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20-01-2023 14:27

Address by the Minister of Interior, Mr Nicos Nouris, at the inauguration of the Photographic Exhibition “Elle – Cyprus in the feminine”

(National Library, Vienna, 20 January 2023)

Honorable guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first of all extend my warm gratitude to our Honorable Speakers, Excellencies Ms Ghada Waly and Ms Helga Schmid for their inspiring speeches and their presence at the inauguration of our Photographic Exhibition “ELLE – Cyprus in the feminine”.  

This Photographic Exhibition is indeed a Hymn to Women, femininity and at the same time to their Strength and Power; to their vigilance and their prudence; tο their stamina. Throughout history, the role of women in society and in government has evolved in multiple ways, but has always been influential and vital to the social web.

What we’ve seen, even in our own lifetime, is that change in perceptions, associated with the pursuit of equality is possible.  That’s why we have to intensify this struggle; because there are battles that still need to be fought and we have in no way, reached our destination, towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Honorable guests,

It is a pleasure and an honor for me, to inaugurate this remarkable photographic exhibition of the Press and Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus, here in Vienna. This venue, the Austrian National Library, is of great significance with remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Our photographic exhibition, aims to present to the public, one of the many aspects of the long and rich history of Cyprus.

Cyprus, the eastern-most island in the Mediterranean Sea, situated at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, has been a meeting point for the world’s greatest civilizations. Our island with its 11,000-year history, has a distinctive culture and history.

This exhibition unveils the sculpted depictions of divinities, female statuettes and figurines that are part of the collections of the Cypriot Department of Antiquities. They are mainly displayed at the Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia and at the Archaeological Museum of Lemesos. The sculpted depictions, illustrate different styles of Cypriot art, from the Chalcolithic period, around the fourth millennium BC, to the Roman era around the fourth millennium AD.

The photographic gaze of our photographer, Stefanos Kouratzis, guides and reveals to us the unique way of the hidden divinities of fertility, the votive figurines of the Cypro-Archaic period, but also the legendary Greek and Egyptian goddesses of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Observing the sculptures through a different visual gaze, spectators become once again witnesses of the singularity of the civilization of Cyprus.

Dear friends,

It is well known that in the past, archaeology had invested photography with a single mission to document and record for inventory purposes. Through the distinct aesthetic and sensitivity with which the photographer approaches each statue individually, Cypriot sculpture is unveiled and we are mentally transported to the rich historical and cultural past of our island. In this framework, through a new and multifaceted approach, the Press and Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus utilizes photographic exhibitions as a tool for better promoting Cyprus’ civilization and culture at home and abroad.

Dear guests,

This exhibition has become a reality following an initiative of the Director of the Press and Information Office Ms Aliki Stylianou. Taking this opportunity, allow me to thank all the colleagues and associates at the Press and Information Office for their zeal and hard work, and to express special thanks to the Ambassador Maria Michail and the staff of the Embassy for their commitment in making this exhibition a reality.

As we are gathered here today, the Press and Information Office of Cyprus, becomes a patron to a historic map of Cyprus[1] which is part of the Library’s collection, by offering a symbolic donation to the Austrian National Library. The distinguished representative of the National Library will elaborate on the historical significance of this map.

With the patronage of this historic map, the Republic of Cyprus and the Ministry of Interior, through the Press and Information Office, underline our commitment to the preservation and promotion of our rich historical and cultural heritage which guide us to the future!

Thank you.




[1]  “Acamantis Insula hoggidi Cipro : Posseduta dalla Republica Veneta sin' all'Anno 1571 Dal P. Cosmografo Coronelli : Dedicata All'Illustrissimo, et Eccellentissimo Signore Gio. Battista Cornaro Piscopia, Procuratore di S. Marco, et e. Coronelli, Vincenzo, 1650-1718 [MitwirkendeR]