Artist Con Emmanuelle presents an exhibition about Cyprus before 1950, inspired by the stories of his compatriots in Australia.

The artistic installation features vintage photographs, video testimonies, posters and paintings by Con Emmanuelle exhibited, show a Cyprus before 1950. That very Cyprus is what Con’s family and friends left behind to migrate to Australia.

The artist documented his parents’, relatives’ and friends’ stories on video. Then he managed to collect numerous vintage original photographs of the period prior to 1950, creating a file that provides information on the socioeconomic status of the Cypriots, the effect of migration on both the migrants and the Cypriots who stayed behind.

Con’s photographic file is a very important database on Cyprus’ cultural history.

Placed alongside the vintage photos are unique one-off paintings by Con.

The 12 paintings on display explore the traditions and cultural heritage of the island and feature some of the most beautiful landmarks and iconic symbols of Cyprus.

“Before I created my drawings depicting life in Cyprus, I spent a year exploring and experimenting with a variety of traditional media and techniques,” he says.

“I decided after much internal debate that the monochromatic tones of graphite would best express my depiction of a bygone era.”

To add to his drawings, Con also created tourism posters of the era, that acted as an enticement to would-be travellers to visit far away exotic locations during the first half of the 20th century. While the rest of the world was enjoying a vibrant influx of tourists, Cyprus remained relatively unknown to many people during this time.

“With this first series of poster art, I have attempted to invent a historical past that hopefully promotes Cyprus as a popular tourism destination,” Con says.

“My ultimate goal will be to stage my ‘Tales of Cyprus’ event in the capital Nicosia in 2016. That is my goal”.

The exhibition will be held till 11 January at the Chapel off Chapel gallery, in Prahran, Melbourne.

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