I’ll never get used to the walls that divide Cyprus; maybe one day when they’re gone I’ll be young enough to create new neural pathways to map the places I’ve grown up without. For now, I must admit that I don’t know how to stand up for Cyprus.
I’m not good with politics and I’m way too passionate about Cyprus to see things impartially; thankfully a street artist called SYD has recently challenged the existing status quo. Driving down Vassiliou Voulgaroktonou Street in the old town of Nicosia, you come across a brick wall which is strategically placed in the middle of the street to force you to go right and adjacently around the border. Well, a few months ago I was left speechless when I saw that someone had finally put in place an image of what we’ve all been thinking of “BREAK DOWN THE WALL”!
I was left speechless and immediately started looking for SYD. I found him via his facebook page. It turns out SYD is Cypriot. He’s from old Nicosia – within the walls and he grew up there and went to school there and the streets were his playground. Unfortunately for me, he lives in London now.
But he comes back every now and then to visit and put one of his pieces up; the streets are his biggest gallery and he is very passionate about making art available to everyone and also challenging our perception of public space; SYD doesn’t get permission to put up his pieces and none of them are commissioned thus making what he does illegal – but I think that’s why his art is so valuable.
It hasn’t been pre-approved or made to measure art, it’s just SYD making a statement. This is probably why he was voted in the top 25 “best street artists tagging in London” by buzzfeed.com in 2014 (http://www.buzzfeed.com/thetylerpeters/25-of-the-best-street-artists-tagging-london-f5gh#.qpVbOlBZw).
He also has pieces in Brick Lane and featured work in London Street Art Design Magazine (LSD Magazine). As you can tell from his name, SYD is a massive Pink Floyd fan; he pays homage to Syd Barrett through his name tag and “Break down the wall” utilizes the concept of Pink Floyd’s The Wall in order to tell a different story – one of the physical and mental walls that we individually and collectively built between the two communities. Whether literal or figurative or both, walls exist here around us, and through this piece SYD demands that we question our public space and identity and take a stance on how Cyprus can move forward.