Mountain villages between stagnation and dissolution
Photodocumentary and multimedia installation 2019-2020
In Cyprus, 66.8 percent of the population already live in urban areas. Rural poverty, poor infrastructure and the war and conflicts with the British occupiers and with the Turkish troops made both internal migration and emigration major issues within the Cypriot population. The consequences of urbanization and rural exodus are highlighted in the project that was realized in the villages of Spilia-Kourdali and Kannavia, which are located on the northern slopes of the Troodos Mountains. In 30 years the population of the region has decreased by 50 percent and there are no people under the age of 24 in one fifth of the area. Younger people in particular leave the villages in the hope of a better future; the older population is left behind and the community is gradually dissolving. The photographic work was first shown and exhibited in Spilia-Kourdali and then exhibited as a multimedia installation in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The topography of the island of Cyprus is determined by mountain masses, the physical features of which determine people's lives. The Troodos Mountains cover a large part of the south of the island and some parts of the west and take up about a third of the total area. The mountain region is climatically much cooler than the rest of the island; heavy rain and snowfall determine the winter months. In order to save heating costs, many of the residents live in the lowlands with their children in winter. During the summer months, the heat in the lowlands is a reason for a second home in the Troodos Mountains.
After heavy rains, the landscape shines in strong green tones, before there was a lot of dust in the air, which affected some people and caused them breathing problems. We learned from the Ministry of the Environment that the dust from the war in Syria was reaching Cyprus and covering the landscape. The rain washed the dust off the branches, leafage and plants until a few days later the landscape was covered with pollen from the pine trees and turned yellow.
In many households, but also in the taverns and cafes, there are photos of people who are celebrated and honored as local heroes. They fought against the British occupiers in the underground organization EOKA. A recurring portrait is that of Costas Anaxagora (bottom left in the picture): »Costas Anaxagora was born on June 20, 1935 in Spilia, Nicosia district. He was one of the first to lead the troops of the legendary EOKA after the historic Battle of Spilia in December 1955. He acted as a liaison between the groups in the region and kept hiding places for the organization's explosives and weapons. He also took part in raids and other missions. He was found dead on the day of his 23rd birthday« (Press and Information Office). EOKA was the only anti-colonial movement in the world that wanted to join another country and not demand its own independence. The old wish, the enosis, the connection to Greece, is the idea of a union of the Greek people across several national borders.
© 2021 — Lisbon, Portugal