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An artistic take on democracy

A cluster of artistic activities – Respublika! – is currently holding a group exhibition at NeMe Arts Centre in Limassol as part of an artistic festival. The exhibition, under the name Participation Matters, consists of 14 art projects.

Respubika! provides artists with an arena in which they can expand on what democracy and participation means in today’s world. It also highlights a series of participatory art works where artists work together. The projects, on displayed until January 19, were selected through two open calls and reflect on democracy and participation. The multi genre exhibition aims to “tap into the creative reservoirs of community media, civil society organisations and social collectives (and their members); but also of artists that are committed to the basic principles of participatory community communication,” according to its description.

“This exhibition, and the festival, gives all visitors a wonderful opportunity to see how complex and wide-reaching democracy is, and how there are so many different ways of involving and empowering people,” said curator, Nico Carpentier, who previously lived and worked in Cyprus.

Included in the exhibition are works by Nance Davies under the title Fugue, Emilia Izquierdo under the title Eclipse and Natalie Hami under the name Meet Y/Our Wall – which is part of the Old Nicosia Revealed initiative.

The six videos created by Davies explores empathy, inter-relationship and interdependence of all life forms, according to the artist. “I map the spaces where public and private experiences collide. I do this by constructing a matrix of surreal juxtaposition through the poetics of hybrid imagery. Empathy is critical to democratic processes. They are contingent and co-evolving. These systems, or processes, must be practised to become real. At best, they arise in an environment encouraging qualities such as compassion, selflessness and imagination,” Davies said.

The artist uses videos to portray her ideas because she believes that screens are pathways for democratic participation and empathetic debates.

Eclipse, an animated display by Izquierdo, explores the relationship between society and the cosmos. It is a part of a trilogy of films that relate to politics, technology and nature from different angles. It points to violence and how technology can and is used to destroy the environment and cause pollution. It also has also to do with liberation and resistance. “Both are always placed in a connection to the giant universe that surrounds this violence,” according to Izquierdo.

Eclipse opens with a solar eclipse and ends with a lunar eclipse showing a footage of violence, totalitarianism, political power games, the fight for social justice and natural phenomena.

Meet Y/Our Wall by Hami is a series of photographs of walls around Cyprus. Her aim is to present Nicosia’s green line as more than just a means of separation and offers a more democratic narrative of the dividing line. Hami’s photographs are part of the Old Nicosia Revealed project, which has explored and revealed Nicosia in a community-participatory manner for the last five-years. The photographs taken within these five-years, are the means to help us better understand and appreciate the capital.

The project came about because the experience of separation is felt the strongest in Nicosia, where the green wall divides the capital. “I think that Nicosians always have this feeling that people from outside the city, from Larnaca, Limassol or Paphos do not seem to live the same reality as Nicosians do,” said Hami. “Thus, there is a fear that people outside this spatial environment would not understand and feel Cyprus’ problem. By distributing pictures of the wall in other sites of Cyprus, we want to create a better understanding beyond Nicosia of what this divided state means.”

Participation Matters
Group exhibition. Until January 19. NeMe Arts Centre, Limassol. Contact:

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