This collection of paintings and stories is the fruit of an artist’s commitment to a divided city.
Angus Reid paints in the company of cats in dead-end streets along the Green Line. And then from the rooftops, in the company of birds.
This is Nicosia as you’ve never seen it before.
Artist: Angus Reid more info
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The Nicosia to be found in Angus Reid’s work has an unexpected magnificence, full of colour and full of humanity. He situates himself in places that have been neglected, and forgotten, and hidden from view. He revels in their beauty and whispers their secrets.
‘When I first came to Nicosia it was an invisible city. The division felt like somewhere that creativity stopped. Throughout my life I have felt this as a challenge and the best way I know to meet it has been to start by painting right there, directly in the dead-end streets. To do this I have a privilege. I am an outsider. My responsibility is not to judge, or take sides. It is to make a vision of the facts.’
NICOSIA PAINTER is the fruit of a dedicated commitment to a divided city, and a one-off combination of fine art and literary writing.
The early paintings, from 1986, bristle with tension. The later paintings, from 2015, criss-cross the line and are at ease in the working-class communities on either side. When the paintings were first exhibited in Cyprus they caused a minor sensation. It may be hard to believe, but people hadn’t considered that the other side was in colour.
The work begins at street-level and ends on the rooftops with an ambitious sequence of urban panoramas made from the top of Selimiye Camii, Agia Sophia, the vast Lusignan cathedral that dominates the town. It is the centre-point, encircled by the city walls and the great circumference of the Mesaoria plain. From this point of view the city can be seen as a whole, and no other artist has been able to render these views. The sheer difficulty – practical, political and artistic – is described in the essay ‘In the Company of Birds’, and the images themselves are lavishly reproduced and explored in detail.
The portrait of the city would be incomplete, however, without the account of what it feels like to explore the Green Line that bisects it. An aura of strangeness surrounds these streets that have been off-limits and suspended in time for nearly 50 years. In this place, painting was prohibited. Angus Reid finds another way in, with words, and the story ‘Trust Game’ takes you inside, to the heart of the forbidden zone.
From this long-standing artistic commitment, he has created a unique book. With beautiful design and in full colour, NICOSIA PAINTER is an essential companion and an ideal gift. It will appeal to those who live in Nicosia, to those who care about it, to those who visit, and to those who are simply curious to taste this singular oriental city, to explore it, and to reflect.
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