Nicosia’s Queer Art Subculture: Outside and Inside Formal Institutions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the last decade Nicosia has established a dynamic art culture supporting a range of arts-related events such as museum nights, Open Mic Nights, festivals, parties, literary readings, film screenings, practical and theoretical workshops, gallery exhibitions, live music and dance performances, as well as theatrical productions. This artistic vitality concurs with the regeneration of a city centre, which was largely neglected following the 1974 division of Cyprus. Within Nicosia’s rich art scene has also emerged a queer art subculture with aesthetics and practices that challenge heteronormativity, transgress strict social boundaries and acknowledge queer lives, outlooks and struggles. Our chapter charts this art subculture by focusing on the ways in which six artistic and curatorial cases—Robert Mapplethorpe’s X Portfolio (2009), Re Aphrodite’s At Maroudia’s (2012), Despina Michaelidou’s participation in Urban Drag and Small Homelands (2014), Paola Revenioti’s Correction (2014 and 2015) and Haritini Kyriakou’s Rooms [Δωμάτια] (2016)—have made use of space in Nicosia, including formal and informal institutions, moving either into the backstreet and the clandestine or out of these and into the established. Exploring how this queer art subculture orientates itself sexually but also spatially enables an archiving of this particular scene within contemporary art discussions in Cyprus and abroad, extends the dialogue on the relation of subcultures to mainstream art production, and provides an evaluation of the sociocultural changes in conflict-affected Nicosia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Art in Cyprus: Politics, Identity and Culture Across Borders.
EditorsEvanthia Tselika, Elena Stylianou, Gabriel Koureas
PublisherI.B. Tauris
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018


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