It’s not very often goats get to be the focus of an art exhibition, but it was goats and their surroundings that acted as one of the sources of inspiration for the upcoming exhibition titled Goats et cetera* hosted at IN TOTO gallery, Nicosia this week.
Four artists with varied backgrounds spent a summer in the dry, sun-kissed village of Androlikou in the Akamas Peninsula taking on a ceramics workshop and absorbing the quiet rural life. The workshop by ceramic artist Vassos Demetriou was what brought the artists together and the works to be exhibited were created while at the village or inspired from their time there.
Androlikou, a Turkish-Cypriot village that is now more or less abandoned, is nowadays inhabited mainly by goats and a few remaining goat herders. The landscape, especially in the summer when the four artists experienced it, is raw and the earth is hot. Vassos has a small house in the village where he hosts this annual workshop. The open fields, perfect for goats to graze, allowed the artists to build pit fire kilns and wood fire kilns without causing havoc.
The earth, goats and the magic from this still yet vibrant place inspired a variety of watercolour paintings, prints, ceramics and preserves. And that’s how the title came to be, Goats et cetera* – an exhibition featuring a number of objects, allowing various art forms to coexist.
“The four of us are quite different in our approach to art making,” said participating artist Simone Philippou “but we enjoy each other’s personalities and get inspired by different ways of looking and thinking on our shared interests.
“I think the initial spark for this exhibition came from our long conversations in the evenings of that week, catching up on each other’s ideas and discussing how to contextualise and put them into practice. It almost felt like a natural step after making our art. A symposium where we come together to show and tell – what we saw, what we made, what we didn’t make, how we failed, how we managed to achieve something, how something came to be unexpectedly, how that could be planned next time, et cetera..”
The artists Melita Couta, Milenko Stevanovic, Nicoletta Savvidou and Simone Philippou are quite a diverse group and as such their exhibited artworks aren’t limited to a singular art form. Melita is a Fine Artist with a strong background in sculpture. She has been working extensively with ceramics over the last few years and has developed a passion for experimenting and exploring Cyprus geology and finding ways to incorporate it in her ceramic forms.
Milenko is a painter from Serbia. He has a profound understanding of realistic drawing and painting. With a long academic background in traditional painting, his passion is unmistaken when you flick through his sketchbooks. This will be the first time Milenko is presenting his work in Cyprus, similar to Nicoletta who has been hiding away in London.
Nicoletta has been working with ceramics for the last five years and has been discreetly building a library of knowledge and a skillset from her time in different ceramics studios. Her interest in working with different clay bodies and finding ways to throw forms on the pottery wheel is very playful while maintaining a real sense of calm.
Simone’s art is primarily printmaking but she has also been experimenting with ceramics and in finding ways to apply her printmaking techniques on ceramic forms. “I believe ceramics and printmaking have lots of similarities,” she says. “Understanding and respecting the process is vital to both and maybe this is what attracts me. Trying to find ways to create that mark or form is exciting and has really captivated me over the recent years.”
As of Friday, Simone, Milenko, Nicoletta and Melita will be presenting their creations inspired from their time in Androlikou village. The opening at the Agioi Omologites gallery will feature art talk, a bit of wine and a whole of lot of creativity.
GOATS et cetera*
Exhibition by four artists inspired by a week in Andronikou village during a ceramic’s workshop. The exhibition features various objects in different art styles. December 13-21. IN TOTO Gallery, Nicosia. Opening night 7pm-9pm. Other days 10am-1pm and 2pm-7pm