Date

EMPACT - 1st Collaborative Interdisciplinary Artistic Projects

“Participatory Community Mural: Migration, Empathy, Nature, Sustainability”

Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) | 22, 23 September 2023
Agia Varvara Kaimakli, Cyprus

We are pleased to announce the 2-day artistic project “Participatory Community Mural: Migration, Empathy, Nature, Sustainability” in the framework of the innovative project “EMPACT – Empathy and Sustainability: The Art of Thinking like a Mountain”, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe Programme (Grant Agreement No: 101055903 – EMPACT – CREA-CULT-2021-COOP-2), coordinated by Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) and the Asst. Professors Efi Kyprianidou and Yiannis Christidis. 

The artistic project is organized by CUT in collaboration with the festival “Pame Kaimakli” and will be held in Greek language.

This interdisciplinary project is the result of the collaboration between the architect and Lecturer at the University of Cyprus Konstantinos Avramidis and the street artist Vasilis Vasiliou (aka Twenty-Three) in the production of a socially-engaged mural and an associated workshop. 

The workshop — which precedes the mural — aims in engaging the local community as well as equipping it with practical skills to participate in the creation of the mural hosted in the neighbourhood of Kaimakli. For the creation of the mural solely carbon neutral spray-paint as well as recycled cardboard paper are used. The participation is open to everyone following a public invitation realised within the context of the Pame Kaimakli annual festival. The workshop takes the form of a walk that seeks to map urban elements and imprints of local hidden histories in the neighborhood. These are to be transferred in the mural by the individuals who will have tracked them. Engaging members of communities in activities aims at exploring shared experiences and understanding different perspectives. The mural itself is a collaborative effort, representing the collective aspirations of the participants towards a more empathetic and inclusive society.

 

The theme and iconography of the mural address issues of social and environmental sustainability in the divided city of Nicosia. They focus on promoting interspecies inclusivity as well as undermining the notion of borders on the island. They take migratory birds that call Cyprus home as a starting point, symbolizing the interconnectedness of all beings whilst challenging the conceptual and physical existence of borders. This inclusion signifies the importance of extending empathy beyond human boundaries and fostering compassion towards all living beings. The portrayal of birds with human characteristics and elements of the local Cypriot culture is used to critically comment on the cultural/natural divide whilst encouraging viewers and participants to empathise with nature, promoting a sense of responsibility towards environmental preservation and sustainability. At the same time, this adds a multiscalar dimension to the project: it highlights how the local social ecosystem interacts with and mutually shapes and is being shaped by global environment. 

Geographically, the wall of mural/workshop is in close proximity to the green line (less than 100m). Kaimakli district is demographically and historically characterised by displacement, refugeedom and compassion. Thus this imagery and socially-engaged approach serves as a reminder of the power of empathy in nurturing unity within the community and cultivating an interspecies ethos. 

If you are an artist, arts manager, cultural professional, researcher, educator, student, or representative of a business company interested in cultural development, join us! 

The workshop is free of charge.

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Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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