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Larnaca to launch Cyprus’ first arts biennale

By Melissa Hekkers

As of Wednesday, Larnaca will showcase some hundreds of artworks within the city’s proximity, an initiative driven by the island’s first ever international arts biennale.

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of hosting a biennale is the coming together of hundreds of artists from around the world along with their work in one location, both within private, indoor premises as well as outdoor public areas of the chosen city, making the arts very much part of our everyday perception of people visiting and residing in Larnaca.

Throughout the months of October and November, the large-scale international contemporary art exhibition has called upon local and international artists to work under the general theme Container and Content, a concept curated by local fine artist Vassilis Vassiliadis.

“In reality space is a container and content simultaneously and what defines one from another is the way we realise it as individuals. There will always be something more inside us that makes us a container, and something more outside of us that makes us content. A single word can be a container of great ideas and a picture, a container of great and many emotions. But what interests me the most is the relationship of dependency that grows among them making them dependent on each other. Containers and contents are giving meaning to what we call life and essence in our short existence. Like small proper containers, we keep inside us the remains of what we have been. We are containers of memories, feelings and moments,” he said.

As such, Larnaca will be ‘dressed’ with an extensive variety of visual and applied arts, including site-specific installations, paintings, sculptures, drawings, murals, video art, performances, photography or digital art all of which will be competing for the Larnaca Biennale 2018 Grand Prix at the end of November.

Within Larnaca itself, three exhibition spaces in different locations have been chosen to home the core events and exhibitions of the biennale, namely the Myth Factory on Ayios Lazaros Street in the heart of town as well as the two well-known historical landmarks of Larnaca: the Municipal Gallery and the Pierides Museum also found within the heart of the city. More often than never, biennales make use of public, outdoor spaces to attract the attention of passersby and art lovers. To this end, two installations are already in place outside the Pierides Musuem, another installation is on display within the old town of Larnaca, while visitors can also already admire a life size mural which has been created and installed outside Larnaca’s Municipal Gallery.

The opening ceremony on Wednesday evening will mark the inauguration of the Larnaca Biennale with the official opening of all exhibition spaces and an address by Vassiliades and Larnaca Mayor Andreas Myras. The opening ceremony will take place at the Municipal Gallery.

Attempting to define a highlight of the biennale, coordinator Michail Elia emphasised that the occasion of Cyprus and more specifically Larnaca hosting such an event is in itself a highlight. The art works and parallel events of the biennale will then come in to speak for themselves.

Aside from the exhibition of artworks, 25 parallel events including workshops, performances and lectures will enrich the biennale’s programme. Perhaps one of the best ways to get a feel about what is to take place throughout the next two months is by getting your hands on the printed ‘map’ of the biennale on which all the ‘hot spots’ of the city are depicted as well as a descriptive diary of events.

Due to the occasion, all event spaces will be open to the public on a daily basis except for Sundays, while a couple of events, such as two theatre performances will be only adequate for Greek speakers.

Larnaca Biennale
For a full programme visit www.biennalelarnaca.com

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