Greek-Cypriot Locality: (Re) Defining our Understanding of European Modernity
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This chapter begins by making reference to the image of Cypriot identity, constructed by colonial discourse and various travelers, photographers, geographers, and pseudo-anthropologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While artistic practices from mid-twentieth century onwards were apparently in close dialogue with both local artists' studies in Europe and with the mainstream European avant-gardes, the earlier artistic practices on the island also tell of the beginnings of an alternative modernity in an area still defining its identity on the margins of Europe. The chapter identifies three main forces that have influenced the emergence of this contentious alternative modernity: British colonialism; Greek nationalism; and an organized Left and labor movement. Some references to vernacular photography and wider vernacular culture will also be made to further trace Cypriot modernity and its relation to the established orthodox narratives of European modernity.