As published in In Focus, Vol. 9, Vol 3, Sept 12
NIKI MARANGOU: BIO
“I was a strange child. When television was a novelty in Cyprus and everyone was watching Peyton Place, I sat outside by the sea and watched the constellations. Walking to school, I collected stones, and scribbled on every piece of paper. I always liked to experiment with art forms, I did pottery for some time, I did jewelry when I was a student in Berlin, I tried batik, I used to draw on the plates I had thrown on the wheel. Then I was taught icon painting by monk Symeon, one of the best icon painters of Cyprus. I was fascinated by the strict discipline of icon painting and by the natural pigments I mixed with egg yolk. I think I learned a lot from icon painting which was useful later in the work I did, but also in the appreciation of this very fine form of art. I learned to do precise and fine lines, to control the paint, to work with layers of paint.
I also experimented a lot with engraving although I found handling the acid a problem. Printing from a copper plate is hard work as the ink has to be applied and cleaned thoroughly for every single print. For years, painter Andreas Karayan and I often drove outside Nicosia and painted landscapes. We had two shows together. It was interesting to see how we both painted the same landscape in a completely different manner.
I exhibited for the first time in 1975 and I was very happy that Adamantios Diamantis, one of the best Cypriot painters opened the exhibition. The next exhibition in 1982 was opened by G.P. Savvides (Cavafy’s Editor). After that I had 5 other solo exhibitions.
For a long time, painting went hand in hand with writing, but finally writing took over and I ended up being a writer of novels, short stories, poems, children’s books (www.marangou.com). But I always carried a sketch book with me. In the summer, when I go the sea, I always make a watercolor after the swim. I never tire of painting the sea.
With writing becoming more demanding I have not had a solo exhibition for 16 years. I had made a lot of sketches, etchings, watercolours during this time and decided to show them in a new Gallery in the old part of Nicosia. This is how this last exhibition came together at “Aeschylou 83” in May 2012.
I have also participated in the Biennale of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana in 1993, in the Cairo Biennale in 1996 and in the “50 years of Cyprus engraved by Cypriots” exhibition held in London, Patra, Athens and Nicosia in 2010.” – Niki Marangou