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With V P Vasuhan in Paris

A FEW DAYS in a bitterly cold Paris last month, when queues huddled outside the Galleries Nationales du Grand Palais to see works created in Vienna in 1900 by Klimt, Schiele. Moser and Kokoshka.

A trip around frozen corners to buy a catalogue, which eventually proved to be too heavy to carry home to Cyprus.

Then, at the Musee du Luxembourg, many, many works from the Phillips Collection: Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Degas, Cezanne, Manet, Renoir, Bonnard, for starters.

These were works I had never seen in the flesh, only reproductions in magazines.

So well-known but never been close to.

What a difference.

A whole difference.

Another trip; to the Musee Maillol, the Foundation Dina Vierny, with the current show billed as Picasso to Basquiate.

Dozens of paintings and sculptures by just as many artists.

The most revealing were sculptures by Germaine Richier, often quite frightening but certainly not without wit.

The Picasso was muted, almost gentle; the Basquiat variable but certainly progressive but really what does that mean now. The most startling was a wooden figure from Vietnam, by Jera. The most moving, a minimal form by Gorague, from Ethiopia.

My short trip had other joys. Memories too. Discovered that my hotel - by Gare du Nord (so near for a train to UK) - was where I had stayed at in the very early fifties during National Service.

I remembered the Baroque lift and on asking was told it was left from that time.

It is now very near the shopping area in Paris's Dixieme district, where many Sri Lankans have businesses and around a corner, at 23 Rue Louis Blanc, is the discreet shop that which has the best batik shirts anywhere.

They are much better than the ones I made in the hippy sixties and we wore at the Synergy shows.

Bought great saris for women friends.

In September. the Hindus in the district celebrated their Ganesha festival with everyone making a wish during the smashing of coconuts.

This was actually their tenth celebration in Paris.

My artist friend, V P Vasuhan, had made photographs of this year's event and would show them at the St Ouen Municipality to raise money for the tsunami victmson the Saturday before I returned to Cyprus

This turned out to be a wonderful evening.

Youngsters were having their faces painted. Photographs and paintings by Vasuhan were displayed for the cause.

Anik Garin, of Bayadere, was mistress of ceremonies covering a lively programme.

A group called Ethnic Electro Fusioners, led by a musician and announcer from a Sri Lankan TV station, played and later there were dances from Sri Lanka some in national/period costume.

Angeli Nanthakumare, in yellow attire, gave us "danse folklorique tamoule," a touch of pre-Bollywood in its charming style and popularity.

Yapa Senarath Chamal, who was in Cyprus (he's in my book actually), considering becoming a rural Bhuddist monk, is now happily settled down with his family in Paris, turned up from the suburbs and asked about the mezes restaurant in Kaimakli.

After the journey back to the hotel, there was Marcos Baghdatis on the telly and the world appeared very cosy in spite of the drop in temperature.

Panikos Tembriotis at Opus 39

THIS closes today, which is a pity.

The Last Supper, the Fair and the Cauliflower Enigma.

There is an excellent catalogue with important articles by Dr Niki Katsiaouni and Costas Reousis, which can be acquired from Gallery Opus 39.

This series of works by Tembriotis appears - to me as an outsider - the first to shake off certain powers which have had too much control over contemporary art in Cyprus.

A breakthrough.

Next at this gallery is Michael Gorman, from March 7.

His current exhibition includes work much-influenced by the fantastical rock formations of the Cyprus coastline and the intense light of the eastern Mediterranean.

Gorman, a permanent resident on the island, and it is proving a rich source of form of inspiration for his work

From notes: "Gorman has refined a more personal style of imagery and content, widening spheres of reference to include classical and renaissance architecture, formal gardens and landscapes.

"With its frequent allusion to the female nude, the work has a warm sensuous feel, often combined with a tranquil timeless atmosphere."

George Koumouros, at Apocalypse

NOTES by A Hadjithomas about the artist.

"A particular element of the artist's work is the complete absence of human figures. This is by no means an accident

"Each work opens numerous exits and passageways , stairs and bridges that each and everyone of us can penetrate, through alert eyes and, by extension, with their soul and walk the streets, leading to the idols, the symbols, the memories and the esoteric expressions of a poetic upgrading of the subconscious

"Through George Koumouros's work, emotions come alive, reproducing images, triggering the imagination, poetic settings full of passion, energy and vitality.

"It is an inner vitality, activating strength, harmony, suppleness , charm, resilience and flexibility and thus projecting the truthfulness in things."

Snails -Snails

DEMITRIS Neokleous is at Gallery Argo.

Here are some of his notes:

"What about freedom ?

"Are snails independent?

"If destruction is the beginning of creation, what is the role of creativity in the effort for survival before or after one big end?" (This has a double meaning back home)

The exhibition "Snails" - is research into utilitarian-figurative tents in the form of installations in space, plus photographs, drawings, video-projections and uniforms of escape - also installations in space.

Seek ways to escape and present built-up, figurative solutions as uniforms of escape to a utopia.

The Art Utopia.


DIACHRONIKI Gallery, Ledras, has an exhibition "The Cyprus that I Love" - paintings by A Thimer, opening tonight, March 3, at 7pm

Alexandre Sargsyan has a retrospective 1995-2005, which continues at Alpha G Gallery until March 4.

Maria Trillidou exhibits her paintings - entitled "Code Change" - at Diatopos from Saturday, March 11.

Rita Pantazi opens an exhibition until March 24 at Amorgos, Aglandjia.

It is dedicated to women:

Leftreis Economou, Christos Foukaras, Miriam Suhanova-Foukara, Olga Spanou Andreas Makariou, Andreas Chralambous, Stavros and Nikiforos Kalinov are the painters.

Stelios Votsis has a retrospective at Larnaca Municipal Gallery - 55 Years of Cultural Creation 1949 to 2005 - until the end of March.The exhibition was opened by Stass Paraskos

.Frixos Papatoniou has an exhibition of his geometric formalised abstracts until March 4 at Gallery Morphi, Limassol

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