In May and June 2018, I held my first ever exhibition at the Centre of Visual Arts and Research (CVAR) in Nicosia, Cyprus. I showed 22 works drawn in pen and ink of places I had visited in the previous 9 months of living on that Mediterranean island.
Securing the opportunity at CVAR
The exhibition came about in part due to a tip off from my friend Angus Reid, himself a very successful and accomplished Scottish artist living in Cyprus, who appreciated my work and felt that not only would it be worthy of public display but that CVAR, with its collection of works with a Cypriot theme, would be the ideal forum. Angus knew Rita Severis, the owner and curator of CVAR, and lobbied her on my behalf. Angus’s efforts paid off and Rita generously granted me an audience.
I was very nervous when I first met her – I had never had my work scrutinised for a possible exhibition before. Rita examined my work with the sort of inscrutible, deadpan facial expression that has probably served her well down the years when faced with others offering up work in a similar way, but when she had finished casting her eye over my drawings she said: ‘get the pictures framed, do some flyers and the foyer is yours’. She liked them. I had my breakthrough.
Preparation and opening
Thereafter, a considerable amount of effort was expended, both in the UK and Cyprus, designing and arranging for the printing of flyers, finding a framer, selecting mounts and mouldings, distributing flyers and hanging the framed drawings in the gallery.
The exhibition finally opened on 29 May and I received plenty of positive feedback:
‘A wonderful collection of drawings. Well done! You are very talented.’ David W, Lancaster.
‘Simply wonderful. The Agia Sophia captured my heart. Thank you and congratulations’ Elizabeth Bucher
‘Lovely work. Clean and evocative.’ Marina Parisinou.
The exhibition was picked up by the local press and I was delighted it was given coverage in the local English language newspapers, the Cyprus Mail and Cyprus Today.
In addition to my gratitude to Angus and Rita, thanks go to my wife’s niece Kate, for introducing me to Ruth, the nice Armenian lady at Moufflon Books in Nicosia, and to Ruth herself for providing me with the introduction to Angus and the framers at Zampelas Art, Nicosia. Thanks also to Demetris Demetriou at Zampelas Art for the framing, plus my sister Jane for her assistance in designing the flyers.
Thanks also to Maria Galanti from the Italian Embassy in Nicosia, who commissioned me on the strength of my work in the exhibition to prepare a series of drawings for her.