Visitors to Cyprus who hadn’t travelled to the island for many years, were always surprised by the road networks, as connected motorways before the 70s and 80s didn’t really exist. Back in the day, a journey from Limassol to Platres and Troodos was a long day out. The winding main road passed above the river valley which is now the Kouris dam. Travelling from town to town used to mean a long drive through the countryside and the villages.
Painter Michael Owen recalls the one kilometre rough road from the highway to his village when Lania village had two coffee shops and no tavernas. There was a shoe-maker, a barber, a grocery and a good football team. He established his gallery there in 1973, converting a donkey and ox stable for his works. It is visited by Cypriots and tourists from around the world, resulting in his works now being hung in over 50 countries.
At the end of this month, Michael Owen celebrates 45 years of creating art and interpreting life through his creativity. In a solo exhibition, the public is invited to admire the pieces of the painter, witness how his work over the years has evolved and observe the themes of both his art and his personal life.
“If it is good for the cats, it is good for my wife and for me. The view from the house and gallery to the Kouris valley and Troodos, remains unchanged,” recalls the painter who’s formed a life now on the island.
After wandering through the Arctic Circle, the Syrian desert and New Zealand among other adventures, he moved to Cyprus in 1971. Three years later he opened his gallery in Lania where he holds a permanent exhibition. He is a naturalised Cypriot, working from his home and gallery in Lania, and from his land in Akamas.
Of his many solo exhibitions, two stand out: Akamas- Karpasia as he takes a lot of his inspiration as a landscape painter from this region, and The Dead Zone  capturing the 183 kilometres of the Green Line, with the permission and assistance of Unficyp. Owen hoped that his exhibition would be just a rusty reminder of a bad memory (following a solution to the Cyprus problem).
His paintings are hung in the National Gallery of Cyprus, the Cyprus Parliament, the Presidential Palace and the Limassol Municipal Gallery.
Opening on November 23, the exhibition will be inaugurated by Finance Minister Haris Georgiades.
It’s no lie that over the years, the picturesque village of Lania has charmed many people with its tranquility and harmony and has become the home of many foreign artists and Owen is one of them. Recently, he has established a library with an eclectic assortment of books, mostly arranged in old grape boxes.
45 years of Michael Owen Gallery
Solo exhibition of watercolours and oil paintings. November 23 (7.30pm) – December 7. E.KA.TE, Nicosia. Monday& Wednesday: 10am-2pm. Tuesday & Thursday:1pm-5pm. Friday:10am – 7pm. Saturday: 11am-2pm. Tel: 22-466426