Exhibtion - Nicosia: Topgraphies of Memory
Nicosia’s walled city has always been the place where the many layers of Cyprus’ cultures and histories converged. However, the multiple perspectives offered by Nicosia’s history have been held in the shadows, as traditional narratives of the past have focused on singular points of view. With the division of the city from the 1950s onwards the vibrant urban landscape, with its rich set of social, cultural and economic relations, was radically altered, leading to the decay of the areas around the Green Line.
Nicosia: Topographies of Memory presents the research of Anita Bakshi, who sought to uncover the memories of Ermou Street, now enclosed within the buffer zone, and the areas around it, where all communities in Cyprus traded and shopped together. This area is an important resource, containing a wealth of information about the nature of coexistence or conflict between diverse communities in Cyprus.
This exhibition attempts to bring this information to light by reconstructing the Ermou marketplace – using maps that were created from memories and narratives provided by shopkeepers who once worked or lived in this area. The exhibition reveals that memories are incomplete and oftentimes in conflict with each other, raising the question of how we may seek to grapple with complex and varied portrayals of the past. In many ways, the exhibition is only a starting point for a much longer process of asking more questions about how learning about and from the past can carry on.