A new addition to Nicosia’s art scene showcases folk printmaking from the 18th to 20th century. The exhibition recently opened at the Hambis Printmaking Museum in Nicosia with works from the museum’s collection. Visitors can explore 28 pieces from diverse printmaking techniques of a bygone era.
The exhibition Popular Printmaking will remain open until May 25 and includes explanatory texts, models, but also an engraved plaque to help visitors discover the importance of folk printmaking in the lives of people in past centuries.
The works come from various European countries and Japan, most of them printed in the Epinal of France, one of the most important centres of folk image production. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to a rare woodcut by Raoul Dufy, who was inspired by a humble folk engraver.
“The expression ‘popular printmaking’,” explain the organisers, “characterises the work of a folk printmaker or engraver, usually self-taught, whose work focuses on the ordinary world in which he lives. More often and more traditionally, popular or folk printmaking refers to work that addresses the people directly. The purpose of the traditional folk printmaking was the education of the people – and with a deviation from propaganda – but also the entertainment, the decoration of houses.”
The cheap cost of producing and selling folk printmaking, both as an independent image and as book illustrations, made the genre accessible to all. The multifaceted role of folk printmaking peaked in the 19th century. It then declined and, gradually, disappeared due to competition from photography and new printing and dissemination techniques.
“Folk printed images are a rich folklore source and document the daily life and interests of the common people of past centuries,” add the organisers. “Popular printmaking remains alive as a means of expression of modern genuine folk printmaking, whose humble work is an aspect of engraving, which contemporary printmaking and the economy of the art market, fortunately, cannot eliminate.”
Exhibition featuring the museum’s printmaking collection from the 18th-20th centuries. Until May 25. Hambis Printmaking Museum, Nicosia. Tuesday-Friday: 9am-3pm. Saturday: 10am-2pm and 4pm-7pm. www.hambisprintmakingcenter.org.cy