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Messenger of love February 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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A new exhibition details angels in all their shapes and forms

Ah, love is in the air. Yes, it’s approaching that day, awaited by all loved up couples with glee and which all singletons wish didn’t exist. Oh but that’s a big fat lie isn’t it? All single females actually pretend they don’t care about what day it is but when, in the privacy of their own homes, the sun rises on February 14, the reality is ever so slightly different.

I’m sure we’ve all done it. The alarm rings and even before we’ve had a chance to yawn, we’re manically sprinting for the front door in the secret hope that there’s a beautiful bouquet of 12 red roses on the doorstep.

But there’s usually no roses, and once the letter box has been opened, doormat lifted, next door neighbour’s porch checked, we realise that we officially hate Valentines Day and vow to cross the date out of our diaries next year. We then shamelessly enter the office with our head held high and declare that we just don’t ‘do’ Valentines when asked if we’ve got a date for the evening. Don’t they know that such traditions are just so pass?

No matter how you view the occasion, at least there are a few things that come with the whole shebang that can brighten up your evening. Out come the romantic movies that you love to hate, out come all the delicious chocolates you hate to love, and somehow out comes a dramatic declaration of how important and precious all your single friends are after you’ve just poured every last drop out of that second bottle of red wine.

But maybe this year is the time to get off the couch, show your face in public and go along to a great event that you don’t have to be a couple to enjoy. This year, Gallery K in Nicosia is celebrating the occasion with an exhibition about angels, in which 30 Cypriot and foreign artists come together to show their paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and photography. It’s an eclectic and exciting collection of work where each artist has interpreted the dynamics of the theme, bringing to it their own fascinating ideas. Lovebirds can take their partner along for a little angel gazing, while single ladies or gents can take their friends along and discuss all the reasons why angels may really have nothing to do with Valentines Day whatsoever. After all, no one even knows for sure whether the day is even related to the sacred Saint Valentine.

Whether truly associated with Valentines or not, for millennia angels have been a recurring image in the visual arts of many civilizations and cultures, from the earliest Sumerian images of 4000BC to the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe. The symbolism is at its most elaborate in the Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths. As supernatural winged deities in human form, they appear in many different roles, as god-like messengers of divine orders, as the personification of inspiration, ecstasy and love, the sacred or profane.

In today’s world, where even angels are viewed as money-making attractions, there are cheesy song lyrics that declare ‘you’re my darling angel’, there are perfumes called ‘angel’ with half naked models sprawled across the advert, and there’s even a namesake TV show that has more to do with vampires and all things horrid than divine creatures. Yet, despite all the rather crude commercial usage, the angel as the embodiment of purity prevails and still has the power to evoke awe and wonder.

The current exhibition at Gallery K contains something for everyone in a captivating collection of imaginative, poetic and powerful images. And don’t think of all those tacky distasteful designs with angels holding big red hearts that you’re likely to see gracing shop windows this time of year. Actually, some of the paintings don’t even depict an angel at all, but somehow still convey a feeling of purity and the world of spirituality.

“I’m interested in ideology and symbolism,” says one of the exhibitors, Toula Mala. “Angels for me mean hope, love and creativity. In one of my sculptures, I’ve carved a man with giant wings while a woman holds a child tightly against her chest.” Painter Mattheos Christou, on the other hand, uses deep reds on canvas to express compassion and love, while blue hues depict spirituality and all the things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. “Angels have concerned and fascinated the human race for a very long time and my own work is just an example of how I personally perceive them,” says Christou. “The main difficulty for me was showing something spiritual in a more concrete and human form. So I chose to make the characters in my works slightly dream like with curved bodies and hands pointing upwards towards the heavens. It’s all about peace, calmness and simplicity.” Among the other exhibitors are Emmaneul Baudin, Zenon Zepras, Mychael Barratt and Miriam Butler.

So here’s a thought. Get the girls together, enjoy a glass of wine (just one), and take a wander down to Gallery K and maybe you’ll find some unique pieces of fine art that would look fabulous in your apartment. And here’s the best bit. You don’t have to spend hours convincing your other half that the empty wall over the double bed desperately needs some exceptional art to give the whole room a new look. Spending Valentines with the girls doesn’t seem so bad after all!

The Angel > 30 artists exhibiting drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture and photography. Opens February 14, until March 10. Gallery K, 14 Evrou Street, Strovolos, Nicosia. Monday-Friday 10am-1pm and 4-8pm. Saturdays 10am-1pm. Tel: 22-341122. www.gallery-k.co.uk. email: galleryk@cytanet.com.cy

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