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12 September 2004

Arts by Glyn Hughes

Our French connections

The magical abstraction of V.P. Vasuhan
Cypriots have studied there since the 1920s, the Embassy in Nicosia has organised the prestigious Matisse Prize 

and our artists often exhibit in the city. And now V.P. Vasuhan from Jaffna - who has painted here in Cyprus -

 has a show, too.
V.P. Vasuhan's exhibition in Paris was a great success. Set in the beautiful basement of Annick Garin's Bayadere 

(which is filled with magnificent contemporary hand-loomed Sri Lankan fabric) his work makes new insights into 

the art of painting. Eros appears to be present on a great deal of the canvases but with surface incisions, 

writing and collage Vasuhan captures a fantasy image which surely is inherited from Sri Lankan culture as 

much as his interest in French art.
Evoking spiritual thoughts, floating towards creative whimsy now and again, plus a great deal of wit, involvement in 

a passion for landscape and nature, and a strong interest in current affairs as well as an original slant on top drawer 

aesthetics is very welcome indeed.
If the artist can carry on with the same intriguing mixture Paris has ― via   Jaffna, Colombo, Nicosia  ― a most new 

and promising artist on its hands. He is an original. Call it magical abstraction.
Just like at any other opening, I bumped into visitors I knew in the past.
There was Senarath Yapa who encouraged me in Nicosia to paint fairly abstract canvases inspired by stories. 

One was titled Rivers stopped flowing to contemplate the Bodhisattva. The Mayor of Nicosia was not there but the

 Deputy Mayor of Saint Quen, Valerie Geoffroy added considerably to the atmosphere with her warmth and interest.
Arunthathi, the director of the film Muhum (Face) was involved in strong discussion with Vasu over the paintings.
Wearing traditional clothing, the classical music expert, thavli player Thaddshana Moorthi Uthayasangare found 

time from his world tour to call at Vasu's show.
A Mr P. Lenin from the "Raya Yoga" centre in Paris, but originally from Madras, took a keen interest in pictures 

with titles such as Savuku and Alaveddi.  A French woman looked stunning in a Bayadere original. A Mr Theepan - 

who remembered Kaimakli - was busy taking photographs while the gallery owner, Annick Garin, circulated with 

impacable style. Vasuhan opened the champagne.
The gallery is at 23 rue Louis Blanc 75010 Paris and the exhibition continues until 27th September.
Some titles: Raani Maami, Mermaid & Mouette 11, Cascade, Val d'Isere, I Mai 2004, Alaveddi, Sensyalite 

Francaise, Savuku, Quill, Women In the Paddy Field. Collection, Icone.


Europe calls
HauNch of  Venison, Haunch of  Venison Yard, London always keeps in touch with the Arts Page. An exhibition of 

Young German Art opened last night. Those participating are Andre Butzer, Michael Beutler, Bjorn Dahlem, Andreas 

Hofer, Michaela Meise, Josephne Meckseper, Markus Selg and Thomas Zipp.
From November 3, 2004  until 8 January 2005 the gallery hosts Keith Tyson with his Geno/Pheno Paintings.
This is Tyson's first major UK exhibition since winning the Turner Prize in 2002 and will present a significant 

body of previously unseen new work.
Tyson (British, born 1969) is one of the most innovative contemporary artists and is known for his extraordinary 

diverse body of work in painting, drawing and sculpture.
His highly original works result from his experiments with the form and content of art, and engagement with

 the theoretical studies that purport to explain the world.

Respect and homage to France
Cypriots  have studied in France since the early part of the 20th century. Loukia Nicolaidou 1929, Charilaos Dikaios 

1937, George Mavroides 1950 and Christoforos Savva 1956.
Also while I believe that Andreas Asproftas and Dr Vassos Lyssarides  went to study at a medical school, 

Andreas soon switched to painting while Vassos took up the brush later. Since those earlier times many more

 have studied there.
In 1997 seven artists, five Cypriot, one British (Fiona Stanbury), one Sri Lankan (V.P. Vasuhan), through 

EKATE (The Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts) payid homage to French paintings 1900-1960.
This was a highly gifted group working night and day at the Melina Hall to paint  huge paintings from French art.
Where are these works of art  now? Painted by our better talents and of much value. I remember the 

University here was not particularly interested. Too erotic (Gauguin!!!) or too French! 
Here is the list of HOMAGE TO FRENCH PAINTING 1900-1960, painted and exhibited at Melina Hall, 

November 1997.The Arts Page would love to know where they are now. Perhaps the artists of 

Cyprus could have them back. Double signed.
- Paul Cezanne
 'The Bathers' 1904-6. Painted by Fiona Stanbury
- Paul Gauguin
 'And the Gold of Their Bodies' 1901 (the artist died in 1903). Painted by Aristotelis Demetriou
 - Pablo Picasso
 'Les Demoiselles D'Avignon 1907. Painted by Aristotelis Demetriou.
   - Georges Braque
 'Bathing Women' 1907-8. painted by V. P. Vasuhan
 - Henri Matisse
 'Dance' 1910. Painted by Doros Heracleous
 - Vassily Kandinsky
 'Last Judgement' 1912 painted by V.P.  Vasuhan
 - Pablo Picasso
  'Guernica'  (detail) 1937 Painted by Stella Angelidou
 - Fernand Leger
'La Grande Julie' 1945 Painted by Eleni Papanicolaou
 - Pierre Bonnard
 'Wife in Bath' 1936 (the artist died in 1947) painted by Fiona Stanbury
 - Pierre Soulages
 'Painting' 1948 Painted by Stavros Stavrinis
 - Jean Fautrier
 'Small Hostage' 1943 painted by  Stavros Stavrinos
 - Yves Klein
 'Anthropometry of the Blue Period' 1960  painted by V.P. Vasuhan

It's a long march
into Europe

How out of touch are we? In detail. Our post Duchamp art breakthrough last season was Artrageous' 

Nomadifesta in Nicosia where after meeting at Solomos Square, hundreds of artists walked to Casteliotissa 

with their art-filled suitcases.
Yet in Paris I never saw a single suitcase outside Gard du Nord.
At least not those kind you carried in the hand or needed a porter.
Only Adonis Serghiou (aged 3) pulled along his belongings on wheels on that ever-so-pleasant walk to Paphos Gate.
But note the number of artists.
There is no doubt at all that the art scene is extraordinarily energetic.
We certainly have the talent.
In abundance, in fact.

Group exhibition in memory of Michalis Kashalos

This homage organised by Nicos Psatharis of Kypriaki Gonia, Larnaca has been superbly orchestrated 

from the start to the present excellent display of Cypriot art hung in the gallery.
The exhibition will continue until 30 September. The works are very well chosen with many outstanding 

paintings by our women artists Maria Tourou and Xenia Panteli have superb work on display.
Remember, Kypriaki Gonia is closed on a Thursday. The gallery is efficiently high-tech, having a busy 

web site; tel 24 621109 for more information 
While I was admiring Michalis' 1965 painting of the Green Line - full of humour actually -  

Kyriacos, the son of Kashalos walked in.
He also is an artist and has two works in the show.
Kyriacos had read the Arts Page two weeks ago and said that  as a small boy he too used to come to the 

English School with his dad to collect the instalments on the master's paintings. He remembered me 

visiting his mother at Famagusta General Hospital, too.





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