Cyprus Mail

Renowned Cypriot artist Yiorgos Skotinos dies aged 85

skoteinos picture
Yiorgos Skotinos

Renowned Cypriot artist Yiorgos Skotinos died at the age of 85 on Thursday after almost seven decades as a painter whose works had its roots in the country and its history.

In a post on social media, the Deputy Culture Minister Yiannis Toumazis bade farewell to the painter.

The Ayia Napa municipality and the mayor Christos Zannettou also sent condolences to his family.

“After becoming a refugee, the great painter of Cyprus lived and created in Ayia Napa, contributing significantly to the cultural events of the city and the wider area of Famagusta District. Yiorgos Skotinos was a prominent personality, who graced Ayia Napa with his presence and his active activity,” the municipality said.

His funeral, the municipality added, will be state sponsored following a consultation with his family.

Skotinos was born in Limassol in 1937 but grew up in Famagusta.

His art has its roots at the very birth of his country and its development traces his links with the historical facts of life there.

Although liking art at a young age, Skotinos began learning to paint while in the British prison Wormwood Scrubs and Wakefield, where he was held for involvement in the anti-colonial struggle of the 1950s in Cyprus.

Following his release in 1959, he went on to study art and drama in Athens and cinematography in New York before returning to his hometown of Famagusta to live and work.

During the Turkish invasion in 1974, Skotinos was forced to flee from his home and, alongside 200,000 other Greek Cypriots, became a refugee.

He lived in the resort area of Ayia Napa, following the invasion, where he set up a new studio open to the public.

Skotinos has held many solo exhibitions in Cyprus and Greece. Additionally, he has participated in many prestigious group exhibitions such as the 1967 Paris Biennale, the 1968 Alexandria Biennale, the 1968 Venice Biennale, the 1969 Sao Paolo Biennale and the 1969 and 1982 New Delhi Triennale.

In 1968 Yiorgos Skotinos was awarded an honorary mention in the Biennale of Alexandria, and in 1982 in the Triennale of India where he was the sole Cypriot representative, with paintings including some from his Cycle of Protest, he was awarded the Lalit Kala Akademi award, the highest of the Triennale for his outstanding contribution. In 1976, he also received the Ford foundation scholarship for Fine Arts.

The government of Cyprus has awarded him numerous times throughout his career for his contribution to the promotion of Cypriot culture abroad, recently awarding him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his collective work until today.

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