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07-11-2023 20:48

Address by the Minister of Interior, Mr Constantinos Ioannou, at the inauguration of the photographic exhibition “SHE – Cyprus in the feminine” in Madrid

Cultural Centre “Circulo de Bellas Artes”, Madrid

At the outset, allow me to welcome you all, and in particular my dear friend Minister Marlaska (dear Fernando), and thank you for your presence here today for the inauguration of our photographic exhibition “SHE – Cyprus in the feminine”.

It is indeed an honor and a pleasure for me to be with you today, to present this photographic exhibition inspired and produced by the Press and Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus, hosted at this wonderful venue here in Madrid. The exhibition is presented at a time when Spain is presiding over the Council of the European Union, thus placing Cyprus’ culture in the centre of Europe. At the same time, as Ambassador Mina has mentioned, it also falls within the framework of celebrating a landmark anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Dear friends,

“SHE – Cyprus in the feminine” is indeed a hymn to women and femininity; to their strength, power and resilience. Throughout history, the role of women in society has evolved in multiple ways, but has always been vital to the social fabric. They have successfully held positions of influence in religious practices, actively participated in economic activities, and had respected roles within their families.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that among the artistic treasures left behind as a rich legacy of ancient civilisations of Cyprus, the statues of women, crafted with meticulous attention to detail, hold a special place and as such, serve as a bridge between our past and our present.

In this exhibition, Cypriot sculpture is unveiled and we are mentally guided to the rich historical and cultural past of our island, through the distinct aesthetic and sensitivity with which the photographer approaches each statue individually. The initiative of the Press and Information Office of Cyprus fulfils an important goal for communicating our country’s cultural heritage to the outside world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would be remiss if I did not mention, while inaugurating this exhibition, that women’s rights and gender equality are high among the priorities of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Recognising the need to mainstream gender across public policies, we are currently drafting a new national strategy, across all public policies, including the field of culture and arts.

Public policies are interlinked and mainstreaming gender should be seen as a holistic approach. Undoubtedly, exhibitions and initiatives like this contribute symbolically and substantially in promoting gender equality, making ‘herstory’ visible through time.

Dear friends,

In concluding, I wish to thank you all once again for honouring us with your presence and to thank the Director of the Press and Information Office, Ms Aliki Stylianou, for her inspiration to bring this exhibition to life, as well as her talented team. Finally, I wish to express special thanks to Ambassador Helena Mina and the staff of the Embassy for their commitment in making this exhibition a reality.

Thank you very much. Muchas gracias.