Greek Cypriot co-chair of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Culture, Androulla Vassiliou, has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that 90% of the 219 art works handed over on Tuesday to the Greek Cypriot members of the Committee by its Turkish Cypriot members appear to be part of three art collections, while the origin of the rest 10% is still unknown.
Vassiliou noted that two of the art collections are private, while the third concerns the art collection of a public institution. Most of the art works seem to be part of a collection of a public institution and includes, apart from Greek Cypriots’ art works, some works of Greek and foreign artists, she added, noting that for this case they will have to cooperate with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Vassiliou also noted that experts on the issue will help establish the origin of these art works, that will be returned to their rightful owners.
She said that photos of the art works will be taken and will be uploaded on the internet, and will also be published in an edition that will include the details known about each art work, so that people who had art works that remained in the occupied part of the island since 1974, will be able to see them.
Moreover, Vassiliou noted that the exhibition to which a number of the artworks will be presented, and the publication with the photographs of the art works are expected to be financed by the European Union “Support facility to the bi–communal Technical Committees”, adding that they have already applied for funding.
In posts on her Twitter account, Vassiliou said that “as Co -Chair of the Bi Communal Committee on Culture, I feel v. proud & happy for the successful return yesterday of 219 works of art belonging to Greek Cypriots, abandoned in the north…. I thank our TC colleagues who worked so hard in achieving this.”
Moreover, she noted that “we are very thankful to the UN for facilitating the exchange between the G/C and T/C members of the Bi-Communal Com. on Culture, 219 works of art belonging to GCs and audiovisual recordings of the CyBC relating to TC artists& journalists. Great achievement for all of us!”
On Tuesday the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot community exchanged art works and audiovisual recordings. The exchange took place in the United Nations Protected Area.
The exchange followed an agreement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akıncı, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades on 26th February 2019 for the Turkish Cypriot side to return paintings by Greek Cypriot artists and the Greek Cypriot side to hand over visual and audio recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists from their respective archives.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.