Since this website has not been updated in a long time, I thought I’d post an update about what I have been working on in the past year.
After taking a year out to train as a teacher and studying different educational theorists, I became more interested in education and curriculum. How do schools and what students are taught as the truth affect understanding of history and thus forming of historical and social identity?
In previous works (Private Records) I have used archival photographs taken in Cyprus, during a time when the island was a British colony (1914-1960). Those merged with family photographs, as well as found and personal digital photographs, created new imagined, negative and positive spaces blending into one.
My current research and exploration is still looking at that time period and a post-colonial era. Looking into the educational policy written by the British for colonies, and specifically the one used for Cyprus- called educational ‘Lending policy’ (Persianis, 1995), I got a sense that this has been the backbone of what forms the current educational policy in Cyprus, similar to the educational system I experienced when attending secondary school (Gymnasium and Lyceum) between 2007 and 2013. Similarly, there is a sense that these remnants of colonialism are not just entrenched and embedded in the educational system, but in multiple systems and policies.
Borrowing from Freire’s Pedagogy of the oppressed, I’m interested in exploring the oppressor-oppressed and teacher-student dualities, interestingly paralleled in Freire’s writings. How do narratives and systems that are very deeply engrained into a country’ systems, policies, and culture act as an invisible continuation of previous oppression?
Similarly to schooling and education, how do other distributors of information and perceived gatekeepers of knowledge, such as the media and influencers, form our understanding of history, particularly through images? How do these multiple streams of information inform our complex sense of identity?
In terms of making, my current sources include archival images of schools in Cyprus at different stages of the British rule. Different types of buildings and architecture are seen, based on the level and specialism of each school. Students from both major communities (GreekCypriots and TurkishCypriots) standing outside their schools. A GC woman preparing TS schools children for school.
Layered with those are found photographs, some editorial, some found in car-boot sales. My process continues to involve collaged elements, abstracted backdrops and silhouettes, layered off-cuts. I’m also experimenting with elements of drawing and painting, combined with photographic elements while continuing to play with a language of layering, peeling back, and re-working old elements. I’m also starting to work in a more 3d way, bringing those elements in and around each other, intersecting them, as if they are floating and merging.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York, Bloomsbury Academic, 1970.
Persianis, Panayiotis. “The British Colonial Education “Lending” Policy in Cyprus (1878-1960): An Intriguing Example of an Elusive “Adapted Education” Policy.” Comparative Education, vol. 32, no. 1, Mar. 1996, pp. 45–68, https://doi.org/10.1080/03050069628920. Accessed 18 May 2019.