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Toula Liasi: Synchronizing History

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Toula Liasi: Synchronising History

The Lives Of The Absent

    The Larnaka Municipal Art Gallery presents the exhibition Synchronising History by Toula Liasi, in which more than 55 artworks will be featured (paintings, photographs, videos and installations).

    The exhibition will be inaugurated on Friday 26 April 2024 at 19:30 by the Mayor of Larnaka,  Mr. Andreas Vyras. A welcome address will be given by the Director of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, Dr. Yiannis Toumazis.  

    The recent art project of Toula Liasi Synchronizing Historydeals with her home in the occupied village of Ayia Triada and focuses on its history and objects. Her ultimate goal is to rescue, through her art, these indisputably historical objects, which should not remain private, and to transform them into artistic evidence of memory and identity, resistance and survival, of a small number of enclaved people, in their silent but heroic struggle. A titanic struggle of self-denial and self-sacrifice, which unfortunately to date has not brought about a victorious outcome.

    As the curator of the exhibition very aptly says: “Toula creates a new condition, transforms the 'house' from an existing three-dimensional space into a third intermediate conceptual place, into a space-time capsule, where the objects dominate and are integrated into the space as evidence of a new 'acceptable' present. She is not interested in that which is obvious. She creates a new narrative, a palimpsest. A new writing material that has been superimposed on an earlier one, with the objects treated as traces, as fragments of some previously existing situation. The synchronized story of Toula Liasi brings back what we have been deprived of for a long time – the virtue of boldness. She creates and synchronizes two 'presents', new temporal events in which she will redefine her existence, her identity, and her own truth. She will discover that nothing of the past is superfluous? it just lacks the self-efficiency of essence? self-efficiency that only art can freely grant? her own art.”

    Biographical note

    Toula Liasi was born in Ayia Triada, Karpasia, in 1957, and lived there until she was eighteen years old. In 1975, after living for a year in her enclaved village, she left Cyprus to study abroad; first in Greece and later in The Netherlands, where she went to finish her studies in visual arts.

    In Athens, she studied drawing and painting at the Veloudakis Art School (1975–1980), with professors Thodoros Pantos and Spyros Koukoulomatis. She continued her studies in Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (1980–1984) with a scholarship from the Rotary Club Zwijndrecht. Later, she completed her studies in the field of Education in Arts (BA) at the Willem de Kooning Academy (2004–2006) and Piet Zwart Institute (MA) in Rotterdam (2013–2015). Since 1980, she has been living in the Hague, working as an artist, while for nine years she served as an art teacher in Dutch secondary schools. In recent years, however, she has also been working in her hometown Ayia Triada. Toula Liasi presented her work in many solo and group exhibitions in Cyprus, The Netherlands, Greece, Belgium and France.

    For the last two decades, her artwork has dealt with the difficult aspects of the recent history of Cyprus. Her main source of inspiration comes from personal experiences and events related to the issues of the missing persons and the enclaved in Karpasia. Issues that, although they are very personal, are at the same time public.

    To date, she has used her artistic capacity to create the art projects Achaeans Coast (2004) and Rusted Evidence (2013), both of which are dedicated to the enclaved Cypriots. In both projects, she sought, through a series of photo collages, with photos of rusty, damaged objects of their everyday lives to show the inevitable wear and tear of time and its indirect effect on the lives of the enclaved people.

    The project Where Have You Been? (2018) dedicated to the missing persons of Cyprus, was inspired by the story of my missing brother, Yiannakis Liasi, who was found in a mass grave and was identified through DNA analysis in 2014. A story that while it can seemingly to be considered personal, in reality, is associated with the recent tragic history of Cyprus. Through the project, she sought not only to embrace aesthetic ways of looking at tragic events and painful situations but also to illustrate how art has the power to deal with painful human emotions and at the same time negotiate issues of politics, history and memory.

    Venue: Larnaka Municipal Art Gallery, Athinon Avenue, Europe Square, 6022 Larnaka

    Exhibition duration: 26 April–31 July 2024 

    Exhibition opening hours: Monday–Friday 09:00–13:00 and 16:00–19:00 Saturday 10:00–13:00

    Curator: Xenios Symeonides


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