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Exhibition explores beneath the surface of culture in Cyprus

Artists from the University of Plymouth are taking part in an international exhibition which aims to offer a different perspective on life in Cyprus.

Layers of Visibility, which will be on show in the Pierides Foundation (NiMAC), Associated with the Pierides Foundation, features a selection of works including photography, paintings and film.

Amassed during a series of artistic residencies, collectively they provide a range of different responses to the island and to the complex layers of Cypriot culture.

The exhibition has been curated by the University’s Professor in Photographic Culture, Liz Wells, and NiMAC’s Director Yiannis Toumazis.

They first developed the residencies idea and since 2013, six artists from Plymouth have each spent at least a month on the island, investigating and representing its nature and people in their own styles.

Professor Wells said:

“Cyprus relies heavily on its tourist industry, but many visitors barely get to scrape the surface of its history and culture. Spending a month there offered our artists precisely that opportunity, and the resulting exhibition offers alternative insight into a place where there is much more to be discovered than that which first meets the eye.”

The exhibiting artists – photographers Carole Baker, Liz Nicol and Simon Standing; painter Chris Cook; and filmmakers Stuart Moore and Kayla Parker – are all based within the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture, and members of the Land/Water and the Visual Arts research network.

Through the exhibition, they discover and explore challenging stories and trajectories of local realities: new architectural developments in contested urban settings; the situation of refugee dogs in shelters; military presence in a divided island, family memory and symbolic legacies; and the dead zone as a complex metaphor for links as well as divisions.

The event is the latest to celebrate the project, with a dedicated symposium – Out of Place: The artist residency as a space of creative exploration and reflection – having been held in Plymouth earlier this year. It will also feature in the University’s own Research Festival in 2019 and it is also hoped to bring the full exhibition to the UK in the future.

Professor Wells added:

“Our partnership with NiMAC is quite rare, in that artists working as academics very seldom get the opportunity to take on a residency of this type. It has offered colleagues a chance to really engage with their practice and all of them have benefitted from that. In turn, there are positive effects for their students as they learn from practising artists and get to see their creativity in action.”

The exhibition’s opening night is on Friday 19 October and it runs until January 2019.

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