Ismet Vehit Güney, ”Women in Mesaoria”, 1950, Oil on canvas, Collection of Costas and Rita Severis Foundation
Ismet Vehit Güney was a Turkish Cypriot painter and cartoonist that drew something you certainly all know: the flag of the Republic of Cyprus! This flag, as you know, is unique since no other flag other than this one portrays a map.
Ismet drew this painting which now belongs to the museum’s collection and portrays a characteristic scene from the Cypriot countryside until the mid 20th century, the harvest, meaning the cutting and collection of grains.
Did you know that…
A plain is a large flat area of land. Plains are usually very fertile and that is why usually people plant their crops there. In Cyprus, the largest plain is that of Mesaoria and it is famous for its vast fields sown with grain.
Life in the countryside and agricultural work was tough, especially in the years before the introduction of agricultural machinery.
- Observing this painting, can you think of 3 difficulties that these women probably faced while working?
Now close your eyes and imagine that you have entered the painting and are observing what is going on around you.
- What is the weather like?
- What are the women wearing and why?
- What tool are they holding?
- What are they discussing?
- How do they feel?
- How do you feel when you see this scene and what do you want to ask them?
The harvest period was usually during the last months of spring and summer. Because of time, labour and the number of workers needed for the collection of all grains, families would usually help each other.
It was a period of cooperation and teamwork.
- If you were in this field, how could you help these women?
- What could you offer to make their work easier?
- What would you say to them?
Now consider an activity at home or school that could be done easier if there was cooperation, teamwork and mutual assistance and put it in your own drawing.
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