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Home » News and Events » Text by Dr. Natia Anaxagorouon the occasion of the Textile Exhibition Susan Vargas at the Blue Iris Gallery in Paphos on Saturday November 16, 2019

Text by Dr. Natia Anaxagorouon the occasion of the Textile Exhibition Susan Vargas at the Blue Iris Gallery in Paphos on Saturday November 16, 2019

Susan Vargas develops a very personal but also universal idiom that bridges European currents with the art of Cyprus and Latin America, where she comes from, as well as the values ​​of the land of folk culture. Her compositions, whether these are paintings, or drawings with ink and charcoal on paper, or appliques using fabrics, contain the charm of the random as well as the improvisation of the fairy tale that often abolishes the rules of logic. It is enough to recall her drawings, in the exhibition “Maniera Cypria: Limassol, Myth and Memory”, which I curated in 2012 at the Evagoras Lanitis Center in Limassol, with the headless figures of priests carrying animal masks in their hands, the bull-like pilgrims, who float standing in the water, the apparitions of flying bulls depositing libations of thanksgiving and propitiation to the divine forces, in timeless ritual acts that propitiate the universe and the world.
Inspired by mythology and religious narratives, Susan Vargas channels in her creations and installations, where wax is a beloved material, the rite of prayer, pilgrimage, supplication and supplication as well as the anticipation of the miracle she finds its correspondence to the magic of the unexpected in folk tales.
Her appliques takes us back in time. I recall two appliques, with which Susan Vargas participated in the “Mare Nostrum” exhibition at Famagusta Gate in 2012, which I curated. Through these appliques, she unfolds fascinating journeys into the past, leading us through the first two thousand years before Christ, with the bull as a reference point, a recurring motif in her work, which she transforms into the mythical Minotaur, as he crosses the Aegean with his boat, spreading Minoan art and culture in Cyprus, Asia Minor and the western Mediterranean. The second work is a tribute to the spread of Christianity in Cyprus, with the arrival of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in Paphos on 1The century after Christ.
Susan Vargas, although originally from Colombia, is actually a naturalized Cypriot. She has culturally immersed herself in Cyprus, and has penetrated the myths and history of the place. Her applique, under the title “Boutta o helios j’ i rka efanein” The sun sets and the woman appeared, with which she participated in 2017 in the exhibition “Vassilis Michaelidis: Visual Extensions” that I curated at the Municipal Gallery of Limassol, is inspired by the verse of the poem by Vasilis Michaelidis in his dialect tongue “Chiotissa”. It narrates with the simplistic formulation of the fairy tale, through technique of applique, the scene in which the old Hadji-Maria arrives “at Ayannapa’s mercan”, at the house where the young Chiotissa is held captive, in Limassol, supplying her with sailor uniform so that she can escape in disguise, setting sail on the ship that leaves for her homeland, Chios. A dominant element is the prevalence of the naive realism of folk tales, where the clothing of the persons is unquestionably indicative of their identity and gender, thus the Chiotissa dressed in “sailors’ clothes, a forisian”, according to the poet’s formulation, is perceived as a man of the navy. This applique is now permanently housed in the Municipal Gallery of Limassol where it is included in the “Vassilis Michaelidis” art collection acquired by the Municipality of Limassol, thanks to the sponsorship of Dr. Andreas Pitta.
Although her textiles, like her paintings, have a narrative freedom, they are nevertheless governed by an internal organization, which structures the space in a constant game between positive and negative, organic and inorganic shapes, in large planes of bright colors that alternate with muted surfaces or emerge from dark backgrounds. In their schematic multiplicity, the forms reproduce the natural and built environment, urban and rural everyday life, the forests of the Amazon or the villages of Paphos and ultimately a metaphysical representation of human and animal figures that either spring from today or through archetypal mythological and religious depictions.