June 10, 2023

Gülseven Atay Coles & Christine E. Venediger with Girne Mayor Murat Şenkul

Thursday Artists Gülseven Atay Coles & Christine E. Venediger at the Girne Belediye Art Gallery….

By Heidi Trautmann…..

A lovely opening last night the 10th May 2023 to a very well-prepared exhibition. I have appreciated the well-proportioned hanging plan, it creates a beautiful picture in itself, a colourful scenery of the ‘Mystic of Cyprus’. Our Mayor Murat Şenkul arrived as a surprise guest and the exhibition could be opened in time to a full house of guests and friends of the two artists. I repeat here the text of my opening speech, it best describes the character of the exhibition and the inspirations that led the artists in their work. The exhibition is open to visiting until Saturday only, so don’t miss it. The artists will both be present. Visiting hours are 09.00-16.00 hrs.

Dear Guests, dear Friends, and dear Gülseven and Christine….

What is Art? Art does not begin at the tip of the brush or any other tool, art, and creativity start in our brain…. but the brain needs to be fed by our senses, therefore, Art should be celebrated and done every day in whatever form, because it opens our senses, prepares them to see and to listen, also to smell the jasmine in the roads of the island’s cities. With time we will be able to use them all, to observe deeply and so it will allow us to understand and recognize interrelations, it will make us look around and not just see ourselves or the virtual world behind the screen of our phone or computer. From here our creative urge will further develop and will demand more. Art is language and communication. Art is full awareness. The learning of how to use the tools and the many techniques in the Arts is absolutely necessary, however, it will not make us an artist if our senses are not developed, it is like using a freshly sharpened pencil when starting a drawing.

I wanted to begin my words of welcome with this general introduction for all of us and it applies to our two artists Gülseven Atay Coles and Christine Venediger who are both well aware of it and practice it. They both share a love for Cyprus; the one a Cypriot, born in Pafos, the other a world traveller, who came to the island to live and work here in 2006. Besides working in their own art studios, both are members of ‘The Thursday Artists’, and you may find their story in my book which is laid out here for you to see. Also laid out are their biographies with more details on their artistic life and development.

Gülseven and Christine named their exhibition ‘Mystic of Cyprus’. It is based on their connection to nature and history, their awareness of the special Cyprus light, and the transparency created through the closeness of mountains and the sea – which by the way has attracted many artists since the Middle Ages to come here and explore the mystic charm of the island – and the many legends which exist on hills and mountain tops, and in the ruins of the historical past.

Having worked together for many years, we know each other well; both artists are very sensitive in how far nature is concerned which inspires them in their work. Gülseven says that she has always been seeking to live near pure nature, and especially from her childhood in Pafos she remembers the wide fields with wildflowers, or the garden of her grandmother where she created her own world of fantasy and took on the role of a flower fairy. The smell of jasmine, lemon blossoms, and roses in her grandmother’s garden has never left her and the desire to remain within the range of nature is reflected in her paintings of the past and of today with themes of the earth, of the sea and of trees down to the undergrowth of fields and meadows. Nature for her is life itself, from birth to death, with love and passion; nature is purity and safety for her. She says: I don’t encounter problems in nature. I am part of nature.

Christine says that she got her inspirations in her painting career from the many years she lived in Norway with its special lights and colours and then from slowly sailing around the world with its everchanging light conditions and colour palettes on the seas and on land… and also by the stories of different cultures and people encountered during the years of travelling. And, when in 2006 she came to Cyprus via the Suez Canal, she met again with new conditions; she got enchanted by the beauty of the wildflowers along the hiking trails in the Kyrenia mountain range. She loves hiking there, especially in the spring season when nature explodes and its brilliant colours compete with the blue of the sky and the sea …. and from those moments she brought bunches home to study and memorized them on canvas or paper. And while she explored the island, she came across the ruins of deserted stone dwellings, monasteries in the valleys, and crusader castles perched on the highest peaks, but also the antique treasures found in the sea near Girne, and now on display in the castle, have ignited her imagination and inspired her to see history come alive, and so she was led to bring her interpretations of the Mystic of Cyprus onto canvas.

Who does not remember the stories of King Arthur and the Crusaders who once came to Cyprus, or the many legends that surround the Girne Castle or St. Hilarion?

Let us now be enchanted by the artists’ interpretations of the Mystic of Cyprus. I wish you a pleasant evening.

But before we do so, Christine Venediger would like to say some words to you and I hand over the microphone…….

To see more pictures please visit my Facebook page.

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