer was an interesting one. “Yes we have, in the sense that it is now impossible to put on a feasible exhibition without including works by women artists and artists of colour. But there is still unfortunately a stunning glass ceiling. Things are especially unrepresentative in auctions where women’s prices are far lower than those of men. A lot of us would like to blow up the entire system and build it up from scratch,” they joked.

When they asked how many women in the audience actually considered themselves feminists the reaction was telling. Only a few put up their hands. They then asked which women didn’t consider themselves feminists. No one put up their hands. “Well there’s a hell of a lot of ‘I don’t knows’,” remarked ‘Freda Kahlo’. “This is something for you all to think about seriously – where exactly do you stand when it comes to feminism and what would you like to see done?”

At this point, I felt the ‘feisty’ Guerrilla’s were a little flippant. If so many people are hesitant or indifferent to calling themselves ‘feminists’, then maybe they don’t really feel the need to identify themselves with the movement.

Just as an example, here in Cyprus, there are just as many female artists who exhibit their work as men. Maybe the point is that looking at the inequalities in the art world should be seen as just a starting point, leading on to other more urgent issues like domestic violence, rape and inequalities in diverse areas of social and political life. 
This of course brings on so many questions that it would be impossible to go through them all, but here’s a little food for thought: In today’s society what exactly does feminism stand for? What does it mean to you? Is it at all feasible for a man to call himself a feminist? What areas (apart from arts and culture) are in desperate need for change?
The Guerrillas are now on their way to Athens where they’ll be taking part in a show at the American Hellenic Union. And what exactly will they be doing there? Let’s just say that every art collector will be informed that the exhibition doesn’t contain nearly enough art by women as they walk into the gallery which has been ‘decorated’ with massive eye catching posters.

Again, I don’t wish to look down on the work of the Guerrilla Girls but I do feel that they may need to move on with the times. Their chat resonated well with the teenaged members of the audience – and this may well be their perfect international target audience – but many of the older members were left wanting a little bit more.
They started off putting up posters about inequalities in art world in the 1980s, and are still doing the same thing in 2007. It’s eye catching, it’s bold and it’s funny. But it’s not penetrating the surface as much as it could.

Making a shocking statement from the outside and trying to change the inner workings of the system is not as successful as examining the system from within and trying to set in motion grass roots change. If no female has been given an Oscar for best director, it’s all very well to make a fuss about it and let the world know it’s wrong. But maybe we need to look into how many females are actually directing films in the first place and what can be done to increase their contributions to the industry.

Maybe we need to look into qualitative and quantitative research, maybe we need to look into aesthetics, maybe we need to look audience reception of male and female work and see if perhaps the work of a male filmmaker is better received and a hole and why this is so. The Guerrilla’s have helped raise basic awareness of certain issues, but the path towards facilitating real change is a long one.

“We encourage all women to make their own activist group,” the Guerrillas said as they were about to end their talk at Intercollege. “Use humour, be outrageous, make your own issues known that affect you in your area. Change doesn’t just happen – you have to go out there and make it happen!” If you want to find out more about the girls, log onto their website at www.guerrillagirls.com.

Lifestyle by Zoe Christodoulides

Published on September 23, 2007

Artists open their studios

Seeing the place where an artist works gives far more insight into their finished product than merely observing it in a gallery. This year, 88 artists from Paphos and Limassol open their places of work to the public throughout October

Ever walked into a gallery and felt like you could cut through the atmosphere with a knife? An artist may pour his heart and soul into one of his works, but as it hangs in the exhibition hall, all that’s left is a finished product waiting to be purchased according to visual appeal. When the fairest of them all is taken home and placed on that bit of empty wall you wanted to fill, you’ve got a picture before you that is meant to speak a thousand words. But are you really in tune with what the artist was thinking at the time of creation?

Last year, artists from the Paphos district opened their personal workshops to the public for the first time ever, creating enormous interest as art lovers travelled even to remote villages to catch a glimpse of what happens behind closed doors.

This year, Open Studios is expanding beyond Paphos to cover the Limassol district as well. Each artist involved in the occasion will open their studio door to the public throughout various weekends in October.

Artists who don’t have their own workshop will be exhibiting at one of the participating galleries. From Polis Chrysochous all the way to the centre of Limassol, there are 22 different locations that are calling out to be discovered by art lovers.
Since the idea was launched in England some 20 years ago, it has spread and gained popularity worldwide. Very different from the usual experience of visiting galleries, Open Studios gives you the chance to get to know artists in an informal atmosphere as you enjoy the privilege of spending time chatting and learning more about how various types of art work are produced.

“A traditional art exhibition can certainly be a bit sterile,” explains one of the organisers, Nic Costa. “Whereas walking into a gallery can be a bit cold and impersonal, Open Studios is all about getting to the know the person who has created the art work that hangs on the wall.” What were they thinking when they created the specific image? And how do they feel about the outcome? These are just some of the interesting things you can chat about when you meet the persona behind the picture that glares back at you.

Although Open Studios is something new for Cyprus, last year proved that locals are warmly embracing the idea. “I will never forget one Russian lady who visited every single on the artist on the list,” says Nic. “She was just so excited by the idea that she could spend a few weekends travelling around some beautiful parts of the island while popping in to discover hidden gems in personal spaces that are usually closed off to the public.” You’ll have the unique opportunity to discover beautiful pieces of art that you wouldn’t normally stumble upon and if something appeals to you, it’s all down to a one-to-one transaction between you and the artist. “Being an artist tends to be an isolated occupation and Open Studios is a non profit making initiative that aims to directly benefit the creator without any of the commissions that burden the artist,” Nic explains.

With 88 artists taking part in the occasion this year, those involved come from very different backgrounds and cultures, and many of whom have enjoyed years of experience. And don’t expect just the usual paintings and sculptures as the studio doors open; there will also be video installations, photographic works, prints, textiles and mosaics to set your sights on. “There’s no selection committee to judge what goes in and what stays out,” says Nic. “The event is open to everyone that has had at least a year’s experience making art works. Because of the democratic system, it’s a complete mix and match of works with both amateurs and professionals taking part.”
With so many interesting things to see, organisers urge everyone to tell friends and family about the scheme. If you don’t live in Paphos or Limassol, it may be a good idea to plan a weekend trip down to the respective towns so you can really soak up the great atmosphere.

You can pick up your Open Studios guide now for free from supermarkets, kiosks and other retail outlets throughout Paphos and Limassol. In October, look out for the banners bearing the distinctive Open Studios logo on a blue and yellow background hanging near the entrances of each artists’ workplace. The special website, as well as the guidebook, provides the dates each artist will open their studio, as well as directions to each studio, addresses, and phone numbers.

Open Studios 
Artists opening their doors to the public in weekends throughout October, 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm. Personal workshops and galleries throughout Limassol and Paphos