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An oasis of optimism and beauty

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An ongoing art exhibition on Ermou Street in Nicosia hosts the work of eight international artists who come together to explore Almost Paradise, as the exhibition is titled. Organised by the Riana Raouna Gallery, the exhibition is on until December 1 and through 19 paintings and one sound piece, it aims to highlight the unmistakable beauty of nature, presented as an extension of ourselves.

“The exhibition consists of paintings depicting luscious plantations, flowers and wild animals which one expects to find in a paradisiac environment, with vibrant colours, light and a sense of optimism,” says Riana Raouna. “Although nature could be perceived as Paradise on earth, the extreme human exploitation of the natural world and resources where the pursuit of short-term profit is above any moral or ethical concerns, has led us to what is known as the Anthropocene era. We could have been living in an earthy Paradise, but the reality is far from that and hence the title of the exhibition Almost Paradise.”

Each exhibiting artist explores the visual and conceptual representation of the natural world through a different lens. Six of the artists are represented by the Gallery, while two of them are guest artists. All are emerging talents and promising names in the international art scene, as Raouna says, hailing from France, Spain, Poland, the UK, Brazil, Iran, South Korea and Scotland.

“Eugenia Cuellar,” she explains, “turns her attention to luxurious settings and exotic landscapes which provide a psychological oasis and avail a sense of escapism from the worries of contemporary life. Eliza Wiszniewska explores the role of nature as a healer and a home, inviting the viewer to surrender to the enchanting realm of plants, flowers and wild animals. In the expressive paintings of Golnaz Afraz, plants and flowers symbolise a refuge for humans while at the same time symbolising the eternal continuation of life. Henry Glover and Taedong Lee capture the poetic beauty of the landscape and draw their attention to the potential of the landscape to reflect the vast span of memory, emotions and inner experience.

“As a British-Japanese artist, born in Australia and currently living between Scotland and Japan, Mia Takemoto explores the notion of identity as being formed by an individual’s movement and multiple displacement rather than being focused on the binary idea of ‘homeland’. Thibaut Bouedjoro-Camus investigates the inseparable relationship between humans and nature merging realism and symbolism in his paintings. The sensory experience of the viewers is further enhanced by a sound piece by Dani Tagen, which evokes a deep sense of longing and tranquillity through sounds of nature and the artist’s voice.”

Exhibited together in the gallery, the showcase attempts to spark a note of delight, wonder and inspiration through nature and wild animals. Especially at a time of continued challenges as Raouna says, Almost Paradise is an oasis of optimism and beauty. With just a week left until the exhibition ends, it is a great opportunity to visit the gallery and see the works in person as the gallery mainly operates online.

“Art,” concludes Raouna, “significantly contributes towards intellectual stimulation and aesthetic pleasure. Through the experience of art, one can gain a better understanding of the world and of oneself.”

 

Almost Paradise

Group exhibition of 8 contemporary international artists. Until December 1. Riana Raouna Gallery, Nicosia. Monday-Sunday, 10am – 2pm and 3pm – 7pm. Tel: 22-462888. www.rianaraouna.com

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