May 26, 2019

Cyprus : inauguration exhibition “Where have you been”

Nicos Argyrides, Second Secretary Embassy of Cyprus, Cypriot artist Toula Liasi, Ambassador of Cyprus H.E. Mr. Elpidoforos Economou and Mr. Yiannis Toumazis, Director of the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre.



By Roy Lie Atjam.

The Hague the exhibition Where have you been? was inaugurated on June 2, 2018, by the Ambassador of Cyprus H.E. Mr. Elpidoforos Economou.

The exhibition consists of works by the Cypriot artist Toula Liasi and is dedicated to all Missing Persons in Cyprus. Interesting to note, Toula Liasiget’s her inspiration from music. Therefor the Dutch trombonist Jorgen van Rijen performed I was like a wow by Jacob ter Veldhuisat the inauguration.

Ambassador of Cyprus H.E. Mr. Elpidoforos Economou.

Toula Liasi has lost her only brother during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. His corpse was traced in a mass grave in 2014. Approximately 1,000 persons are still missing in Cyprus.

In his welcome remarks Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou stated the following :

“I would like to extent my warmest congratulations to Toula Liasifor her art project “Where Have You Been?” dedicated to all the missing persons of Cyprus. I am confident that Toula has once again devised ways to bring to our attention, through the power of her art, all the dimensions of the most dramatic aspect of the recent history of Cyprus: the tragedy of the missing Cypriots.

More than 2,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been reported as missing. Approximately two thousand cases have been presented to the Committee of Missing Persons of Cyprus which operates under the auspices of the United Nations. In many cases fragments of the remains of approximately 900 missing persons have been found, identified through DNA analysis and returned to their families. The fate of the other missing persons still remains unknown.

Despite the continuous efforts of the Cypriot government for more than four decades and the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, Turkey is still not cooperating, to the extent necessary, in order to put an end to the tragedy of the relatives of the missing. After forty-four years, many of them passed away without knowing the fate of their beloved ones.

Toula’s personal history is one of the most characteristic of the Cyprus problem. Her father, Savvas Liasi, is an emblematic personality still living in the occupied northern part, together with a few hundred other Greek Cypriots, who insist on remaining in their homes despite all the problems and hardships that they encounter in their everyday life because of the Turkish occupation.

Toula ‘s mother, Maroulla, died in peace soon after she buried the remains of her son Yiannakis, who had been missing for forty years. He was found in a mass grave and identified through DNA analysis.

Loaded with such a heavy burden, Toula feels the need to react. As an artist and art teacher, she uses her art to attract attention to long forgotten situations in her homeland. Although she has been living and working in The Netherlands for almost forty years, she still gets her inspiration from her village in the occupied northern part of Cyprus. Approaching different issues through artistic perspectives, the artist gives new emphasis to them. Three of her major art projects have already been dedicated to our enclaved compatriots, who have been a constant inspiration for her throughout the years.

With her latest art project “Where Have You Been?”, which is dedicated to the missing persons of Cyprus, and is presented today in The Hague, Toula manages to keep alive and remind us of an open wound of modern Cypriot history, but also she significantly contributes in raising awareness on this vital humanitarian issue.

I wish Toula every success for this unique art project, as well as, for all her future artistic but also very realistic endeavours.

With these words I would like to invite Toula to the floor so as to introduce us to her artistic journey through a video. A video that starts where her story ends, when the remains of her beloved brother finally “are coming home” after 40 years.” End quote.




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