On 21 May 2022, Francis and Tresor, two artists from Congo, shared their artwork and their reflections on the journey that has brought them to Cyprus.
The CVAR with the valuable help of Caritas Cyprus provided a platform for these artists to express themselves on multiple levels and to share their thoughts, experiences and inspiration. Their talks were heartfelt—sharing expectations, vision, disappointment, failure, sadness and hope. The sensitive issues of racism and stereotypes were raised, reminding us all that tolerance and mutual understanding are elusive.
Inspired by 2022’s International Museum Day and underscoring the Power of Museums, at CVAR we believe that culture and museums can and do bring about change. By opening their doors to all, they encourage collaboration and exchange and they build community. As Francis said, life should be like a piano where “black and white keys harmonically play together to create beautiful melodies”.
OPEN INVITATION: Using their collaboration on the “Cyprus through the Eyes of Migrants” event as a starting point, Caritas Cyprus and CVAR invite artists with migrant backgrounds currently living in Cyprus to share their stories and their art. Through this online exhibition, we hope to amplify migrant voices towards understanding and acceptance.
Tresor Nkongo Yaba
Tresor Nkongo is eighth in a family of ten children; he was born in Kinshasa and has been painting since he was very young. Inspired by artists like Leonardo da Vinci and supported by his father, Tresor studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Kinshasa where he was drawn to contemporary art styles. Painting mostly with acrylics or acrylics mixed with oils, Tresor explores nature in his art, which has become more important to him since having to leave his home country. In Cyprus, he is driven to continue to express himself through painting and sees his art as a way to engage with people as both a creator and an asylum seeker and despite his displacement far from home.
Inspired by people's reaction to his art, Francis Mupini has been drawing since he was in kindergarten and with the encouragement of one of his older sisters in particular. He is a painter, graphic designer, photographer and videographer who studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Kinshasa and became a member of the Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts in 2018. His favorite techniques are using knives to paint instead of brushes and mixing photos with other materials, including recyclable and recycled items, to make collages and create graphic shapes. Francis wants to use his art to interact with Cyprus and Cypriots, sharing the perspective of asylum seekers who have come in search of safety and a future.
"Two contemporary migrants--like the countless travelers who came to Cyprus before them--view the island through their own prism of distance and, often, displacement. They change and are changed by the island. CVAR's unique collection serves as the backdrop for 'Cyprus through The Eyes of Migrants' within the context of International Museum Day 2022. A creative setting, CVAR provides a natural and fitting link between Cyprus' multicultural past and its increasingly diverse present and future. By highlighting the work of artists with a migrant background currently in Cyprus, 'Cyprus through The Eyes of Migrants' will explore bold and new perspectives, adding them to the mix within historic Nicosia." Elizabeth Kassinis, Caritas Cyprus