Four looted frescos, which were removed from churches in the occupied area of Cyprus, have been handed over to Tasoula Hadjitofi and the NGO, Walk of Truth, by a Canadian collector. Hadjitofi approached the collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, as she had information that this person might have information on looted art. The aforementioned collector has been following Hadjitofi’s work in repatriating stolen artefacts from churches in the occupied Cyprus, especially after the success of the Munich case, hence the decision to trust the four frescos and their repatriation in her hands.
Two of the four frescos have been identified and will be presented in the House of Lords in London during a presentation on December 16, while the other two frescos remain unidentified, as there is no evidence (photos or any other material) for their provenance. Walk of Truth has already requested the expertise of Byzantinologists, who believe that even though the frescos are of Cypriot origin, there is still not enough evidence as to their identification.
Following the Turkish invasion in 1974, the cultural heritage of Cyprus has been plundered, churches have been violated, icons have been stolen, and frescos and mosaics have been violently removed from walls and floors. A large number of these artefacts have been repatriated, while many others are still missing. Prior to 1974, there was an attempt to prepare an archive, however the research was never completed due to the Turkish invasion. The lack of a completed archive for the cultural heritage in the occupied Cyprus makes the identification process, and the process of claiming stolen artefacts, often found in private collections abroad, auctions and art trade, an arduous process.
Walk of Truth, an NGO and non-profit organisation based in The Hague, is bringing two of the four frescos into light with a plea to anyone, who is in position of recognising or providing evidence as to the artefacts’ origin, to contact the organisation at [email protected] or call at (+357) 99211997.
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