The Group Action “People Who Dream of Peace and Connection” took place in the streets of Nicosia Old Town, Cyprus. It build connections across division and ignited greater hopes for peace on the island.
The Action “People Who Dream of Peace and Connection” took place in June 2022 and it is a story of bringing people together and what we want for our future. The island of Cyprus has been divided since the conflict in 1974 and sees emerging divisions with new communities growing on the island. Members of all communities living in Cyprus were encouraged to take part and photos were taken on both sides of the divide. It was a symbolic act of shuffling communities together, of crossing, and coexisting.
The final Action was actually the combination of two Group Leaders coming together after realizing that separate Actions had been scheduled simultaneously. This was a very positive happening that made even more new community connections. Together a team of artists and three experienced and amateur photographers traveled around Cyprus to collect portraits of those who embrace the idea of peace and connection. In total, 99 portraits were printed and sent to Nicosia for pasting.
It was a challenging process to identify a space for the installation. A space that would engage everyday people while maintaining true to the concept of the Action. In the end, two locations were selected, one in the north of the divide and one in the south. On pasting day the whole group started in the south just after the buildings provided enough shade. As the walls filled, the group walked together, equipment in hand, through the police checkpoints, to the wall in the north. Pasting continued into the night and filming lights helped illuminate the final portraits to be installed. It was a joyous occasion, with exhaustion overcome by proud celebration.
To document this Action there was a combination of support from the Group Leaders and the photographers. Interviews were conducted with some of those whose portrait was included while one of the Group Leaders filmed interviews with community members who came to take part in the pasting.
Overall this has had an incredible impact on our community and all those who took part. For the Group Leaders, it was an opportunity to come together and make something happen that everyone was happy about. For the community, it was an insight into other communities that they may not come into contact with regularly.
Together we will be taking more actions to build connections!
Photo credit: Cagin Ozsoy