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A Cypriot artist in Paris

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A Cypriot artist will be in the international spotlight this week with the inclusion of a piece of work in a prestigious annual show. SARA DOUEDARI speaks to her

Possibly the high point of her career, a prestigious annual art exhibition in Paris that has celebrated leading artists for over 100 years will include the work of a Cypriot artist, recognising her contribution to art on a global scale.

The inclusion of Cypriot artist Lia Voyiatzi at the prestigious Salon d’Automne in Paris this year marks a significant milestone in her career and in the recognition of Cypriot art on the global stage.

Voyiatzi’s participation in the Salon with a self-portrait is not just a personal achievement but also a moment of national significance for Cyprus. “I am deeply honored to be included in the esteemed Salon d’Automne, an institution that has celebrated artistic brilliance for over a century,” Voyiatzi said. “To be among the ranks of artists who have graced the walls of the Salon d’Automne is a dream come true. I am humbled and thrilled to be part of this prestigious tradition.”

fature2 the studio in paris
The studio in Paris

Her work has been in exhibited in other countries including Spain, France, Italy and Finland, where each piece acted as a conversation between cultures, a showcase of how her Cypriot heritage blends with her global experiences. “Art has the power to connect us across cultures and backgrounds, allowing us to share emotions, experiences and ideas in a way that is both profound and accessible. It is a language that speaks to our hearts and minds, leaving an indelible mark on our souls,” she said.

As part of the Fine Artists Union of Cyprus, Voyiatzi is instrumental in shaping the future of Cypriot art, advocating for its growth and global recognition. And her accomplishments in Paris offer a source of motivation for the next generation of artists both in Cyprus and globally.

Born in 1970 in Nicosia, Voyiatzi’s artistic journey saw her study fine arts in Rome where she combined her Mediterranean roots with a foundation in classical art. Upon returning to Cyprus, she immersed herself in the local art scene, becoming a central figure in promoting artistic unity and collaboration, working with EKATE (Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts) and the Open Studios.

Her recognition in Paris is a result of setting up a studio there in 2007, allowing her to engage with a diverse and dynamic artistic environment. Her work, characterised by a unique fusion of Cypriot and European influences, began to draw attention for its originality and depth.

feature2 lia voyiatzi in her studio
Lia Voyiatzi in her studio

“Art serves as a window into the human experience, showcasing the full spectrum of our emotions, thoughts and aspirations. It is a reflection of our collective consciousness, capturing the essence of what it means to be human in all its beauty and fragility,” Voyiatzi said.

Her time in France has seen her receive an honorary commendation at the Salon des Artistes Français for her painting L’écrivain, where she returned the following year with the work Le comédien.

Established in 1903, the Salon d’Automne has been at the forefront of art, a platform that has seen the birth and growth of numerous art movements and has showcased the works of some of the most influential artists in history. The Salon’s impact extended beyond the art world, influencing the general public and contributing significantly to the development of modern art.

Founded as a progressive alternative to the conservative Paris Salon, the Salon d’Automne was the brainchild of Georges Rouault, André Derain, Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet, quickly establishing itself as an avant-garde exhibition, pushing the boundaries of traditional art. The best-known exhibit was that of 1905, when painter Matisse and his colleagues were dubbed Fauves (Wild Beasts) because of their uninhibited use of pure, non-naturalistic colours.

Its aim was to encourage the development of fine arts and provide a platform for young, innovative artists of all nationalities. It played a crucial role in popularising Impressionism, bringing modern art to a wider audience. The selection jury, uniquely composed of ordinary members of the Society chosen randomly, ensured a diverse and eclectic showcase of artworks.

The early exhibitions of the Salon at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris were monumental, hosting retrospectives of giants like Gauguin and Cézanne. The Salon became known for showcasing movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, Orphism, and Futurism. Over the years, the Salon d’Automne played host to leading artists including Paul Gauguin, August Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, and sculptors like Aristide Maillol and Constantin Brancusi. It also featured decorative arts, notably Art Nouveau glass by Rene Lalique and architectural designs by Le Corbusier.

This year’s Salon d’Automne will be held from January 18 to 21, 2024 at the Grande Halle de la Villette, a renowned architectural gem. The event will showcase over 1,200 pieces across various art forms.

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