Irish Artist Miriam Mc Connon creates Common Ground between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot Communities in Cyprus.
The two Communities have been divided for 42 Years following a Turkish Invasion of the Island in 1974 after a coup by the Greek military Junta against the Cypriot government. The partition known as the Green Line opened in 2003 but still movement is restricted between the two communities.
Irish Artist Miriam Mc Connon is the creator of the project Common Ground. A Bi-communal art project aimed to bring Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot children from opposite sides of the Green Line partition closer together. The project Common Ground is one of the main events to celebrate the Cypriot City of Paphos becoming Cultural Capital of Europe in 2017.
A series of workshops took place in the town of Kerynia (Northern Cyprus) and the town of Paphos (Republic of Cyprus) from February to April 2016 in which the children created a public artwork using the Cypriot technique of cementography. The project’s main theme was ‘Exchange’. During the workshops the children exchanged drawings, stones and earth from their towns. The children from the two communities did not meet during the workshops but they exchanged two small films in which they sent messages to eachother and talked about their home town. The artwork created in Paphos was created using the stones, earth and drawings from the children of Kerynia and the artwork in Kerynia was created using the stones, earth and drawings from the children of Paphos. A part of Pahos will now remain in Kerynia and a part of Kerynia will remain in Paphos through the finished public artworks.
A documentary was filmed during the workshops, which incorporates the political situation that divides the two communities and the attitudes of the children and their families to the idea of working together to create more dialogue between the two communities.
In June 2016 both artworks will be presented to the Municipalities of Kerynia and Paphos and the first screening of the documentary ‘Common Ground’ will take place. Many of the families aim to cross the border in June to allow the children involved in the project to meet eachother for the first time.
Miriam Mc Connon was born in Dublin, Ireland. She now lives in Paphos, Cyprus with her Cypriot husband and two children. Her motivation for creating this project comes from her belief in the people of Cyprus’ ability to overcome political differences through dialogue and cultural interaction. She hopes that there will be many more Bi –communal cultural events in the future that will help to break down the border of preconceptions that lies between two communities that have had little or no contact for over forty years.
Miriam Mc Connon is a visual artist and is represented by the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin. She has been selected for international biennales in China, Poland and Czech Republic. Her work is in public and private collections in Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Cyprus, UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, Australia, South Africa, Greece, Belgium and the USA.