November 30, 2023

By Heidi Trautmann….

The 5th International Vounous Terracotta Symposium which officially opened on 9th September 2023

One of my friends made this short video, it represents the atmosphere during the lighting of the fire at the site of Vounous much better than just words, you hear the wonderful dreamlike voice of Sim Ge, her playing the flute, and the rhythm she beats. It was the moment the king descends from the hills with his entourage to receive his crown of gold. This crown was made by the archaeologist Giovanna Fregni who has been with the Vounous project from the beginning, and it was also her who put the crown on his head, the king being played by Şenol Özdevrim. He looked beautiful. The entourage of young lovely women brought the fire from the mountain to light the fire for the community. Giovanna was wearing a costume she had made herself and the golden boar’s head she wears around her neck she had just finished these last days according to old designs.

The opening ceremony had started around 6.00 pm with the sun still there creating a soft light over the busy place full of guests. Rauf Ersenal as head of the project welcomed the guests followed by speeches given by the honoraries from the Çatalköy Belediye and finally our President Ersin Tatar who made a passionate speech about our island and, at the end, also addressed the foreign artists and guests in English wishing them a memorable stay on the beautiful island of Cyprus.

I made the round again to see the work progress in the various huts and I could take photos of some now completed works. I need to say here that the clay is from Cyprus, collected in the valleys by Rauf Ersenal and his team. Hopefully, one day we will be able to see all the works in a Vounous Museum.

While I write this text one day later, some of the ceramic artists from abroad will be at the Archaeological Museum in Nicosia South, where many of the findings of the Bronze Ages can be seen; it is a most important place to visit if we want to begin to understand the past of the island. Other findings are in museums in Stockholm and in England. That was one of the reasons to create replicas of the treasures of Cyprus, often in original size and on the basis of photos.

From one of the guest artists, Élisabeth Le Retif, from France I received as a present a small booklet on Vounous she created when in 2020 due to the pandemic the symposium did not take place and she sat in her studio full of plans and ideas. She completed her project there and documented it together with her friend Elsa Lucas in a very sophisticated and poetic way as a sort of theatre play with various acts. Hélas, it is in French only.

So, many of the Vounous Symposium guest artists carry their experiences and impressions back home to work on them and share them in studies with others and also as lectures in universities or international archaeological meetings around the world. They should all be part of a future museum.

The work continues in Vounous until the 16th of September from 17.00 – 22.00 daily.

My respect to all the artists and helpers in this wonderful project.

To see more pictures please visit my Facebook page

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