September 30, 2023


By Heidi Trautmann ….

Since the time I started following and writing about the art scene on the island, the realisation of an art museum has always been in the foreground of my thoughts, my articles and books, my speeches.

Several goodwill activities were undertaken in this direction but it never came to a successful end.  See my article by clicking here

Now, finally, the Board of Trustees of the Near East University, with Dr. Suat I. Günsel as its founder, have – two years ago – not only announced the realisation of a Cyprus Modern Art Museum but have in fact carried it through: On Thursday, 9th August 2018, we celebrated the laying of the foundation in the presence of politicians of the first row and art lecturers, guest artists from Turkic countries and local artists. Nothing will stop it now.

The open air ceremony took place at the foot of the Directorate Building and right in front of the construction site. The guests found protection from the burning sun under a big tent; all that went on around us was filmed from above by a drone, giving us a bird’s view of the construction site and us, the guests  under the tent, on a big screen opposite the tent. All speakers spoke about the importance of the project not only for giving a proper home to the local art work since its very beginning but also as a point of interest and information for guests and tourists to learn more about the culture and arts of the country, and finally as an instrument of education for the present and future generations of Turkish Cypriots. Among the speakers were the rectors of the university, Dr. Suat I. Günsel, Dr. I. Suat Günsel, Dr. Ümit Hassan, our President Mustafa Akinci, our Minister President Tufan Erhürman, the Minister of Education Cemal Özyiğit,  Prof. Dusen KASSEINOV Secretary General of Türksoy who was guest of the university with artists from Turkic countries. After we had stood up for the anthem the above-mentioned speakers were called to the red buttons which initiated two cannons to release hundreds of coloured balloons and paper chips into the blue sky.

Here is some background information

In two separate exhibitions during the last two years, see links below, Dr. Suat I. Günsel, the Founding Rector of the Near East University, had opened his treasure chest to show his collection of Turkish Cypriot artists and those will be the basis collection the museum is going to start with. It is planned to open the museum in 2020. Its director is Dr. Mustafa Hastürk who has been lecturer of the Fine Arts and Art Counsellor to Dr. Suat I. Günsel. In two years they will start looking for suitable experts in the field of art history, museum administration and curating. The architect of the modern building is Prof. Dr. Türköz Kolozali who is also a lecturer at the Near East University and Head of the Department of Architecture.

Exhibition 1 – click here

Exhibition 2 – click here

The following is the vision of the university and its founder and of the director of the future museum:

‘The museum will be designed and built as a structure with all the features of a modern art museum. Works of painters will be included in the museum, which will guide the history of Turkish Cypriot art throughout the Cyprus art history day by day and leave a mark on the artistic development of our society. Activities will be carried out in the field of plastic arts such as exhibitions, conferences, open sessions, film and slide shows, with the museum being used for the latest technological audiovisual and visual systems. In addition to these activities, the Art and Art Museum will host courses and seminars to be organized in the field of plastic arts.

The modern building is being built on a 12,000 square metre indoor area, Near East University adopted the creative and inventive modern architecture. The museum will house a spacious foyer with 1500 person capacity, 4 permanent collection halls, 3 sculpture-installation exhibition halls and 2 photography exhibition halls. The museum will also be in service with conference and Cine-Vision halls with a capacity of 120 people for artistic events including conferences and symposia related to the world of art, studios and labs for analysing and restoring rare artworks, photo-studios and experts’ offices, meeting rooms, repair and maintenance workshops, air-conditioned storage system for the preservation of special artworks, fully equipped art library and archive. The museum will also house souvenirs, printed publications, catalogues and counting units’.

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