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The art of being yourself

By Maria Gregoriou

The Aigaia Visual Arts Hospitality programme will be presenting the solo exhibition entitled Selfhood by artist and educator Eleana Chrysanthou Petousi, as of tomorrow.
Selfhood is a series of paintings through which the artist deals with the idea of identity. Before going further into the artist and her new collection, it is interesting to look into the two different meanings that French philosopher Paul Ricoeur gave to the definition of identity.

Ricoeur saw individual identity as being either sameness or selfhood. If you view identity as sameness, then you are defining identity as being identical to someone in some quality or characteristic. That is to say that you believe that you, or the person you are trying to identify, have the same quality or characteristic as a certain individual.

Going in a totally different direction, selfhood is when someone or something is not the same as any other person or thing. If you identity yourself as being within this category, then you have your own identity, not one which also belongs to another person or thing.

Having this definition in mind we can now understand the importance of the exhibition’s title.

Petousi’s work is inspired by familiar faces, urban landscapes, still lifes and her own immediate environment to create works with the use of traditional and mixed media techniques, mostly on canvas, paper and wood.

Her paintings are based on strict compositions and contrasts both in meaning and in colour. By using symbols, the artist creates her own identity, both as a person and as a creator.

Commenting on the artist’s paintings, professor S.A. Gavriliashenko said “in our time, defeated by trends and glamour, Petoussi’s paintings seem like an island of noble values. Her compositions are full of unexpected associations and the visual language of the artist is defined by a unique artistic style which offers the viewer an ideal, noble world of high ethics, made of rigid beauty and perfection, full of respect and pride in her ancestry and culture”.

Petoussi, from Nicosia, studied fine arts at the Moscow State Academic Art Institute in Russia, where she specialised in monumental art. After graduating, she returned to Cyprus where she began teaching at the Aigaia School of Art and Design.

She has participated in a number of group exhibitions and art contests in Cyprus and Russia, receiving distinctions and awards. The artist had her first solo exhibition at Gallery Gloria in Nicosia in 2010. Some of her paintings can be found in government-owned and private collections.

The exhibition will be open from the 5th until the 19th of February at the exhibition spaces of Aigaia School of Art and Design in Nicosia.

The exhibition will be opened by Dr. Eleni Theocharous, Member of the European Parliament at 7:30pm at the Aigaia School of Art and Design in Nicosia. It will be on display until February 19.

Solo exhibition by Eleana Chrysanthou Petousi. Opens February 5 at 7.30pm, until February 19. Aigaia School of Art and Design, 81 Agion Omologiton, Nicosia. Monday-Friday: 10am-1pm and 3pm-7pm, Saturday: 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm and Sunday: 3pm-6pm. Tel: 22- 445757

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