‘HOME’ is an international photographic project organized by ex-Artis Cultural Association in Cyprus and it is based on the collaboration of photographers from different cultural orientations under the guidance of specialists of photography. Photographers from Pafos, Limasol, Nicosia, Bucharest, Patra and Thessaloniki participate in this project.
The project started on the 27th of June 2017 in Drousia, a village in Pafos district in Cyprus, as an artists’ residency and workshop for 6 days. Twelve photographers had the opportunity to learn from two experts of photography: Jason Eskenazi (USA) and Achilles Nasios (Sweeden) who introduced them in a dialogue and self-awareness, linked to their cultural expertise, to re-define the idea of ‘home’.
Through this workshop, the photographers had the opportunity to share their own work and get feedback from the two educators. Moreover, they were introduced in a discussion about what photography does and how they can produce images based on their memories, feelings, emotions and discovering themselves through photography. It appeared that even though ‘home’ is a simple word it encloses great complexity.
Answering ‘what does home mean to you?’ provided numerous explanations depending on different thoughts and feelings that came up. For some it is a place or a location where something grows or originates. For others it is a social unit formed by a family living together or a congenial environment where they feel safe and loved or even the house that they live in. For some others it is a more abstract notion which has to do with their psychosynthesis and emotions.
After the introductive workshop, the photographers spent 3 days photographing in Drousia and the wider location in an effort to produce photographs on the idea of ‘home’ aiming to communicate their own understanding and perception of ‘home’ in an unknown environment. The educators/supervisors provided guidance and tried to push the photographers to their limits so they could interrogate their ideas of what ‘home’ really means to them. Private sessions with the two experts took place in an effort to help each photographer decide his/her approach of the idea. Based on this guidance, the photographers continued producing photos until the last day. In a community assembly on the last night of the residence, all participants projected their work and got feedback from the educators.
The project continued with the photographers producing photos at their places of origin based on the same idea for the next three months. The photographs they have produced from both locations have been included in a book and an exhibition (curated by Cheryl Newman) in Pafos in 17th December 2017 while efforts are made to transfer the exhibition in Nicosia and abroad (proposals are welcomed).
Even though ‘home’ is a simple word it encloses great complexity. Answering ‘what does home mean to you?’ would provide numerous explanations depending on different thoughts and feelings that come up when you hear or think of the word. Thus, HOME is never a fixed condition. It is more a product of interactions and relations, shaped by changing cultural frameworks and experiences.
Cyprus as a historical place linking three continents has been the home of several cultures. Its prehistoric age inhabitants were joined by the Mycenaean Greeks 3500 years ago, who introduced and established their civilization, thus permanently instilling the island’s Greek roots. Many other cultures followed since then, including Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, British, all leaving behind visible traces of their passage. Thus, Cyprus, as the easternmost part of Europe, constitutes a cultural bridge between people of different religions, cultures and ways of life.
Photography has the power to approach this matter. The challenge for photographers and artists selected for the HOME project was to reveal their imaginative sensitivity and their empathic sight to explore and become the interpreters of such a complex and dynamic idea.