Sunday, 06 December 2015 19:53

Exploring Identity

One of Katerina's pieces based on a photograph One of Katerina's pieces based on a photograph

Last Friday saw the opening of an exhibition of a very different kind of art at Limassol’s Views Gallery.

Cypriot-Burmese artist Katerina Savvides is currently showing her series of works entitled ‘Who am I?’: paintings which have been made into photographs. In an interview with The Cyprus Weekly, she explains how the new style came to be.

Savvides has lived in several continents and had careers in marketing, writing, music and dance. She spent recent years travelling between London, Cyprus and New York. She found that this lifestyle did not give her enough time to actually paint, so she started taking photos to transport the works-in-progress to various countries and continue working without disruption.

“The creative arts have always been a huge part of my life, but painting is where I discovered my true passion,” explains Savvides, who started her artistic career spending time in India and Malaysia, learning Chinese watercolour brushwork, Batik and Indian ink. She later embarked on the ‘western’ technique of painting in New York.

Feeling especially drawn to abstract art, she was never able to understand people’s awe over photo realism itself. She feels it is a style that is ‘killing art’ and, looking closely at the difference between a photograph and a painting, came to the conclusion that a photo is still, while a painting has a history. A painting may well depict something still, but as it is being worked on, it will always retain remnants of previous marks and lines that will make it ‘move’.


A lot of research and experimenting went into materials for combining the two – a blend of traditional and digital art – which eventually resulted in the works of the current exhibition.

“There is actually an element of collage in those pieces,” explains Savvides, “as I took different cultures and time periods and mixed them.”

She feels that an artist is responsible and accountable for what they show. What viewers see is a final product, what she sees are endless hours of academic research, experimentation, information and execution. Savvides believes that many artists are actually not the ‘Bohemians’ they are made out to be, but intellectuals who put a lot of thought and research into their work.

Savvides takes this aspect very seriously; for this body of work she carried out extensive research, both academically and through observation. “I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination: I am a painter. Photography is just one of the many tools in my toolbox.”

For her own photography, she initially used her phone and different apps which she liked to change frequently and which provided different filters to allow her work to change with them and not stay still. The materials used were pen, pencil, a blade, ink, watercolour.

Through photography, the pieces lost something that would later on be added through a scratch or line or paint stroke.

Some pieces changed up to 50 times, some much less. This allows for a break in intensity of the works, which the artist feels is needed.

Viewers will still chose the level of intensity at which they want to experience Savvides’ work – the beginning of a journey looking to balance skill and emotion and description and experience.

The exhibition is open until December 24 at Views Gallery, 5 Chrysanthou Mylona St near the Ayios Nicolaos roundabout. Tel: 99571449.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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