Exhibition illuminates Cyprus’ environmental consciousness through art

An upcoming five-day art show is more than just an exhibition organisers say, it is a social event that puts Cyprus’ environmental crisis in the spotlight.

The Re:Source 2.0 exhibition is set to open in Limassol later this month, featuring the works of mainly emerging Cyprus-based artists and a range of parallel events that creatively focus on ecology. The show is a collaborative effort between the charity organisation City Friends Club and Artnow agency, set to take over The Warehouse by ITQuarter from May 17 to 21.

“This is an environmental art exhibition, but it is certainly more than just an exhibition. It’s a social event,” says Polina Dobrogaeva, art critic and co-founder of Artnow. “Re:Source aims not only to showcase art but somehow to change people’s habits and help them understand how important it is to recycle and to build eco habits in their lives.”

When the first edition launched in 2023, the exhibition gathered 25 artists and more than 60 applications. It was a three-day show which the organisers estimate more than 2,000 people visited. The idea was brought to life by Anna Gubareva, the founder of City Friends Club which is active in environmental sustainability and waste management, as a way to celebrate the organisation’s birthday and raise awareness on environmental issues. It was the very first project of Artnow which was then taking its first steps as a curatorial art management agency.

“Now, City Friends Club want to make this event, not an exhibition, but an ecological event, annual,” says Anastasia Shamshurova, the second Artnow co-founder and an art historian. This month’s upcoming show is almost double the size it was last year. With over 100 applications received, more than 30 artists and artistic groups are participating and from a three-day event, Re:Source 2.0 will now span five days.

The environment is the front and centre of the event, with an even greater focus on what is happening locally.

“Our main focus is Cyprus,” says Polina and through varied art practices, the event aims to highlight what can be done about the environment and how art can be a catalyst for change. It will provide an opportunity to reflect, think critically and take action.

Installations, video art, paintings, eco-creations, photographs and other art are part of the show, each addressing the theme through a different lens.

“Some artists try to bring in materials, such as nature or plastic, reusable materials, to build their work, their installation, and to show people how they could be reused, how we should preserve nature. Other artists, just show what they feel about how our planet is suffering now because of humans and what our relationship with it is,” explains Anastasia.

“The main conception is nature and humans,” adds Polina, “but each message of each artwork and each artist is different.”

The beauty of it lies in seeing how they come together and observe the pieces both independently and collectively. Many of the artists – most of whom live in Cyprus, one who lives in France and a collective spread throughout Europe – incorporate recycled materials or items found on the street in their work.

Some artworks are more complex and conceptual, while others are more simplistic, tracing the cycles of life, the metaphysical process, and humans’ consumption of the earth and plastic. A few of the exhibited pieces are inspired by Cyprus’ nature, its beautiful landscapes but also dead forests destroyed by fires. It is through this creative expression that the exhibition hopes to activate change.

“Art could change the world, art could change someone’s habits, mind,” says Anastasia. “It could be a turning point in our understanding of the world, and we would like to show people that visiting an art event cannot only be entertaining, but also thought-provoking, even educational.”

“We try to speak with the language of art and City Friends Club will provide the educational programme,” adds Polina.

In its efforts to make Re:Source more than just an exhibition, the event will feature a parallel events programme that everyone can enjoy. Environmental workshops, information stands by City Friends Club on recycling, joining clean-ups, volunteering to combat trash pollution and lectures will take place. Polina and Anastasia share how there will be a lecture about sustainable fashion and another one about theatre using the theme of ecology – all in English. What’s more, one artist will set up a treasure hunt to engage young children in the exhibition space and get them to explore it alternatively.

Creating an experience that welcomes visitors from all walks of life is important to the organisers.

“We want to attract a lot of people, not only the art world but families, children and students,” Polina says. The interactive events hope to achieve this and bring people closer to art whilst promoting young creatives who live in Cyprus.

“Our mission,” explains Anastasia, “is to promote young artists and to raise the young generation of collectors to show people that art might be affordable. We would like to bring art closer to people who are not in the art field. We want to build this bridge between the art world and ordinary people. It is closer than everyone thinks.”

The biggest challenge when curating an exhibition that is all about sustainability is to remain eco-focused in setting it up as well. For the event to stay eco-sustainable in all ways, the organisers are refusing to use paper leaflets and catalogues and instead have gone digital.

An exhibition, a social event, and an interactive show are all that make up the second and biggest edition Re:Source, creatively shining a light on the pressing environmental issues and engaging the public through art.

“We want to make people understand that everyone could make a change, a difference,” say Polina and Anastasia. “And that every person’s actions matter here in Cyprus and on our planet, to somehow help our children live in a better future.”


Group exhibition with local and international artists on the nature-human bond in response to trash pollution. May 17-21. The Warehouse by ITQuarter, Limassol. Opening night: 6pm. Saturday-Tuesday: 11am-7pm. www.cityfriends.club, www.artnow-agency.com