This book is dedicated to the enclaved Greek-Cypriots of Ayia Triada, who for thirty long years have lived in the occupied northern part of Cyprus. Following the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974, they refused to leave their homes in the Karpas peninsula and throw away their keys. In spite of a thirty years without freedom, in spite of humiliations on a daily basis, in spite of inhuman circumstances and their status as outlaws, these brave people, remained loyal to their country and to themselves.
The Cypriot artist Toula Liasi, whose parents are amongst these eighty-five Greek Cypriots, wanted to honour these steadfast people. They have been praised by politicians, ambassadors, representatives of the United Nations and members of the European Parliament since the Turkish invasion in 1974, but no artist had yet dedicated an artistic monument to them. Toula Liasi, who believes in the powerful expressiveness of art, felt obliged to create such a monument while they are still alive. Her aim is to honour these people, not only for the brave way in which they have coped with the difficulties of life over thirty years but also for their optimism, solidarity and love for their compatriots.
Toula Liasi fled from her parents’ village in 1975 and went to study Fine Arts in Athens. She left Athens in 1980 to complete her studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, The Netherlands. It was not until twenty years later that she was able to go back for some days. Since April 2003 it is possible for her to visit her parents and stay in her parental home in Ayia Triada.
I met Toula shortly after she had come to The Netherlands. It was a surprise for her to meet a Dutch archaeologist who was not only deeply involved in Cypriot archaeology but also in the Cyprus problem. This was partly the result of my meetings with numerous refugees from the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus, while excavating with the Department of Antiquities in Larnaca. Over the years we have always stayed in contact. I visited her parents in their home at Ayia Triada and met other Greek Cypriots from the village during my first visit to the Karpas peninsula in the summer of 2004.
This book, which accompanies Toula’s exhibition in Kasteliotissa, is inspired by the tragic fate of the eighty-five enclaves still living at Ayia Triada. It expresses her deep motivation to honour these people before they die. Toula’s artwork, is not intended to be of an informative nature. She doesn’t show how the enclaves live. They are impressions which are formed throughout the years, translated and expressed by her own style, feelings and perception.
Drs Stella M.