After careers in music and law, one creative, led by her faith will stage an exhibition this week finds PAUL LAMBIS
Immersed in creativity since she can remember, artist Marina Solonos is set to embark on another exciting chapter in her life, showcasing an exhibition that is “a celebration of power and vulnerability.”
Solonos’ collection, called The Divine – that contemplates the delicate balance as seen through the lens of timeless mythological narratives – features female figures “that are poised with all their layers of meaning, symbolism, inspiration, and spirituality to culminate in a single moment of vulnerability.
“Like us, they are fragile and empowered both by their psyche and by their nudity, painted from a single moment of vulnerability in their existence,” she said.
Although Solonos is familiar to audiences around the world as a singer, musician, and composer with a successful musical career in Greece, she is also a qualified lawyer, but she never considered a career in law as music has always been a part of her life.
Solonos was born and raised in Cyprus but spent a great deal of her youth in Australia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and America. She recalls writing poems and composing songs since she was five years old. “I never imagined pursuing anything other than music and the arts at that age,” she told the Cyprus Mail. “I felt a deep need to express myself through art, and at the age of 12 I was instinctively painting angels using mediums such as charcoal and acrylics.”
Solonos attributes her diverse artistic talent to divine intervention as a form of expression, as well as spiritual guidance from her father. “My father, Dr Solon Hadjisolomos, is a well-known theologian, published author, and musicologist whose influences have helped me find order within my artistic vision, both in the past and present,” she added.
After graduating, she chose to move to Greece to pursue her musical ambitions. “It was a bold decision to leave my home and relocate to a new country, and especially into an industry that was so infused with talent,” she said.
After seven years of hard work and perseverance, which culminated in a record deal with one of Greece’s largest music labels, the release of her first album, which topped the charts, and collaborations with many renowned Greek artists, Solonos decided to turn the page and abandon the public persona for a more balanced life in America working as an immigration law consultant for artists.
“People often ask me about my decision to escape the limelight and the reason is an indescribable divine force that prompted me to do so,” she said.
But the adage, ‘once an artist, always an artist,’ made sense for Solonos, who quickly understood that her life as a lawyer in a foreign country was only temporary and her desire to return to Cyprus and pursue art was stronger than ever. “Through my years away from my birthplace, I had learned so many lessons, reaped many rewards, and met incredible people along the way, but my journeys had helped me solidify my relationship with God,” Solonos stated.
Reflecting on her career in the limelight, she recalls that, like most things in life, it was not without its obstacles, particularly when it came to her spirituality. “I sang because I loved music and the joy it brought to people, but life as a performing artist carries a different weight. My attachment to my faith and desire to live by it was not an easy combination for my soul,” she explained.
“I learned a few important lessons that I still carry with me, such as the importance of being true to oneself and that fame is not as it appears, nor does society define us,” she added.
This led her to the next stage of her life, pursuing a profession in fine arts and her upcoming exhibition.
Solonos defines her art as a bridge that connects a divine path between the soul and a world filled with beauty, self-appreciation, and self-love. “I want people to remember that materialistic and meaningless human conditions do not matter, because at the end of the day, the only thing we truly own and we are responsible for, is our soul,” she said.
Her art, which focuses on the face and the human form, has a strong impressionistic influence paired with realistic elements. “Oils are my favourite medium to paint with because they allow me to create depth with short strokes, and multiple layers, allowing me to instil shadow and light to exemplify an emotion,” she explained.
According to Solonos, the nudes depicted in her work serve as a spectacle, a voyeur, both powerful and symbolic of their inner strength. “We are inextricably linked to the mystical, pragmatic, and divine. I want viewers of my paintings to understand that great power stems from understanding both our strengths and our vulnerabilities.
“Art is a journey,” she concluded, “which will allow us to connect with our inner-self and understanding our soul’s purpose, and I am looking forward to where my spiritual and divine power will lead me to next.”
Solo exhibition by Marina Solonos. Kasteliotissa Medieval Hall, Nicosia. December 1 (6pm – 11pm) and December 2 (11am – 6pm). The exhibition will be inaugurated by Archbishop Georgios and First Lady Philippa Christodoulides. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marinasolonosart