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20 May, 2024
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The gift of culture

Bridging communities through cultural enrichment

Apostolos Kouroupakis

Apostolos Kouroupakis

In just a few days, the cultural scene in our country is gearing up for a new season, a new cultural year. As has been the tradition for many years, the Cypriot countryside came alive during the summer, thanks to the contributions of the State, various programs, actions, and the enthusiastic participation of numerous communities, including youth associations. Together, they brought to life theatrical performances, musical concerts, dance events, and various festivals. The overwhelming involvement of the public in nearly all cultural activities served as a testament to the dedication of local authorities, associations, and organizers. It underscored the significance of culture not only for urban areas but also for those who choose to venture into the villages. You never know whom a play, a concert, or a screening might touch.

An example of this was a beautiful encounter I had with a family at the AnimaFest in Salamiou, Paphos. The community has been hosting this event successfully for many years. During a break from the screenings, I headed towards the center of the village to retrieve my car from a nearby parking area. As I was driving back up the hill from the village center to the parking lot, a kindly gentleman stopped me, asking if I could give a ride to his grandmother and, as he put it, "perhaps three more people." Assuming that the grandmother and the others were local villagers and considering the challenging uphill climb, I readily agreed.

Once they got into my car, they mentioned that they had heard about the films at the festival and were curious to see what was happening up close. This made me realize that the four individuals I had picked up on the road weren't from Salamiou. I asked them where they were from, and the grandmother proudly replied, "We're from Prastio in Mesaoria." "But how do you know about this place?" I inquired. She responded, "We heard that there are films here, and since we were in the area, we thought we shouldn't miss the opportunity to see what's going on. There seems to be quite a crowd, and it looks interesting." Her family members nodded in agreement.

This brief encounter made me reflect on the benefits of such interactions and the potential for festivals and cultural activities to reach out to the wider public. It's about making culture accessible to everyone, regardless of their background. The audience is out there, transcending age and gender. They are eager to see, hear, applaud, and question. Those who advocate that art, in all its forms, revolves around people, the curious, and the skeptical should keep this in mind. The state's duty is to seek out its audience everywhere, bringing them out of obscurity and offering them a dignified cultural product. Meanwhile, it's the responsibility of artists to create cultural works that embrace the concept of sharing, resonating with all those who lovingly gather to experience the gift of culture.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  culture  |  festivals

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